We have children; therefore we have iPods. We bought our daughter her first iPod for her 13th birthday; with it, thank goodness, we purchased Best Buy’s Performance Service Plan. I’m not normally one to pay for extended warranties, but the salesguy warned us that iPod hard drives don’t last long and pointed out that teenagers have a tendency to drop things — and the plan covered normal wear and tear. My daughter’s iPod lasted about 6 months and then died with no warning. I returned it, and after a brief check Best Buy handed over a brand-new one. Another six months went by, and, just like the first one had, the second iPod went belly-up. By this time, Apple was no longer making the original model, so my daughter received a brand-new video iPod — an upgrade that cost us nothing extra.
OK, enough of the Best Buy service plan commercial. iPod #3 lasted about a year. Then, it was stolen out of my daughter’s purse at school. She goes to lunch in the middle of a class period. The teacher always locks the room when she goes out, so the kids are used to leaving things there. My daughter routinely left her backpack and purse at her seat. One day the teacher went out of the room for no more than 5 minutes without locking the door, and in that time, someone entered and stole my daughter’s iPod and wallet (which was, fortunately, nearly empty). A police officer came and talked with everyone in the class; but beyond that, and warning all the kids of the dangers of leaving valuables anywhere but their lockers, there was nothing to be done.
My son is 11, and he saved up to buy himself an iPod Nano last spring. Aside from being extremely hard on the ear buds, which he tends to pull, stretch, and break, he’s taken good care of the Nano itself. But some time in the last couple of days, someone stole it out of a zipped pocket on his backpack. We’re not sure when or how, although it seems as though it must have somehow happened on the bus.
I find all this intensely creepy and unsettling. Apparently numerous kids in our local middle schools and high schools are ready and willing to take whatever they want. Did they have second thoughts? Was the social or psychological need for the latest Apple toy so overwhelming that they couldn’t bear to find a legal way to get one? Were the iPods stolen by students who know my children, who talk to them every day in class or on the bus, but who have so little regard for them that they’d nick one of their most valuable possessions?
Sure, we’ve all learned the lesson about keeping valuables on your person, or in your locker, or at home. (My daughter’s boyfriend gave my son a demonstration of how you shove the iPod way down in your pocket so it’s hidden from teachers and not accessible by anyone with light fingers.) But this particular lesson has been very troublesome for me. I don’t want my children to encounter the cold-hearted nature that chills a certain percentage of humanity into a state of self-serving sociopathy. But that cold reality has hit our family: crime being committed by children who may or may not care about what they’ve done or who they’ve injured. What in the world sort of adults will those kids grow up to be?