Are Cracked Cellphone Screens Really the Latest Craze?

STORY BY Jessica Elizabeth Pawlarczyk

Published: June 13, 2013

According to The Washington Post’s Emily Wax, broken Smartphone screens are now among the coolest “trends among young people.”  

Say what?

Wax’s article (which was summarized in The Columbus Dispatch here) is full of 20-something interviewees who affirm the fact that “cellphones with cracks add cred,” but as a young person myself, I can only wonder where the heck she found these sources… because I’m pretty sure they aren’t even close to representing how our generation truly views broken phones.

Maybe I’m completely off base, but spider-web screens are not super cool, but rather, quite annoying: they make it hard to read text messages, and even worse, the razorlike shreds can scratch your thumbs.

Regardless, a cracked iPhone is considered “a form of self-expression” by two of the article’s sources. One of the sources went as far to say that a cracked screen is “like this really cool scar.”

No comment.  

In a ripped jeans kind of way, Wax says that unfixed screens are a way to rebel against the older generation, namely our parents. Apparently the broken-glass look “infuriates” parents, which I find highly unlikely. Even if a shattered screen may look “cheap” or “unsightly” to some parents, chances are most parents would happily opt for a broken phone over the costly alternative— the purchase of a replacement screen, which can cost about $200. So if our generation actually wants to succeed in pissing off our parents, we better start brainstorming new ideas soon, because clearly this cracked screen tactic isn’t going to work.

If anything, the college-aged interviewees were right about one thing: cracked Smartphone apps are becoming popular on the Internet. Several websites now sell cracked screen wallpaper and pre-cracked screen savers. My bet is that these sort of apps are purchased solely for the purpose of pranking friends and family.

Not according to Wax’s sources, though; other young people want to have spider-web screens too, but they just don’t want to damage their phones. Wax notes that buying a faux cracked screen isn’t nearly “as cool as a real cracked phone.”

Who knew that posers exist in the cracked screen world too!

Let me end by saying this: I am not against broken phone screens, especially since I’ve broken plenty of my own over the years. I completely understand that not all of us have the luxury of replacing a cracked phone either… So when I say that spider-web screens are not in fact “in,” I am simply saying that we college-aged kids don’t go around breaking our Smartphones on purpose just to fit in or make some statement of independence.

The truth is that we’re careless sometimes: we drop our phones while texting or leave phones on the floor for someone to step on.

As for the nonsensical broken screen app, let’s just say that only the weird or humorous would be interested in purchasing it. In regards to the weird customers, I just can’t understand why they want strangers to think that they have a useless, cracked phone. Do they want people to think that they can’t afford to fix the screen? Because for the average young adult, this is the case— we don’t have money in the bank to repair our Smartphone snafus.

And that is why broken cellphone screens are the latest trend Ms. Wax.

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