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Lessons from Linda
OMG! The Texting Teens


Times are so much different than when I was a kid (not to sound too much like Dick Feagler). Cable television, computers, cell phones and XBox have really changed the way teens communicate with each other.

Parents can no longer just listen in on their kids conversations or watch what they are doing; everything is covert with them especially with the text messaging on cell phones. They have lightening speed fingers and we have no idea who they are conversing with or what they are saying.

Is this a good thing or bad thing? I'm not really sure. What I am sure of is that they get instant feedback. It's kind of like instant gratification - which most of the time is not a good thing.

Even I have fallen to the depths of texting. I took two years of typing class and I bet it takes me five minutes to text one short sentence. I have to say I much prefer speaking to someone directly. I prefer real human interaction.

However, I've found that there are many parents out there that have also learned the skill of texting - and it's probably so they can "talk" to their kids and maybe it's the only way they can get them to respond. Why is it that simply dialing a number and talking directly to another person has become so archaic?

Communication has become a technology. Invitations are sent via email, a phone is used to send text messages, listen to music, surf the internet, review digital photos and oh yea, actually call someone to speak live. It's amazing.

My kid's text me while they are in classes while I'm at work. Mostly to tell me they need something of course and usually it's nothing they can't wait to tell me. And they know not to text me too often.

And how about organized sports? How often do we see a group of kids playing in the street or at the park without uniforms and umpires? It's rare anymore. It's almost like kids don't know how to be creative and use their imagination unless they are using an electronic device like an iPod, or cell phone.

We used to be outside every night playing baseball, kick the can, or badminton. On hot summer days we had water fights with the garden hose, jumped through sprinklers or waded in Lake Erie. You are not in the in crowd today unless you are texting your friends.

My oldest daughter informed me she had a total of 3000 text messages this past month (including incoming and outgoing). Yet, with an unlimited texting plan for $10 more per month, she will have to pay for going over on her "unlimited" texting plan. At least she has to deal with her Father for that...my kids aren't on my plan!

I am embarrassed to say I am just old enough to remember what a party line was. Grandma had one in her apartment building. Imagine one phone line for several people to share and several people to evesdrop on other conversations. Teens today would be aghast and couldn't possibly comprehend stuff like that from the "olden days".

At least it was personal back then. I wonder how interpersonal communications is taught in college today. I remember when I took that class and I remember people talking, looking at each other, and learning about different types of body language. You can't read body language on a text message.

And how about handwriting abilities? I received a thank you note from a graduating senior after attending his graduation party. Wow, the nuns I had in grade school would be turning over in their graves. Remember all the time we spent learning how to print, then all the time learning how to actually write in cursive? Remember all the hours of practicing?

Today's generation more than likely thinks computers can do everything for you now. I beg to differ. I use a computer at work every day, I do online banking and I look up lots of things on google. The computer has allowed me to do things I couldn't before and it's an amazing tool and resource. But I bet there's not a single person out there - today's generation OR yesterday's that doesn't cherish a hand-written note that was sent via the U.S. Mail, (now known as snail mail) and I don't mean a wedding invitation.

Seeing my name handwritten on the front of the envelope, opening the envelope to see a card with personal handwriting, or better yet a letter with pages of handwriting still makes me feel incredibly special. It's not often that someone takes a few precious moments of their day to make someone else feel important and special by sending handwritten correspondence.

It sounds so easy doesn't it? Well don't ask your teenager, because they'd say it's just as easy to email or send a text message.



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