Sunday, September 12, 2010

Parenting Mistake #10,051

A typical texting conversation taken from my daughter's cell phone:



what up?


what up?

idk (I don't know)

lol (laugh out loud)

ikr (I know, right?)

And the one word conversations didn't end there. Eight months ago, FW (my hubby) and I made the decision to purchase cell phones for our middle-school-aged girls for the main purpose of keeping them connected to us. It is very comforting having that open communication at all times between us and our girls, especially when they are separated from us for an after school activity or simply away at a friend's house.

The texting between their friends started out slow, but in no time it seemed their little fingers were typing out text messages every couple of minutes, quicker than a cowboy could draw his gun from his holster. And before you knew it, one phone racked up 10,000 texts in a month's time! It was consuming them and was becoming an addiction. The constant clicking of the nails against the tiny keyboard and the panic attacks that occurred when their phone was misplaced shed a new light on whether these cell phones were a useful tool or a hindrance to their social and communication skills.

Of course we have our "house rules" regarding the cell phones and texting etiquette. But, allow me to be the first to tell you that one cannot control what garbage is coming into the phone. Occasionally, FW and I would "spot check" their phones and review the text messages. During one of our spot checks, we dishearteningly learned that some of the incoming text messages (mostly from the opposite sex) were distasteful and inappropriate. The offensive language, sexual references and provocative photos would make any parent leery of allowing such texting to take place.  

It didn't take us long to realize that these cell phones had become a subject of distress between FW and I.  So as of now, we have suspended the texting privileges on our daughter's phones. They do still have a cell phone and they are able to verbally call someone to stay in touch, or if they want to make conversation, or if there is an emergency, but we feel they are simply not mature enough to handle the texting part. FW and I learned this the hard way and that was our mistake.     


Jan n Jer said...

Kudos to the both of you! Middle school age is way too young for such technoloy as texting. You mark my a few years we will hear on the news that our young people are severely lacking in verbal n social skills. Maybe in High school when their brain is more developed and they are better equipped to make good choices. For now cell phones are all they need (if that).

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! This post made me laugh through the entire thing.

I don't have a cell phone, but when my boys hit the teens, I fear that I will finally have to cave and cell spy on them.

gayle said...

Smart move!! You will have many hard decisions over the next few year.......sounds like you are heading in the right direction!!

Faye said...

What a challenge to walk that tighrope between letting your girls be teens and still keeping them safe from outside harm. My only bit of advice: eat your wheaties!

That corgi :) said...

good for you!! I bet you have two unhappy young teens in your house, but you go girl!! It amazes me how much the youth text. I hear my son's phone going off constantly with texts. I have an old phone which is hard to text from; takes me hours literally to type a short message but these kids can text in their sleep I do believe!! I think you were very wise in disabling texting and allowing them to have the cell phones for the purposes you originally got them. when they are older and can buy their own phone and plan,then they can text all they want (like when they are 18 plus :)



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