Sleepovers Aren’t the Same with Smartphones

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Girls texting

About an hour into my daughter’s first sleepover as a teenager, I realized this sleepover would be different from any she had when she was in elementary school and certainly different from any of my own teenage sleepovers.

The reason? Smartphones.

Within the first hour, I was asked for our Wi-Fi password at least six times followed by, “Where can I plug in my phone?” Fortunately, I found a bunch of extension cords in the hallway closet.

For a large part of the sleepover, the girls sat in the living room with extension cords snaked around their feet and the glow of their phones reflecting off their faces.

When I was a teenager, we would sit around and talk, eat junk food, giggle about boys and maybe even try a call a boy on the phone but hang up the minute someone answered (usually his mother). We would watch a move and listen to music, dance around and just be goofy.

Essentially these girls did the same things but all these activities have been transformed by their smartphones and other technology.

When they want to hear music, they just stream it from their phones. Instead of watching movies, they watch YouTube videos. Instead of calling boys and abruptly hanging up, they text them.

“Secretly” taking a friend’s phone and texting a boy seems to be the modern day equivalent of “I’m going to tell John that you like him.” I think this happened at least once during my daughter’s sleepover because I heard a shrilled, “You did what?” from one of her friends. Followed by lots of giggles and shrieks. Then 10 minutes later the same girl lets out another scream and says, “He texted me back and wants to know if someone else is texting from my phone.” More giggles.

They also like to take selfies of themselves (nothing inappropriate, thank goodness) with their friend’s phones. I know this because my daughter’s photo stream is linked to my laptop so now I have about 70 selfies of the daughter’s friends on my photo feed – selfies of the girls laughing, sticking out their tongues and making silly faces.

When it’s time to dance, it’s not enough to just turn on music and dance. Just Dance on the Wii turns it a dance competition. When I was teenager, someone’s parent or older sibling would judge the dance contest.

Instead of playing MASH with a paper and pen to find out their future (who they would marry, how many kids they would have, what their first job would be), these girls spent hours answering quizzes on the Internet to uncover their best quality, discover which Adventure Time princess or Minion character they are most like.

These kids also don’t stay up all night like we did. By midnight, they seemed tired and when I suggested lights off by 1 am, no one argued with me. I actually think they went to sleep well before 1 am.

The next morning, after breakfast they decided to play Monopoly. Yes, the board game! About a half-hour into the game, I heard my daughter telling her friend, “Get off your phone! It’s your turn to roll.” I am just thankful they haven’t found a way to play Monopoly on their smartphones.