Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Teen Texting: Part I Tweeter-pated

Tweeter-pated –a form of twitterpated

by Linda Shaw

My son stood before me with a look of bewilderment. In one hand he held a poster that read, “No man can serve two masters… Mathew 6:24”, and in the other hand he held my cell phone. He had taken the poster from off our family’s music wall, where I had hoped it would remind him to focus on his lessons.

Since he does not have a cell phone of his own, he uses mine. I had been keeping tabs on his texting, so I knew that he had a “sweet-tweet” (first love). I followed their texts with quiet amusement, taking back the phone at night, and allowing access only after he had met his responsibilities. Recently, however I had become uneasy with the frequency of texts, the hours they came, and from whom they came. I learned that he had not one but two, “sweet-tweets.”

Trying to ease his stress I smiled before I asked, “ Having problems texting two?”

He confided in me that the second “friend” was a friend of the first. He had never met her, did not even know what she looked like, and she (through their texting) had not only claimed him for herself, but had caused the demise of his first “sweet-tweet” friendship.

Poor guy, he never knew what happened. One minute he was enjoying being the center of his texting universe and the next minute he had not one, but two fumbled friendships.
Texting is here to stay as this generation’s “rite of passage.” As parents we may not like it, we often don’t “get it”, (why don’t they just call each other) and we share concerns about what it will or will not do to this generation that thumbs, tweets, and texts themselves into one another’s hearts.

What can we do as parents to help our child be socially savvy in their texting?

Stay Open-minded
  • Has become the norm.
  • Allows discrete communication
  • Can be less expensive.
  • Often works even when cell-phone towers are down.
  • Can be used to send reminders. (homework)
  • Can be used to send positive reinforcement.
  • Can be used to teach the importance of thinking (think before you text)
  • Can help parents keep tabs on social activity.
  • Can be used to teach financial and social responsibility
  • Can help “break the ice” in new friendships

How has texting changed your family relationships?
Texting Terms: Suggestions that may help.
· Set Rules that work for your household.
  • Time limits - When and how long
  • Place limits -No Texting in School, restaurants, dinner table.
  • People limits –Text only those you know
  • Social Etiquette
  • No texting when speaking
  • Treat people in text as you would in person
  • Be mindful of friends time and place when sending text
  • Use Vibrate setting and If urgent excuse yourself
  • Understand that texting only communicates thought and should be limited to appropriate time and place.
  • Real Relationships require the use of all the senses: Texting isn’t one of them.
  • Texting depends on the receiver to accept the text as it was intended. (If in doubt, add the element of voice).

What are some rules that your family has used to help train your teen’s texting thumbs?

What are a few phrases you have texted your teen to keep communication open?



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