Thursday, October 14, 2010

Teens and Texting

Teens and texting. Those two terms go hand-in-hand and as a parent of four teens, I don't think they will be inseparable until the next, greatest technology breakthrough occurs that surpasses texting.

As a parent, I wanted to be able to text my kids. I could see that was the direction I needed to head in if I wanted to be able to keep in contact with my kids when they weren't in the same house as me. Especially as my oldest headed off to college, I knew texting would be key in maintaining our relationship. Even with mine that still live with me, my middle son who tends to be quieter and much more reluctant to enter into conversations with the family will text me when he is not here and is rather chatty.

So, we text. But as anyone who has spent any time around teens knows, their texting isn't always quite like the parent's texting. First of all, they are fast. I'm astounded at how fast my daughter can text. She can also text with complete accuracy and never look at her keypad.

The other difference is that teens tend to use shortened lingo when they text. Sure, we see some of that on blogs as well. I think we are all fairly familiar with LOL and even LMAO. But what in the world are those shortened forms our kids are using?

Have you read any of your kids texts to their friends? Accidentally or because you had reason to believe you might need to be a little more aware for their safety or well-being?

If you have, I bet you have come across plenty of shortened forms you were at a loss to define. KPC apparently stands for "keep parents clueless" and it sure seems to be working as far as texting goes.

In my online searching for this post, I found a wonderful resource by LG where you can enter your teen's texting lingo and up will pop the translation. Additionally, the site has a glossary containing hundreds of terms - many of which were submitted by parents. If you saw "420" on little Brittany's phone, would you know it was a drug reference?

Again, as a parent of teens, I feel like it is our job to be diligent. We give them this technology - this ability to stay in constant contact with anyone anywhere without us having any idea of what is going on. Once we give them this ability, I think it is our responsibility to help them learn to use it wisely and safely. Knowing what they are saying is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'd love to hear about your experiences. Have you gone onto your teen's phone to read any texts? Have you seen him or her using texting lingo? Have you ever gone online to search for what an acronym might mean? I feel that by sharing our experiences, fears, and successes, we can help each other learn to navigate this texting road. Ours is the first parenting generation to travel this road and we can support each other on the trip. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

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39 comments:

Cheryl said...

No kids of my own to worry about, but I had to find a texting dictionary to understand my 12-yo niece who'd IM me on FB.

Ka-ching .50

Paula said...

I'm the parent of 5 kids. Not all of them are teens anymore but I still am very familiar with texting.
I do read my kids' texts. Before text messaging (yes my kids are that old) I read their notes that were passed around at school. I was not going to be shocked when my kid was in trouble are pulled into something because I didn't know what was going on.
I am raising my 15 yr old step son now. I read his texts. He's a good kid so I read his to check on his mother. Yes, I'm that nosey.
His mother communicates with him via text message. When she communicates at all. There is a reason he wanted to leave her and come here.
Texting doesn't replace a conversation, I'm slowly teaching him that. He gives short, one word answers when we're talking and I'm slowly pulling him out..telling him jokiling (kind of) to use his words.
Texting is ok in moderation. We still need to teach our kids about actual conversation and writing things out with real words instead of short hand.
Sorry for the long comment..it hit home.

Eva Gallant said...

A teenage girl was just killed in an automobile crash in a city nearby. Her cell phone was found in the car and had an unfinished text message on it. That's my big concern with texting. My granddaughters do it, and I pray they don't while driving.

Mrs. Tuna said...

When my daughter was in high school I checked her text messages pretty regularly. Perhaps a little controlling but it was important that she stay on the straight and narrow. We started to let her have her own space in when she was a senior since most of her classes were at the community college. Sometimes I'm still curious but she's almost 21 and have to hope she's making good choices.

I however FAIL shortcuts, got the basics, LOL and WTF but try and use correct grammar and punctuation on mine. (My grandparents were teachers and would never forgive me).

Anna See said...

We're not texting yet, but I know we are on the verge.

TechnoBabe said...

Texting is the only way one daughter communicates with me except a long newsy email once in awhile. I am concerned about people who text while driving. I don't even talk on my cell while driving. I know, I am so old fashioned. I want to be driving safely. Ha.

Georgina Dollface said...

I haven't caught the texting bug yet, partly because I'm not very good at the SMS shorthand. I did know however what 420 means and when I told my stepson that I knew, he was quite surprised. Other times I just have to pretend I know what all those acronyms mean and then FIUIMI - fake it until I make it. - G

slommler said...

I text to keep in touch with my grandkids. Their mom keeps in touch with what they are texting..so that is good!
The abbreviations do stump me at times but so far, I have had positive experiences with it. I enjoy it!
Hugs
SueAnn

Kelley said...

