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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The kids' phone habits are going to have to change when we leave the US.

In South Africa, you pay for each local call, and you pay per minute. So conversations tend, for the most part, to be primarily for exchanging information. People chat, of course, but not like ... well, not like kids here do.

This afternoon, for instance, the girls had the phone on its speaker setting. It was neatly positioned between their two computers, and they had it on its three-way setting, so that they could talk to two of their friends. While they talked, they were simultaneously chatting online (with the phone call friends plus another couple of kids), and were also all playing their current favourite mindless online arcade-style game.

And then there's Em's habit of doing her homework while on the phone with her best friend. I can see the attraction - it's not a phone conversation as I know it, it's more like having your friend in the same room with you, just disembodied, so long silences, for instance, are fine - but it's a totally foreign style of interaction to me.

And it's a style of interaction that's going to have to become foreign to the kids as well, because UK phone charges work like South African ones do. I guess text messaging each other will be the big thing there, as it is in SA.

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