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Does Texting Scare You… Or Do You Love It?

Not so recently, I gave up on texting. I thought it would be a hard decision. As it turned out, giving up on dairy was a lot harder. Well, perhaps because dairy has been around longer: the first text message (SMS) was sent in 1992!

Texting is the number 2 use of mobile phones. (Number one is checking the time!) It has become such a popular, addicting and distracting habit that the number of casualties being reported due to texting while walking or driving has increased tremendously.

A recently released study by the National Highway Safety Board found that four out of every five highway accidents were caused by people texting or talking on their cell phones.

There are many “safe texting” campaigns out there. I once got a free T-shirt at EXPRESS, where I usually shop,  that reads “Hit The Road, Txt L8r!” supporting RADD’s “text-free focused driving”.

RADD’s started out as “Recording Artists, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving”. I call texting “the new influence”.

Another objection to texting is the increased tendency for teens to engage in inappropriate conversations with a sexual or profane tone, exchanging or being exposed to nudity or other obscene content (also known as “sexting”), or to be tempted to cheat in class. Bullying is another side-effect of this media.

There are millions of texts sent by kids every day in the U.S. alone. Last spring, I sat next to a girl on a flight whom I would probably deem to be between 14 and 16 (all the make-up can be deceiving at times) and she was eating her plane meal with one hand and texting with the other without even looking at her phone!

She’d look at the message she got and then she’d start texting back single-thumbed. I think I stared a little bit.

Truth is I used to text all the time. I found it convenient, instant, and private. I get it. While my kids are far from getting a mobile phone, let’s face it, it’s just a matter of time. It’s just the way the world is moving. I stopped because it felt that people can’t just talk anymore.

A concerned friend once asked me: “How many times did you send/receive a message and the meaning of real meaning was lost on you or the other party because tone of voice /pitch/inflection doesn’t translate too well into pixels?”  

Sometimes a 30-second conversation is replaced by a 15-minute unsuccessful texting session tapped out on a keypad.

As positive parents, our responsibility is not to keep our kids locked away from everything that could potentially harm them. If you look at it this way, they’ll never ride a bike, swim, or even take a shower. The worst could happen even in those apparently harmless situations.

I bought my girls a computer and its use is, of course, highly supervised and an opportunity to talk about safety and privileges. When the time comes, that will be my approach to texting.

We can start by testing our text language knowledge, then learning every possible acronym our kids could use as code to communicate with others. Being informed, being involved will help our judgment and handling any challenges that may arise.

Then, it is necessary to set limits and guide them to the responsible use of the technology.
Educating our kids of the potential harms. Explaining that sharing explicit content will not only bring disappointment to you as a parent, but it also can result in a potential viral spread within friends and even strangers, causing embarrassment and humiliation.

A few parent surveys have actually revealed that over 70% of parents feel that kids, tweens and teens are more responsive and easier to reach through text messaging than other forms of communication. Texting is less intrusive and discreet and, therefore, kids feel more comfortable with communicating with parents this way. It’s kind of weird to think about this when we never even had a telephone at home growing up. 🙂

Cell phone companies are coming up with unlimited text messaging family plans and have parent-friendly guides to text messaging available for download and in print at their stores.

The bottom line for me is: the purpose should be defined, boundaries set, consequences explained, praise given, discipline consistent, but I will definitely allow and embrace any form of communication that allows me to get closer to my kids. I guess if I feel that way when it’s time, I’ll have to re-consider texting. What do YOU think?

Elayna is a single mom of 4, an award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Student of Pain. She’s a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 4x TEDx speaker. Founder of the Positive MOM® and creator of the S.T.O.R.Y. System: a blueprint to craft and share powerful stories that will transform your results, so you can have the wealth, opportunities, and freedom you deserve. Connect with Elayna Fernández at thepositivemom.com/keynote-speaker and follow @thepositivemom. To receive a gift from Elayna, click HERE.

Be Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna FernandBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOMez ~ The Positive MOM
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Friday 3rd of July 2020

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