“Radar” Triggers Teen Angst

iPhone alarm is the bain of our existance

Michael O'Connell, Staff Writer

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Teenagers have always shared a collectively unique experience, marked by the trends and pop culture of their teen years.  For example, in the 1930s, comic books and radio shows made life more entertaining for teenagers. During the ’80s, the advent of MTV and fashion pieces like the original Air Jordan sneaker defined the teenage experience.  For teens today, however, there is a single product and experience-shaping item: the iPhone. In particular, one feature of the iPhone holds a sinister power.

It goes by the name “radar,” but is more widely known as the iPhone alarm sound.  Worldwide, millions of people start their day with the rousing pulse of this alarm sound.  Apple offers a wide variety of sounds to serve as an alarm, but most people seem to leave this particular setting unchanged.  The radar alarm sound has come to represent something bigger, however.

Play the sound to a room of high schoolers and an immediate and unanimous reaction of disdain and disgust can be expected.  Much like the famous work of 20th-century physiologist Ivan Pavlov demonstrated, it seems that thousands of high school students have become socially conditioned to one sound.

The radar alarm sound is the auditory embodiment of 21st-century teen angst.  Junior Jack Sanchez went so far as to say he feels as if “everything (he) loves is breaking apart” when he hears it.  Junior Caroline Stevenson says it causes her heart rate and breathing to speed up.

Junior Kyle Halevi knows the simple antidote to alarm stress: setting the alarm to a different ringtone.  However, he agrees with most, saying the distinctive sound of the radar alarm can grab one’s attention.

Junior Andrew Gosnell feels that often times people “overreact for attention when they hear that sound being played.”  Surely, some teenagers may have an over the top reaction, as Gosnell describes, but a common thread among students is obvious.  In dramatic terms, the sound controls them; they don’t control the sound.

Junior Finn O’Halloran said that though it is odd to be conditioned to a sound, it is uncontrollable, and inevitably the sound does not inflict harm.  

Wherever you encounter “radar,” whether it be in the early hours of every day or spliced cunningly into a meme on Twitter, just know you’re not alone in feeling stressed out. Perhaps one day the sound of “radar” will trigger happy thoughts about adolescence–and not the stress of waking up the morning.

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