Take a Cue and Get a Clue as to Why Text Messages are All the Rage

It is so funny to see the difference between teens and parents when it comes to online communication. I say funny because I'm on the outside looking in (I don't have kids), but I remember when I was a teen, I was a hellion so I'm sure my Mom doesn't think there's anything funny about trying to communicate with an adolescent. I can't imagine her trying to control me if we had the Internet around back then. But I digress, my point is that many parents "hate" texting but I'm here to change your mind. For starters, look at it like this: It's another way to communicate with your child and isn't that what every parents wants? To communicate more with your child?

A friend was explaining that the only way his daughter will "call" him is if he "texts" her. He could call her cell phone and leave message after message and he'll never hear from her, but if he texts her, she'll respond immediately. "Why is that?" he asks me. "Because" I say, "it's easier and quicker for her to punch a few buttons and touch base with you. If she thinks she has to call you, then she feels like she has to spend time talking to you and ultimately answer whatever question you may have at the moment. Basically she doesn't really want to do that. With texting she is in control."

Most teens I talk to think it's cool when their parents finally adopt texting, and in fact, they appreciate it tremendously. Here's the skinny: If you want to have a conversation with a child who still lives at home, do it over dinner, don't expect to do it on the phone or worse yet, via text or email. You simply cannot have a relationship via text, it's meant for short messages, to keep each other posted on what's going on. Just because your tween is texting her fingers off with her BFF Jill, doesn't mean she'll do that with you. She has a different kind of relationship with her peers, respect it, encourage it, but monitor it. Keep in mind that this kind of communication is empowering to youths, and in the end, they are communicating more and more with each other. Again, isn't that what every parents wants? For your child to express him or herself and communicate more?

One startling statistic is that 95% of parents don't recognize the lingo kids use to communicate online. NetLingo is here to help! One way to get a clue is to keep up-to-date with text lingo. Check back to this blog too, I'll be writing MANY posts about text messaging in the future because it remains to be "a gr8 db8."