Are Kids Missing Out On the Crank Calls of Our Youth?

Catherine Crawford

Ever since my husband and I gave up our land line (because we NEVER used it) and decided to rely only on our cell phones, I’ve been obsessed about the possibility that cell phones could cause hurt my kids' brains. Cancer and tumors are totally uncool, and I may have return to my Luddite ways just so I can sleep at night.

Then, the other day I had a thought that made me even further nostalgic for the home main line  --- the art of crank calling.

I don’t necessarily want my kids calling unwitting strangers and trying their prankster hands, but it also makes me kind of sad that it’s not really an option in the age of the cell phone. Maybe it’s not even the cell phone’s fault, but rather caller i.d. is the real kill joy.

When I was 11-years-old, there was nothing funnier and more daring than calling a random number and asking the person on the other line if their refrigerator was running  --- “then you’d better go catch it!” Okay, I guess it’s kind of dumb, but it was genius at the time. Bart Simpson really turned it into an art form -- Amanda Hugginkiss, Oliver Clothesoff, Hugh Jass.

I tried to discern if today's savvy kids had found away around the whole caller i.d. obstacle, and I learned that there is something called SpoofApp that allows you to change what the person you are calling sees on the caller i.d. display. Presumably it wasn’t invented for little jokesters, but it sounds like the perfect solution. I also found some evidence that prank calling is alive and well in other parts of the world.

Listen to this little 8-year-old spitfire from Ireland. I can only imagine how fun she is at a slumber party:

Like the team of Irish demolitionists, I used to really appreciate a good crank call. Not the crude or offensive variety, but I certainly had regard for a good chuckle. Then again, those were in the days that I actually answered the phone.

I think I'll go watch some Crank Yanker clips on YouTube.

Did cell phones kill crank calls?


Image via somegeekintn/Flickr

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