Let’s Talk Text Talk
No kidding, this is a true story. Not even the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Household6Diva asked her readers recently, “What kind of cell phone do you have and why?”
An aside: I hate phones. I hate talking on them. I avoid using them as much as possible. I almost never call someone if I can email them.
My answer: I have a prepaid plain cell phone with no bells or whistles. ‘Cause I just want a phone and I don’t necessarily want to have to talk on it.
But, in all fairness I also have an iTouch. Gregg got it for me to travel internationally, so that I’d have music, videos, sermons, and internet access wherever I found myself. Kaylee installed an ap for me that is a texting ap – free texting worldwide! I can even text Gregg’s cell phone. I love this ap because I can text with a full keyboard instead of the number pad on my plain boring phone. I just can’t talk with it because it’s not a cell phone.
SO, I get a text from a number and it says, “such-and-so number tried to call your text only number.” [I called my text number to see what it said, and it says, “You’ve reached Text-Free’s text only number. This number only accepts texts, not calls” — or something of that sort.]
For four days in a row, I got a phone call from this number. Then I got a text (same number). The incoming texts are in green. My replies are in blue. I have changed nothing -no spelling, no grammar, no punctuation. This is over the course of two days.
Hey gus thiz iz hannah do u have camerons #?
Wrong #. This isn’t Gus.
R u shore cuz crly gave me thiz #.
Of course I’m sure.
Im hust wobderin thiz but do u go 2 toliver??
That text doesn’t even make any sense. I’m a grownup. Learn to communicate in complete sentences with proper punctuation or you will have a very hard life in front of you.
Srry guess i got rong #
I talked previously about the lack of phone skills in the youth of today. I guess there’s a big hole that’s been overlooked in texting etiquette – if such a thing exists.
Aside from the fact that I could have been ANYONE on the other end of that communication string, is this really how we want our children communicating — even with each other? The habits they’re developing now are going to stick with them. At some point, they need to learn how to talk on the phone and how to communicate electronically. Now that most of them have full keyboards with which to type out texts, there isn’t even a reason for the lingo or the acronyms to be used anymore.
Beyond just the poor communication skills that are developing, I guess one of the major problems is that parents have been so removed from inter-personal communications between tweens and teens. Once they had their own phones and own methods of communication apart and removed from adults, it all just went downhill. I’m not criticizing those of you with children with their own phones – my daughter has a phone, an iTouch, and a laptop. I’m just kind of giving us parents out there a little head’s up – a little nudge. They’re talking to people they don’t know, blindly texting, and making friends on Facebook – and oftentimes we don’t even know what’s going on.
I try to stay on top of Kaylee. I check her phone, iTouch, and Facebook regularly. But even as diligent as I tend to be, I’ve had to block and report obvious predators, shown her how I knew and worked on teaching her how to figure it out for herself; I’ve blocked and removed kids whose pictures, music, and quotes were just, well, BAD, and have been open and honest with her why and when I’ve done it; and I’ve pointed out her communication shortfalls with texts and have encouraged her to expand words, use punctuation, and use proper spelling. It’s just a major area of her life that cannot be left to just her.
We need to close this gap somehow – reel the kids in a little bit. I fear we’ve made a drastic mistake as a society by allowing children, tweens, and teens such freedom of communication.
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Wow. I don’t see a great deal of texts. I don’t text, facebook or twitter. I have a cell phone, a blog and an email account. My oldest son is the only one with texting on his phone. He’s 19 so I don’t check after him. I’d imagine it’s much the same as you’ve posted here.
You’ve addressed something else here, too. Harassment.
True story. I have had the same cell number for probably 12 years or more. One day I received a call only I didn’t recognize the number. I answered. Sure enough it was the wrong number. He wouldn’t believe me when I told him he had the wrong number. He argued and told me I was a liar. I continued to get harassed by these people (men, women, boys, girls from the same number) constantly. The bad part was sometimes they would be under the influence of something. After weeks of this (and using up my minutes on a very limited plan) I did the only thing I could think of at the time. When I saw the phone light up with the number I ran outside with my husband’s loud whistle and not saying a word I blew on it long and hard then hung up. After a few more times they finally stopped calling.
Great post. I think about the differences between teens now and when I was a teen 10+ years ago. It scares me to think about what it’s going to be like when my kids become teenagers 10+ years from now. It’s a little daunting to think about parenting through the teenage years, and I can only pray that God will give me the wisdom and strength to do it the best I can. I have to constantly remind myself that I need to rely on Him to help me be a good parent, but it’s hard not to worry about all the other influences that are out there.
So very, very true!! Thank you for posting!
Our two eldest have had cell phones since jr. high primarily because they both played sports and had other activities and we often were running in 6 different directions with little ones in tow. They did not have texting right away, but eventually it was added to our plan. That being said, we will NOT be giving our other children phones at any time in the future (the next oldest are 5th & 6th grade). Not because they don’t have sports & other activities, but because it made being a parent to a teenager that much harder (and really? who needs it to be harder?!) We’ve learned that teenagers actively push boundaries on every occasion. We may rethink the cell phone option once they are driving, but if they are anything like their elder siblings, it won’t be until they are 17 or 18 anyway.
As far as the internet, it is closely monitored as the computer is located in my bedroom. Generally they are able to use it for school work and that’s it. With all that goes on in jr. high and high school, I’d rather limit the ways my children are able to find it or are able to be found.
I don’t have texting. In fact, we blocked it. I do have it on my itouch but rarely use it.
It drives me bananas to see people text/type like the person who contacted you. My sister communicates that way and I honestly can’t understand half of what she is trying to say. I have asked her repeatedly to use a spell checker. How can you be taken seriously if you type worse than my 2nd grader?
This is hilarious! Perhaps I’ll do a post on texting etiquette :)
I text/email a lot. A LOT. I understand the need for abbreviations in text (my phone still has a character limit), but I also think that the character limit should be a sign that you are conducting too much of a “conversation” via text that would be better suited for a telephone call or email.
Additionally, there is a huge difference between abbreviations (e.g. “hr” instead of “hour”) and mispellings or horrific grammar (e.g. “ima” intead of “I’m going to”).
As soon as you wrote the long message with proper grammar and punctuation, the sender could tell immediately they had the wrong number. I don’t have a problem with mystery texts, but I do get a ton of solicitations through mystery numbers. Ick. Good for you!
Omg! That conversation made me laugh. It baffles me too to see how kids type these days. My teen years were spent on instant messages (most people didn’t have cel phones then) and while I’ve been texting a lot for the past several years, I’ve never felt the need to use any abbreviations, even when I was a silly teenager – how much time does it really save, anyway? I prefer to be understood.
And that screenshot made me realize that’s what the kid I babysit was using on his iTouch, plus he also had an app that allowed him to call his friends for free. He’s 9 years old and I can only imagine how bad his typing is! I really don’t think it’s necessary for kids that young to have texting/chatting access, it just seems like a disaster waiting to happen! He called his friend via his free app and yelled at him, telling him he was stupid for not responding to his text messages! Is that really how we want to raise kids?