Would it make you proud?


The recent LG U.S. National Texting Championship in New York required contestants to send a text in 60 seconds while running on a treadmill, translate text-message abbreviations and text the alphabet while blindfolded.

A 14-year-old Georgia girl, the youngest in the competition, came in second with her older stepsister in third place. The nimble-fingered skills come from hours and hours of sending text messages (in the hundreds) each day.

Which raises the question in my mind: Should such acclaim make a parent proud?

No, thanks. I want my daughters to see the world with their heads up on occasion.

But it is a challenge in a hi-tech culture. And no one wants to be left behind by a failure to effectively use available communication technology.

Like everything else, however, it is a matter of balance.

With school out for the summer, my daughters spend a lot more time engaged with a computer. I fear too much stimulation from simulation games.

So they often hear from me: “Off the computer” — followed by an unwelcome announcement that bikes, hikes and ballgames are on the agenda as well.

I want them to exercise more than their thumbs and to actually talk face-to-face with another human being.

Texting is a good communication tool — in moderation. But for many teens, and perhaps others, it has become an obsession 4COL (for crying out loud).

3 Comments

  1. According to Facebook statistics over 30 million folks access via mobile devices. Those folks are 50% more active than non-mobile Facebook users (over 200 million, 140 million in countries other than the US).

    Most of these folks are not teenagers, yet this activity is very similar to teenage texting. When texting teenagers are generally connected to people they know.

    At business meetings, self-proclaimed, hip, executives lay their smartphones on the table (sort of like a six-shooter in a poker game) announcing they have options when meeting gets boring.

    For balance between doing something physical and achieving thumb dexterity the physical has to be just as much fun …. otherwise it is perceived as punishment for having fun.

    Remember there is a reason we don't have to train teenagers on how to text …. neither the mechanics nor the shorthand.

  2. Good points, Gene. As a parent, I've noticed that some of our most enjoyable experiences, however, begin with: "Do we have to?"

  3. It finally got so bad that we took the cell phone away from our 13 year old. She was sleeping with the cell phone, texting during the night. But the straw that broke the camel's back (pardon the pun since I work at Campbell) was when a teacher caught her texting in class last spring.

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