Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to the dark side, my friends; where Texting is King.

This is sponsored content from
BlogHer and LG Text Ed

I’ve spent the last three years of my parenting job communicating primarily through text messages.

Now, don’t you go and judge me people, until you’ve walked with my cell phone in your pocket.

While I scoffed, scorned and rolled my eyes at the parents who handed cell phones to their children in preschool, I have since fried up those thoughts and served them to myself for dinner.

Yep.


I’ve crossed over.

When you are the parent of a teenage who has successfully convinced themselves that they are “adults”, it’s either jump in the pool with them, or watch them swim away alone. I chose to swim.

This joining of the dark side has proven very, very worthwhile. I am riddled with text messages while at work, while running errands, cleaning house, making dinner and laying in bed with a good book. Is it a bother? Absolutely not. I am thankful beyond measure that my teenage children are communicating with me.

They share details about where they are; who they are with; items they need from the store; and other useless information that I may or may not ignore. I offer you Exhibit A from Bitchy, who is currently a junior at a well known Big Ten University on the East Coast.

Exhibit A: (A random sampling of several texts I’ve received in the last two weeks.)
1. People who walk faster live longer.
2. Chips are not a food group.
3. I need my “allergy medicine” picked up.
4. Why won’t you pick up the phone. I need to go to the mall.
5. You can’t possibly lose weight after 50. Give up.

While I laugh out loud at most of the messages, as a parent I am always on edge about the dangerous possibilities when your children have phones; especially ones that connect to the internet. What can we do to ensure their safety? How do we know, in our hearts, that they will make smart choices?

We don’t. However, we have to let go and trust that the lessons they’ve learned while in our care will guide their hearts when they are forced to make choices.

I am going to take this opportunity to interview my children - Bitchy (21 and a junior in college), Sassy (18 and a freshman in college) and The Golden Boy. He’s 12, has his first phone and is texting everyone and their brother; whether he knows them or not.

Do you have questions I should ask? I would LOVE your thoughts and suggestions, and will answer them in my next post.

Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer really wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting and safety going – both with our kids and among parents. It will match LG’s donation of .50 to dosomething.org for every comment on this post, so please give me your suggestions on questions for my kids. Dosomething.org will get a $1.00 for each and every one.

So, are we joining hands in our attempts to keep all young people safe in this technological world? Can we join the amazing Jane Lynch in her efforts in this regard??


I think we can.



So, for each comment, questions, suggestion I will do at LEAST one jumping jack. And perhaps a push-up or two. Go on - make my day.




18 comments:

  1. I think texting is great too... keeps us connected if only by wisps of webs we can not see or even comprehend. Regarding ANYTHING that is internet based, I think it is important that everyone remember that you can NEVER, EVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER be completely sure that something is ~gone~ once it has been sent out on those invisible wisps of web networking. Be that an e-mail, a photo, a text, etc. You can delete to your hearts content ~ but someone out 'there' probably still has 'it'. So kiddies beware when you are taking those 'photos' and sending them... you can't ever get them back.

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  2. My son, at 26 and living with me with his wife and 16 month old baby texted me the other day. He was upset because some woman was honking at him to turn left and he couldn't because cars were coming. Somehow words were exchanged and my text read as follows, "some (the word that starts with a b and ends with h) kept honking at me and I couldn't turn left because there was traffic. After I turned, she pulled up next to me and I threw my Pepsi at her car and now I don't have a Pepsi"! Sometimes I too love texting with my kids. And other times, I could skip a few of those texts. Good luck!!

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  3. I found that even after discussing safety on the net and texting, some kids will still make stupid choices. Here are some questions:

    1. wr r u?
    2. wn wl u b hm?
    3. wrs mi kr?
    4. y r u kln me?

    My texting spelling is probably not correct, but I can usually get my point across.

    Great post!

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  4. I love this post. I'm sitting here reading it with my "golden boy" trying to decide which of his sisters is Bitchy and which is Sassy. Problem is that they're both a combo of the two. I have been reamed out, cursed out and put down...all by text message. I'm with you sister.

    BTW...you can lose weight after 50. I did, I still am!

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  5. I don't know if the great state of Oregon has banned texting while driving yet, but they have in Michigan. My questions are: Can they text without looking at their phone directly? How many words per minute can they text? What texts take priority or do they text back immediately when they get a new text? Do they find it rude when others stop a conversation to answer a text?

    You can tell I could go on and on.

