Trend Alert: Burner phones

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

Sneaky teens are turning to secret burner phones to get around parents’ rules and ensure they don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with their peers. An exposé in the Wall Street Journal this week has created a new panic among parents, as it spread through social media and even made the news on Good Morning America.

According to the report, teenagers whose parents have banned them from using their phone at night or imposed limits on how they use their device are purchasing cheap phones, often sold by fellow pupils at school. These phones usually don’t have a sim card, but still enable to user to go online via wifi, and access apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, which allow them to partake in chats and keep up with friends’ online activity. The name “burner phone” was popularised by TV shows where they are often used for secret or criminal activity.

This is the latest example of digital natives outsmarting older generations by using their tech knowledge to get what they want, similar to the trend of school students using Google Docs to surreptitiously send messages to friends during classes. While these tricks are frustrating and concerning to parents, it’s hard not to be impressed at these teens’ creativity and resourcefulness, which will give them an edge over older generations as they enter the workforce.

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