Practical Dad

Kids and Texting

You sometimes come across an article that resonates with what's happening in your own life and household.  In this particular instance, a timely parenting article - Age-old kids' query in a text message: Wuz4dina? - by Beth Harpaz.

We held off on purchasing a cellphone for our eldest until we saw a certifiable need, in this case, a youth trip to a city 1000 miles away.  And along with that purchase came a debate that I hadn't anticipated:  text messaging in the phone plan.  Understand that my wife and eldest child are technophiles and infinitely better versed in modern electronics of all kinds.  I was the one who worked in the corporate headquarters of a Fortune 500 company and walked down the hall to talk to someone instead of emailing them.  But after discussion - them versus me - we came to a reasonable compromise.  She got the texting package and contributes to a portion of her cellphone bill. 

But while understanding the slang and acronyms are a real concern - I long ago learned that I had to keep up with youth culture - my qualms simply go to having one more thing that I have to monitor and place on the parental radar.  Are the number of messages within the plan parameters?  Who's being texted?  And unless something goes radically amiss, are things being kept appropriate?  And if you're reading this, Eldest, I do believe that they are; it's simply a parental concern.

Giving her access has also proven to be the departure point for any number of other issues.

  • Knowing how to speak properly with people despite being able to text with your buds.  There are moments when texting is appropriate and moments when it's not, like when I'm sitting in the next room.
  • Understanding that these services come at a financial cost and that you can't always text if it's going to cost you for texting those outside of your plan.  It's an elementary resource allocation exercise for young minds.
  • Learning how to read a bill and about the affiliated service and regulatory fees.
  • Learning how to deal with contract and billing errors, and that speaking frankly isn't the same as "yelling" or being rude.

So I'm grabbing the opportunities as they come.  She'll learn about these things and I'll get additional glimpses into her world.

But I'll keep the texts with her to a minimum since I don't have texting as part of my plan.

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