Monday, June 1, 2009

Teen Texting

Over the weekend I read several articles on teen texting with opinions ranging from it's dangerous to forget it, it's teens being teens.

When my youngest daughter was in high school, few kids had cell phones. They carried pagers, and they had a language of number codes for what they said to each other. That was eight years ago.

Today teens have cell phones and text constantly. And when they are not texting through their phone they are instant messaging each other on the computer. I don't find texting particularly harmful, what I object to is the context in which it is done. So I have set a few rules for Ken's niece who lives with us.

No texting at the dinner table
No texting while we are talking to her
No texting in class

This last rule was originally on the honor system and woefully ignored. First only a little (she swore it was an emergency), growing to 80 to 100 in and out text messages during school hours. Those emergencies multiply like rabbits, you know.

Since her having a phone was a reward for consistently going to school and getting there on time -- something that did not occur when she lived with her grandparents, we did not want to take it completely away. My solution was to change her phone service to one with parental controls. I blocked texting from occurring doing school hours. And you know, a funny thing happened after I did that. Her grades went up.

My take on texting? I'm on the side of it's not dangerous, it's teens being teens. However, it's up to us as parents and guardians to lay down the context rules, and then enforce them.

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