There is no doubt that text messaging can be, in the right situations, the most efficient, convenient form of communication ever invented. It’s genius.
However, there is a tremendous amount of doubt about whether, on the whole, it actually improves human communication, especially among young people. Many people feel that it is stunting the development of a variety of communication skills in teens. And it’s not just the naysayers who don’t understand the technology who are skeptical about the long-term effects of heavy texting. It’s the early adopters, the ones who have been text messaging a lot for a long time who are concerned.
NPR put together a nice report which succinctly describes the situation. While it doesn’t offer solutions, it does provide a clear snapshot of where we are with this mostly youth-driven phenomenom.
Listen here to the 4 minute mp3 file NPR report on Texting Teens.
Here’s a few thoughts on texting etiquette for adults and teens (click here).
Other ideas (not all good for every situation):
- Don’t give your preteen a texting cell phone. Wait as long as possible.
- Have a cell phone docking station (basket or box on a shelf) in the kitchen where kids dock their phones for meal time, family time, bed time, and any time that you want some text-free time.
- Have an “electronic sabbath” as a family, in which everybody stays unplugged for a certain number of hours. Try a whole day sometime. Read more at the blog post “Do You Need a Digital Sabbath.”
- Try to avoid multi-tasking so much. Research is proving that it doesn’t work well, even though you think it does. Encourage kids to mono-task: do one thing at a time well.
- Have kids pay their own cell phone bill. Or compromise: they pay for texts and data service.
- Use texting as a tool of encouragement. Make it a ministry of love — for birthdays especially.
- Use texting to encourage others to vote on election day or to pray for or do something for someone in great need.
- Make a rule that you cannot text someone in the same room or house.
- LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER IDEA.