Phone Cases as a status symbol in College Classrooms? by Michaelbotkin1987


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									Phone Cases as a status symbol in College Classrooms?

        Apple recently released a brand new iPhone to the market and the crowds agree: it is the best
one yet. During its initial years the phone was seen as a status symbol for the elite but after years of
increasing sales nearly everyone who wants one has one. While not all may have the latest and greatest
iPhone, the old glory of owning an iPhone has somewhat faded. College aged students in particular have
found this to be true. It is particularly difficult for many to properly show their social status among their
peers. Many schools do not allow cars and dressing in expensive clothing is not in style like the one it
used to be. This is why many are moving towards technology to show off their relative socio-economic
status to their peers.

         Doctor Michael Gentry of Hofstra University has researched this topic in detail. “It would seem
that students used their phones as a status symbol, you see it is no longer acceptable to simply state you
are wealthy. It has to be done in some subtle manner.” Therefore, he theorized that a subculture of
passively showing off signs of wealth emerged where one’s cell phone naturally emerged as the choice
symbol. “A cell phone is ubiquitous, everyone has one these days, but they are also varied: some are
expensive and some are cheap.” Doctor Gentry developed a research methodology and survey where he
asked students about their cell phones, an odd pattern emerged “Nearly all of them had smart phones,
even the poor ones but many felt that their phone gave them a status.” It emerged that how they
decorated their phones gave subtle clues to their socioeconomic status. “It seemed that a few would
select cases that would subtly suggest their socioeconomic origins, including in-jokes or references to
things that no one else would know.”

         These young students are basically using their personalized iPhone cases to determine their
social standing the research shows. How can this be countered? Alternatively, should it be countered?
“This kids will always find a way to establish a hierarchy and this appears to be the best way, whenever
we attempt to get rid of it, a new method is established.” Doctor Gentry has no interest in stopping
these personalized iPhone cases from being used by his students. He is, in fact, encouraging their
development by leading some to website’s like where they can design their own iPhone
cases. Why? “So I can study what choices they make more directly and then correlate it to their behavior
and social standing.”

        More studies appear to be needed on this subject but so much is clear: custom iPhone cases are
here to stay. One needs to ask if the iPhone case craze continues to maintain its popularity. If so, we
should see further stratification of socioeconomic classes through their custom iPhone cases. Why is this
the case? It is a simple function of normative behavior, as something becomes normal over time it is
further adopted and adapted to by the population at large. Doctor Gentry is already developing his next

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