Caroline Lebrun : from the immediate object to the virtual object. Telephone and early adolescence

Among the specific material collected at Fil Santé Jeunes, a hotline for adolescents, we find definitions of the word virtual and, most of all, the genital potential that is expressed directly in the calls. Invisibility and non-presence – another definition of the word virtual – are characteristic of the telephone. As a space in which parental substitutes are invisible and the adolescent himself is unseen, the phone line is an offering to representation, a particularly welcome one at an age when it is imperative that a representation be substituted for the bodily parental presence. The voice, the only corporal element of the telephone relationship, fosters a bond which may be regressive but which may also open the way for mutual subjectivation.