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What If Your Students Could Break iPhones in Class?

By now, Bendgate is no secret to the general public. The alleged bending and warping capacity of the new Apple iPhone 6+ has rumours flying, consumers speculating, and a host of merciless jokes and parodies circling through cyberspace. View the original Bendgate viral video below, and become one of 52 million views and counting:

Another Internet sensation follows closely on the heels of this. It concerns two UK kids who filmed themselves going into a local Apple store and bending several iPhone 6+ display models in a bid to expose the fragility of Apple’s new product as being ”just stupid.” (Note: There is a bit of foul language in the video below.)

The Internet is a Harsh Mistress

The thing that was remarkable about this whole incident is the backdrop. You can see in the footage that these two boys performed this highly questionable act during regular store hours. In the video (though the quality is pretty rough), the kids even interview an Apple store employee and inquire about the claims of the iPhone 6+ getting bent so easily under normal use.

The employee responds by saying that it’s just “an Internet rumour” and the stories are quite exaggerated.

Once they realized what they had done, the two boys tried to remove the posted video in an attempt to protect themselves and their identities, which they openly revealed while filming their video by using full-face shots and disclosing their names.

It was too little too late, unfortunately—the clip they posted took mere minutes to be discovered and then shared all over the Internet. Now their video is currently featured on various YouTube channels and has tens of thousands of views, and is immortalized forever. In addition, several articles featuring the video and their story are posted online. Since then, the boys' own YouTube account has been terminated, and their future in light of this incident is as yet unclear.

A Tale of Two Viewpoints: Heroes or Hoodlums?

There is a potential for an interesting open discussion here, but it’s important to get some facts put down first. The idea is that these will likely generate conflicting viewpoints in any dialogue.

Fact: The two UK kids who were bending these phones admitted on camera that what they were doing was “probably criminal damage,” but that they didn’t care because it was Apple’s fault for issuing “false advertising.”

Fact: The store employee they spoke to claimed that Bendgate was just an Internet rumour, despite the complaints that had already been filed, and the distribution of the original Bendgate video from Unbox.

Fact: Apple technically allows consumers to test all in-store products fully, and claims that consumers can do "almost anything" with them.

Fact: The retail outlet these kids were in was full of busy employees and customers milling around looking at Apple products. Nobody noticed them doing what they were doing, and if they did, nobody said anything to them or notified staff.

Fact: It’s worth pointing out that there have only been a handful of actual complaints of the iPhone 6+ bending so far, out of well over 5 million current unit sales.

What Do You Think?

We’d like you, our readers, to create an open discussion about this with your friends, your kids, and especially your students. Watch the videos, formulate your own opinions, and open up the floor for debate.

This is a perfect springboard for an extensive discussion with students about respect and responsibility for property, which is part of the tenets of Global Digital Citizenship.

Urge your students to ask each other tough questions in an open class debate and reflect on the following ideas:

Were these kids justified in what they were doing, or are they criminals who should be punished by law? Why or why not?

Also, consider this:

How does what happened with their video demonstrate the concept of the “digital footprint” in terms of respecting and protecting yourself, which are other tenets of Global Digital Citizenship?

We want to hear about this from our readers. Develop a discussion around this story in a class with your students, and post the outcome of the discussions in the comments below. What do your students think about all this? What do you think? Share with us in the comments section!Critical Thinking Companion