Wristwatches and the younger generation.

20 08 2010

The Book Bench reminds me that I wanted to write about one small part of the Beloit College Student Mindset List, something which I’m told is designed “as a reminder to professors to keep their patter up to date.”

I get it: I’m old. I’m not a bad sport usually, but one of the things they mention just makes me cranky:

“[W]ith cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch.”

Problem one with that assessment is that if you have your cell phone sitting out to check the time, you’re being incredibly rude (especially in class). If there’s no clock in the classroom (like in my building), you won’t be able to do a timed exercise with your phone out. If there is a clock in the classroom, having it on your wrist will save you time.

Problem two with that assessment is that the two things don’t fulfill the same function at all. A wristwatch, sitting there on your wrist, is absolutely crucial for learning exactly how long an interval of time happens to be. People need to have an innate sense of how long five minutes or a half hour or an hour is. they won’t get it using their phone.

Sure, there are bad times to check your watch. But there’s almost never a good time to check your cell phone because it takes so long and it implies that you’d rather do fifteen other things that that cellphones can do.

I feel incredibly strongly about this because I can’t get my sixteen-year old daughter to wear a wrist watch to save my life. She’s never come out and said it, but apparently these days watches (even the cool looking ones) are for dorks. I just can’t for the life of me understand why.



One response

20 08 2010

I’m 20 and a recent college grad, and I was often one of the only people wearing a wristwatch around campus. I started wearing one when I was 13 or 14 and working at summer camp — this was before I had a cell phone, but I still needed to know what time it was. Its importance was reinforced when I was living in Germany at 15 and 16 as an exchange student and didn’t have a phone to tell me the time.

The main advantage of a watch for me is that it allowed me to check the time during class without looking like I was ignoring the professor or also reading a text or whatever. Plus, mine has the date and day of the week on it, which is often more useful than the time. I think it’s silly that people eschew watches in favor of cell phones… and slowly but surely, I’m seeing more young people start to wear watches on a regular basis. Yay!

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