I have a 2 y/o and a 6 y/o, so no texting yet! It won't be long, though, as you say. They both always want to watch videos of themselves on our iPhone or play games on it. The phone is already in their little hands! I will have to bookmark this post. :) BTW, so glad you stopped & left a comment on my guest post at Melinda's blog, "Coming Clean", last week. I wrote a silly post that included a sentence about waltzing like a nincompoop inside her slippery, bubbly website. :)

McVal said...

My 16 year old just got her license and is taking the no texting or cell phoning during driving to heart. She will not even answer the phone if I call her and she's driving. GOOD! However then I start feeling anxious that she's laying dead in a ditch somewhere and c an't reach the phone...
When texting first came out, we had a limit of 250 per month. My son blew right past that and we had $350 bill one month just on his texting... We're on unlimited now.

Jeni said...

I don't have a cellphone (no service where I live) but all three of my kids (all adults) do and they are always texting someone, somewhere, or so it seems. A very close friend of mine though had a terrible scare about a year ago though when her 15-year-old granddaughter was caught "sexting" and as a result, got into a lot of trouble at school and also with the police over that. My friend was not just simply upset but very frightened and hurt too by all of that. Sometimes, kids just don't realize the consequences of their actions and how much trouble it can bring their way, ya know.

The Mom said...

I read my son's texts. I am keeping them safe by doing that. I have caught several things that could have gone very badly. I trust that God prompts me to read them.

Pricilla said...

I have no kids but I do have nieces and nephews. When I see them they know that I find texting while in my company when we are having a conversation or at lunch or dinner is rude and I won't tolerate it. I take their phones away.

I am a meanie I guess but I tell them that manners still count and you owe the PERSON in front of you your full attention not some device in your hand.

Together We Save said...

Thanks for this reference. I did not know about it but luckly I don't know if I will have to use it... my girls don't use much lingo.

As for reading messages, I don't do it very often, but I do randomly just check and make sure I know what is going on.

Under the Influence said...

I do text with my son. I do occasionally read his texts. I also am linked to all of his Facebook information and updates. He's 13. I don't know at what point I'll back off. Maybe when he moves out.

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

My daughter is just a toddler so it's not an immediate concern of mine but I know she'll be doing it in a few years. Everything is so fast these days -- fast information that is sometimes distored and incorrect information. I just think we have to stay on top of it enough to follow it and discipline with it. There are many downfalls to texting but there are many advantages to it too. As a first hand victim of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I saw the thousands of texts that went through when phone lines were down.... for days, even weeks, it was the only communication that was working, that let our loved ones know we were safe! It's not my first choice but it's a choice I like having now!

Jessica said...

I have two teens. My daughter doesn't like to text with us, so I have to call her. My son, only speaks in grunts and whistles, yet he's constantly texting me when I'm out. Seems he gets gabby when I'm paying for groceries or driving. I have to keep stopping and telling him -STOP TEXTING ME!
Despite this, he's always been good with keeping texts to a minimum. My daughter, however, ran up an $1,800 bill on her texting ... in one month .. when she was in 7th grade. It was suppose to be "unlimited texting", but apparently that meant unlimited texting AFTER you run past your previously agreed upon package, where they INTENDED to state (or possibly implied) "unlimited, or up to a certain limit to be randomly determined by provider." :P
Because that was a clause they only tell you about after you have a problem; it wasn't listed on the agreement - I looked. Five times. And in order to find that gem out we had to call in. Kind of putting the cart before the horse, but it's how they make money.
Not a fan of kids and phones, but it's useful to keep in touch with them when they go out.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I heard apple is coming out with an application to block sexting on kids phones. Kids do text way too much. I'm starting to get annoyed with texting all the time, I used to love it. I don't have any kids to worry about yet.

Jonita said...

My kids are too young for cell phones yet, but I can tell you that I will definitely be monitoring their texts, etc. when it comes time. I think that teens need a certain amount of privacy, yet it is our responsibility to parent them, not just befriend them. If I'm vigilant, hopefully we can nip new problems in the bud. Yup, I say that now, but talk to me in 5 years, LOL.

Michele R said...

We are the meanest parents in the world because ours (ages 14, 12 and 10) don't even have cell phones. Sure, we have two extras that they use when they go to the park, or over to someone's house, but they have told their friends no texting and they call each other. I know one day soon I will look into getting an unlimited plan but have not gone there yet. I see that teens no longer have to learn how to approach the opposite sex face to face. They converse on Facebook and it makes it so easy to say you're "in a relationship". We really want our kids to know how to converse with all kinds of people.

theUngourmet said...