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  6. Texting: a necessary evil. My kids are also in college (all 3, out of state, private, thank you very much) and texting is the best way to communicate when I don't know if they are in class, in the library, at dinner, somewhere they shouldn't be, etc... Then they can (and do) phone me back when they can talk. Not to say, there aren't "rules.". If I think a question, usually a request, should be actually voiced, I simply don't respond to the text and they " get the message" and phone.
    I also comment on FB status and replied to Tweets ( the older two, young one has yet to realize I'm not the bad guy.)
    We've had the safety discussions and all I can do at this point is hope they listened.

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  7. My question is - how old do you THINK you should be to start to text? My daughter (10) is fighting for it and I have put my foot down.. I don't intend to change my mind BUT I am curious to know what teenagers think the right age is.

    M

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  8. Well I'm not a parent but a grandmother and I do have a cell phone for work, occasionally text my grown kids. But teens in high school, jr. high -- no way would I buy my kids a cell phone. It interferes with schoolwork, and live in general too much. I refused to buy my kids a nintendo growing up. When the youngest got to college he told me I was absolutely right in that decision. What opened his eyes were kids in his dorm who couldn't tear themselves away from the Nintendo long enough to study. They were addicted. Since when does this garbage texted (or on Facebook for that matter) take the place of real friendships and face-to-face socialization. It's a bad direction technology is taking us.

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  9. like the old saying, if you cant beat them, join them, my kids text me on a regular basis, there is good and bad stuff out there which existed before the net was invented, and kids will use the technology regardless, so give them advise and guidance, but if you want to comunicate with them get with the times! cul8tr!

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  10. We have had numerous conversations about internet safety and texting safety about doing while driving. It is how I communicate with my kids also. Our schedules are completely opposite, so I can text them a question and they usually get right back to me. It is also easier for them to say some things over text while not having to look me in the eye. It isn't perfect, but I 'talk' to them more this way than before, especially now that the oldest is in college.

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  11. Text question1:
    "If I were in a helicopter, where would I find you?"

    "How L8 R U planning to stay out?"

    "BTW, there is a tracking device on your car."

    "Who R U with. And Where R U at?"

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  12. I Luv U 2. That is a common message I get from my son.

    or Gone to the store. BBL (be back later)

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  13. My favorite texts are the ones from the 18 year old son in boot camp. I miss him and those texts let me know he is OK. I will take the text communication over NONE anytime.

    AND I'll happily keep texting my 16 year old daughter if that means I get to keep the Smartphones. I LOVE that with a touch of the screen I know right where she is. I'll never tell her how often I look at that.

    So text away kids, I'll play along just for the pleasure of the added security.

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  14. I brought Hubby over to the dark side with me, and I love our texting exchanges. We flirt by text, saying things we would never (maybe) say out loud. When I'm out of town (or he is), the text messages keep us close. I love getting text messages from my daughter too.

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  15. I saw a recent commercial about turning the phone off or (I wasn't paying much attention) putting it on the back seat (out of reach) while driving.

    I think turning the phone off is better because if a certain person (boy/girlfriend?) calls and has his/her own ringtone (like mine does), I think it's too tempting to try to grab the phone while driving. If it doesn't ring, there's not as much temptation.

    The thing I don't get is about sexting is this - how are these kids getting the phone numbers to send/receive pics? I don't give my number out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Kids shouldn't either.

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  16. My town has not only banned texting while driving but using any app on a cell phone while in a car, even if sitting at a red light or stop sign, unless the car is parked and turned off.

    Thankfully Kiddo is only 5 1/2 and in kindergarten. He has no interest in technology at all yet.

    I do have a friend w/high school kids who do not track her kids' activities online or on their phones. I told her she was an idiot one day when I showed her a tweet from the 14 yr old at 2am.

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  17. We don't text yet, but my sis says it is a great way to stay connected to her 7th grader.

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  18. I am always amazed at the kids who post their cell phone numbers on Facebook. My kids are 11 and 8 and the only time we have let the older one even USE the pay-as-you-go phone was when he was at a 2-night sleepover camp 3 hours away from home. I work with high school kids and much of the texting that I have seen is just mindless conversation. Do kids even know how to be alone any more? They are so used to multi-tasking with technology that they don't seem to know how to do anything unless there are earphones in and at least two screens to look and buttons to push at all the time.

    On the positive side, I do like the fact that texting provides teens with a discreet and safe method of contacting an adult if they need to be bailed out of a situation. It would be great for a teen who is trying to say no to drugs or alcohol to be able to text a parent and request a "get me outta here" emergency call!

    Also on the positive, we have a deaf student at our high school. He has a sign-language interpreter, but he is allowed to carry his smart phone and type his comments to his classmates on it as a way to communicate without always depending on the interpreter. I'm sure it's a lifesaver while she is eating lunch.

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