Short Answer: I can totally relate to you feeling left out. At this phase in life, it is normal for a teenager to want to belong to the “in” crowd. To not be the odd one out, i.e. the socially awkward “loser”. The “uncool” one without the cool gadget. Unfortunately, during teenage, peer pressure is a very strong social influence. It can make or break a teen’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth. I would like to advise you to open a channel of communication with your parents, on this topic. Talk to them politely, in a soft, lowered voice, with great respect. There should be communication about what they expect from you. What they are comfortable with.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
Lonely Teen: How to Convince My Parents to Trust Me with a Smartphone?
You have done well to reach out and ask us this question. This matter is indeed very relevant to the situation of today’s youth. Smartphone use has seeped into all areas of life, around the globe. The tussle between smartphone addiction versus a “fear of missing out” (#FOMO) is real. Not just for young people, but also for adults, including the elderly.
Parents, as I am sure you have always heard, always want the best for you. You seem to be blessed with wise and caring parents. It is obvious that you also care about your parents. This became obvious when you condemned your peers’ treatment of their parents.
What I find interesting is that you just want a smartphone in order to “not feel left out”. So let’s first address the issue of your desire to “fit into” the kind of peers that you have.
Are your “friends” a positive influence?
My young sister/brother, it is obvious that you do not respect your own, so-called “friends”. Your opinion about them is not a good one. And it is clear why. They seem to be very self-absorbed individuals, bordering on the narcissistic. They have an entitled attitude, which is why they don’t show respect to their parents. Even though their parents bought them their beloved smartphones!
So, why do you call them your “friends“? According to your own admission, they do not even like to talk to you in person. They prefer being glued to their screens. A friend does not show such an apathetic attitude most of the time.
Should you then, really be referring to them as your “friends”? Just call them your peers or classmates, instead. It is good that you abhor their selfish behavioral traits. You should be wary of becoming like them.
Don’t you see what’s happening, here? Because you do not have a smartphone yet, you are “the outsider looking in”. You can see their reality clearly because you are not afflicted (yet) with smartphone addiction.
And this is the result of the positive upbringing that your parents gave you. Be grateful that you have wise, caring, and protective parents. They care more about their child’s long-term well-being than their personal social prestige. Be thankful that your parents are not pushing you into the rampant rat race.
Once you show gratitude to your parents, Allah will compensate you with what is better than what you want. Including righteous, Allah-fearing, true friends!
The harms of social media are real
I can totally relate to you feeling left out. At this phase in life, it is normal for a teenager to want to belong to the “in” crowd. To not be the odd one out, i.e. the socially awkward “loser”. The “uncool” one without the cool gadget. Unfortunately, during teenage, peer pressure is a very strong social influence. It can make or break a teen’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
It might be good for you to use your spare time for positive pursuits, instead. Study scholarly resources about the dark side of social media and smartphone addiction. Social media usage among youngsters carries some serious risks:
“The risks might be related to how much social media teens use. A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S. found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems.” (“Teens and social media use: What’s the impact?” – MayoClinic)
Arm yourself with knowledge now, in order to prepare for the positive use of your future smartphone.
Be patient upon doing what is right
Know that, at your age, obedience to righteous Muslim parents in what is right, carries immense rewards. If you will obey them right now, Allah will bless you with better things than what you desired, down the road.
Try to be patient, and take up a healthy hobby that will keep you busy. Your peers are losing out on the precious years of their youth by wasting time on screens. You should take up a healthy physical activity, such as a sport, which will keep you fit.
Physical exercise also improves mental health. Such a hobby will also keep you away from this self-centered group of peers.
Attempt to negotiate a compromise based on trust
In the end, I would like to advise you to open a channel of communication with your parents, on this topic. Talk to them politely, in a soft, lowered voice, with great respect. Ask them to make some things clear, such as:
- at approximately what age would they be willing to buy you a phone?
- what kind of phone would they be comfortable for you to start with?
- will they allow Internet access on this phone or not, and why?
- for how many hours will you be allowed to use your phone? And in what places?
- will they supervise what apps you download and use?
- will they demand the passwords for your social media accounts?
Getting this discussion started now, if your parents agree, will get the ball rolling. There should be communication about what they expect from you. What they are comfortable with.
This will enable you to discover how much longer you have to wait before you can get your own smartphone, insha’Allah.
And Allah knows best.
I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
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