My daughter is in 8th grade and she does text a couple of her good friends. She doesn't try to hide things from me so far. I am very proud of the wise decisions she makes with her life at this time. She is definitely her own person and is not swayed by the crowd. I hope this will continue to be the case. I will be keeping a close eye for sure but still give her opportunity to make right choices and grow as a person. I pray it stays as easy as it is right now.

Sara said...

Dreading the day my kids can text. My oldest nephew has his phone on him at all times & if he isn't busy ignoring the rest of us, he's busy with his nose to his phone texting at the speed of light.

Kathryn Magendie said...

My sons 31 so I'm over all those days -and when he was a teen, cells weren't for 'the masses' and there was no texting!

I do love texting though - I text him now - he lives in Oregon - ask what he's up to -- it's much faster and easier than phone calls, although those are nice, too :)

Jeanne said...

My daughter was well past the teenage years by the time texting came on the scene, but this was interesting.

(And here's your 50 cents.)

Smart Mouth Broad said...

My kids are grown so I don't have to worry so much about this sort of thing. (As you know, we never STOP worrying about them, no matter how old they are) I love that you posted the lingo info. I'll have to check it out and see if I can surprise my nieces and nephews with some new terms. LOL

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

No texters yet, and I can't see it happening soon as we don't have money for cell phones. Yay for being poor, I guess!!

Therese said...

This is a fantastic topic! I work in a high school and actually use texting to keep in touch with my students... This is an issue I NEVER had to deal with when I was a teen. I see a problem with teens being almost addicted to each other and having limitless access to each other. They are also losing some of their ability to have face to face conversations to deal with things. It is such a big issue. I don't yet know exactly how I'll handle it when my girl is ready for texting... or things she is. I'm sure it will come quicker than I think.

Thanks so much for voting for my husband's commercial :)

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I agree with many of the points made in the concerns regarding teens and texting (especially while driving...no, no, no!) But I also think that this generation is going to "interface" differently and us older folk will have to adapt. I read an article about an employer who had to get used to the fact that his employees were are staring at their laptop/phone screens during staff meetings, not because they weren't paying attention but because that's how they did their work. More and more college classrooms are like computer labs. I'm not sure what the answer is in terms of retaining social skills like face-to-face conversation. I hope it doesn't become a lost art like the handwritten letter.

peewee said...

NOTHING. and I mean NOTHING makes me feel older than having to LOOK UP a slang or text from a teen. NOTHING!

Jill said...

LOTS of texting at my house! LOTS! I am getting smarter at deciphering "the code." I regularly check my boys' phones and they know it.

I have to admit that I like being able to text my kids and know what they are doing, etc. I love it when they text me and say, "hey Mom, heading over to Jim's house."

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh dear. I can't even IMAGINE what we'll have to learn when little Ming Wai is old enough to hold technology in her hands!

Lesley said...

I am still debating on what age is appropriate to buy a kid a cellphone. I thought I'd give her one of my old ones that can't text.
We just visited a city where we saw few cellphones etc. Almost makes me want to move there to give her a technology free childhood. Today we passed a young adult all plugged in to her music.
KP said hi and proceeded to use her excellent social skills.
She was totally ignored. Made me feel very sad and my child confused. Just think of all the fall smells, bright colors, bird sounds etc. that girl was missing.
I have so many memories associated with the 5 senses. What do e-mails, chatting on the cell phone and texting leave us with in old age? mymommymakesit

H-Mama said...

This is such a hard balance... even for us adults sometimes. We hope to stay on top of it when our girls are old enough to have their own phones and such. Oi.

Ahleessa said...

I don't have any children, but I do have to agree. I see teens texting all the time. When they should be studying, you see the cell phone close by... hehe~

Kaylen said...

My son had a cell phone young, but only because I'm poor and it was cheaper to have 2 cell phones than one cell and one home phone and I had an hour commute-I needed a cell phone!
I don't check his phone now, but I have in the past when I was worried about him during a bad phase..

carma said...

I can't even retrieve my own phone messages so there is no danger of me snooping on my son's. He is a man of few words anyway and is rarely ever on the phone. Great cause. I hope it raises some big bucks....

Susieqtpies said...

I have 16 yo teen twin girls who text and I txt with them. They officially get their drivers license this friday and i pray if they listen to anything we have said that they don't text and drive.

Love your blog! Off to look around some more.

Thanks for stopping in and linking up in my follow friday hop! I'm your newest follower! Stop back in and link up again on friday!!

susie at Scraps of Life

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