Friday, January 9, 2009

Vexing And Perplexing Texting

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via Wikipedia I should be posting this blog on "A Mad Mom" (, the place where I rage about the crazy world of parenting, because I'm really, REALLY mad at the phone companies for inventing text-messaging! I believe that technological advance, alone, has turned our teenagers into uncommunicative, thumb-struck message junkies! I can barely have a conversation anymore with my teen without being interrupted by the "beep-beep-beep" of an incoming text message. Of course, she has to respond right away.

Last night, we were playing tennis in our living room (don't you just love Wii?). She had the Wii remote in one hand and was texting with the other. I was livid that she wasn't "in the moment" with me. And what really ticked me off is that she still beat me!

Between online social networking and these damn text messages, our teens are carrying on entire relationships with their friends without ever using their voices. I asked my teen why she doesn't just pick up the phone and call her friends? You know, the old-fashioned way of communicating. She said that she gets uncomfortable with "awkward silences." What about when she's texting from the bathroom, isn't that a little awkward, too?

The real tragedy of texting is that teens aren't really getting to know each other very well; there isn't a mutual exchange of personalities. I mean, anyone can send a smiley-faced emoticon. But a hearty, soulful laugh heard during a real-time, late-night phone call or while sharing a pizza is your unique vocal signature and something that can never be replaced by a peppering of "LOLs."

I bumped the alien's text messaging limit to 500 a month. We had an agreement: If she went over that amount, which she promised she wouldn't, her phone would get turned off until the next billing cycle. Her texting activity really stepped up this week, I noticed, so I checked in with Verizon today and was shocked to discover that just halfway into the billing cycle, she had already exceeded her text messages by 300! In terms parents can relate to, that's about an extra $70 on the next phone bill.

True to my word, I turned off her phone, and when I pick her up from school today, I'm driving her straight to the ATM where she is going to withdraw $70 and hand it over to dear old mom. Of course she'll be upset. And she'll probably want to bitch about it to her friends. But she's going to have to pick up a phone and use her voice to do it.

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1 comment:

OmegaWolf747 said...

Back in the 30s, people said almost the exact same thing about kids reading comic books. Now no one thinks twice about it. In the next 20 years, something else will come along to raise the Luddites' hackles.