When I was sixteen, I would curl up in the dark, on the floor, to talk to Rebecca Tamel on the phone for what felt like forever. At any moment, my mom, Eileen Beard, might pick up the other phone in the house and ask me to cut it short, for bedtime or because she needed to use the landline (which was the only line).
To use the phone was to withdraw from space, from the world. People who could hold the phone between their shoulder and their ear while they cooked or worked were the exception. the phone was meant to be held to the ear.
After a week or so in isolation with teenagers, it seems, they don't know how to use a phone that isn't on speaker, as loud as a TV in the room. The sound doesn't bother me -- very little bothers me -- but the idea that they have traded volume for intimacy in communication does. There were moments, on the phone, when I could whisper and it could mean something. Whispering while on speaker could not mean the same thing.
I think kids today trade whispers for two ranges: loud, and louder. I think it costs them something.