On my way to TRI Towers from my country estate this morning, I took a different route into the city. I started noticing something different in my peripheral vision, so I began looking more intently. Street corner after street corner had teenagers in ratty shorts and T-shirts waiting for a Rockford school bus. That was nothing different from what I remember from living in town.

The difference? Almost every one of them, block after block, was staring downward at a tiny box, face blank, thumbs jabbing at little buttons.

What I remember from just a few years before is that, on nearly every corner, at least two of them would’ve been shoving, fighting, yelling at each other.  Not so any more.  And the thing is, this change isn’t actually for the better.