An informal poll of 7th and 8th graders confirmed what I’d suspected: many of them don’t know important emergency information, such as home numbers or parents’ cell phone numbers. Even more don’t know their complete addresses. Some wrote the house number and street but neglected to list the city, while a few didn’t know any part of the address.
The phone number issue is an easy one to explain: to reach home or their parents, most of them just bring up the number on their cell phones. My question is always, “What happens when your battery’s dead and your friends don’t have your mom’s number in their phones?” Being resourceful techno kids, they assure me they’d borrow a smart phone and look up whatever they needed.
So is it still important for 21st century teens to memorize phone numbers and addresses? I vote yes. Phones get lost or damaged, cell service isn’t always reliable, and internet strength varies from location to location. In a crisis or an emergency, the only way to reach home or parents may be to give pertinent information to a helpful adult – information that can’t be given if it isn’t memorized.
It’s a skill expected of most 7-year-olds; shouldn’t it also be expected of kids twice that age?