DEAR MS.SMARTPHONE: I AM 15 YEARS OLD. I AM A GOOD STUDENT AND ONLY USE MY PHONE WHEN I FINISH MY HOMEWORK. MY BOYFRIEND AND I HAD A STREAK THAT LASTED FOR 69 DAYS. BUT THEN HE STOPPED AND DID NOT TELL ME. I AM SICK OVER THIS AND WHEN I SEE HIM AT SCHOOL HE JUST LOOKS AWAY. Jesse, San Jose.
Dear Jesse: It’s great that you know when and how to use your phone responsibly. Lots of kids your age enjoy streaks, but they are so new that there are not rules for users. Companies like Snapchat use social methods to keep your post going. Most likely, this boy broke up with you in a cowardly way. You will never know for sure though unless you ask him what’s going on. That said, he sounds like the kind of person you do not want to call a friend. Consider moving on.
DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: IS IT BAD TO HAVE A DIRTY SCREEN ON YOUR PHONE? Xavier, San Francisco
Dear Xavier: This is really a matter of preference but I weigh in on keeping it tidy. It’s like taking your car to the car wash- it looks and feels better. I keep a small polishing cloth by the phone charger so it’s handy. But, since you asked, what about people that have a screen that is cracked or broken? Now, that’s an eye-sore! According to a quote in a story from a fellow blogger a third of smartphone users crack their phone screen in the first 24 months.
DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL THE NEED TO GET A NEW PHONE WITH EACH UPGRADE? MY FRIENDS TALK ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME. I HAVE HAD THE SAME PHONE FOR FIVE YEARS AND IT WORKS JUST FINE. Harold, San Francisco
Dear Harold: We all get familiar with our smartphones and they can come to feel like an old friend. Sometimes people get a new phone for the same reasons they seek a new outfit or a bigger car. They reward themselves or they want to impress others. But people also get new phones when their contract expires or they perceive that there is a better feature, like a new keyboard or sharper camera. Americans replace their phones more frequently than people in any other country and the average time is two years.