Monday, November 22, 2010

And Now Many Words From My Resident Texting Experts - and continued chances to win a gift certificate for yourself

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed


I was thrilled with the number and quality of questions you all submitted for me to ask my kids regarding teens and texting. I had so many wonderful ones to choose from - let's get right to it. I divided the questions up and sent some of them to each of my kids by email. I decided writing the answers would probably lead to a more relaxed and possibly a more honest approach. I didn't want them sitting there deciding how mom wanted them to respond. Also, these are their answers as written. I only corrected capitalization and (far too many) misspellings.

General phone and texting use
Q:
How many text messages do you get a day approximately?
19 year old son: I get around 50 texts a day depending on the day of the week. Weekends are probably a little higher.

Q: Do you & your friends prefer talking or texting more?
19 year old son: I think texting has its uses. It's a very convenient way to quickly ask someone a question. I tend to make few phone calls, but only because I go talk to people face to face. So all in all, we prefer to talk, but we text as well.

Q: Do you share your number with everyone or only people you know well?
19 year old son: Only people I know well.
13 year old son:If I think they would just annoy me I don't.

Q: Would you be offended if your parents wanted to look and see who you were texting and who was texting you.
16 year old son: Yes. While I have nothing to hide, my cell phone is my personal property. To inspect it would be a gesture of distrust. However, if there was legitimate concern over who I was texting or who was texting me, I would gladly hand over my phone.
13 year old son:YNot at all. I don't report stuff to my parents, but hypothetically they could check my phone whenever they wanted.

Q: Do you have any restrictions with your phone? Are there hours of the day you are not allowed to use it?
16 year old son: Yes. Any time between 10 P.M. and 7 A.M. is restricted. Also, I cannot access the internet or use games with my phone; this is to prevent it becoming a distraction.

Q: What parameters did your parents give you when you got your cell phone?
19 year old daughter:No usage at night, I didn't have texting when I first got a phone. I didn't use it when we had company or I was visiting someone.

Q: Do any of your friends not have a cell phone?
16 year old son: No. Cell phones have saturated my generation entirely; they're considered a basic resource.

Q: Have your parents actually talked to you about your use of the cell phone?
16 year old son: Yes, when it was first purchased. We talked about what services I could or couldn't use on the phone.

Q: Why do kids text instead of just call?
16 year old son: Texting is more casual, used to communicate brief messages. One can also text while working on something else. Many teens use texting to communicate during school hours, when a silenced text can be sent and received without the notice created by a phone conversation.

Q: How open do you feel you can be with your parents regarding your texting habits?
16 year old son:If it ever became a concern, I would be very open. But as I mainly use texting as a social utility, it doesn't come up much in conversation.

Q: Is texting common at your school?
16 year old son:Extremely. Everyone I know owns a phone with texting.

Texting and driving, sexting, etc.
Q: I recently heard on television about a study that said "teens who text a lot are more likely to be involved in teen sex and/or drugs." What are your teens thoughts on this study?

19 year old son: I think that survey wouldn't hold true for college students. In college texting is mainly used as a social network. As with facebook, I think almost everyone in college texts, regardless of their beliefs on sex and drugs. I would imagine that in younger teens this survey could very well be a true statement.

Q:How prevalent is sexting, truly?
19 year old son: I think sexting is a joke. Or maybe I only know classy people. I have never heard of anyone sexting.
16 year old son: It's uncommon, but it does happen. I've only heard about people who did it once or twice.

Q: How many of their friends text and drive?
19 year old son: A good few of my friends text and drive. I try to stop it when I see it though. I honestly never text and drive
19 year old daughter:Only one. Needless to say, I do not ride with him.

Q: Ask your kids if they text when driving? Or if they'd admit to it if they did.
19 year old daughter:
I don't text while I drive.

Q: I believe that the only way an individual can protect themselves or others from harm while driving and texting is to impose some sort of restrictions on themselves, such as turning off their phones. Do your children that drive take any precautions while driving? And not something from you or your husband, but something they do for themselves each time they get in the car?
19 year old daughter:I usually turn mine on silent while driving.

Q:I'd like to know if any teachers or counselors actually DO caution kids about any of these subjects.ear old son.
19 year old son: Oh yeah. But people don't really care.

Q: Have they been informed about the statistics of kids killed while texting and driving?
19 year old son: Maybe. Our generation is bombarded with statistics though. I'm sure most of us have heard it but couldn't tell you a number anywhere near the correct statistic.

Q: And what about sexting? Do they know the laws on that, and consequences should those laws be broken?
19 year old son: No. I didn't know it was illegal. I just thought it was perverse.

Bullying
Q: How do you define bullying when it comes to texting or other social media? Have you ever encountered any texts that you perceived as an attempt to bully or pressure you in some way?

16 year old son: Bullying while texting would be sending slurs or insults--the same sort of bullying happens online. I haven't encountered text-bullying, and I haven't heard about it from others.

Q: I would love if you could ask your kids if they have ever been bullied through a text message or know anyone who has? I've heard that this is getting more prevalent (the bully doesn't even need to face the person that they are attacking) and I would love to know if they have any advice for teens who find themselves being bullied by text.
19 year old daughter:I don't recall ever being bullied, but I didn't start texting until I was 18, and I'd like to think that by that age, most bullies have grown up a little. My best advice is just to ignore it because if the bully doesn't get the satisfaction of you reacting, he/she will most likely give it a rest.
13 year old son:I personally haven't, nor do I know anyone who has.

Q: Ask your 13 and 16 year-olds if bullying by text is an issue at their schools. If it is, what has the school done about it?
13 year old son: I don't think it is. The school has a very active anti cyber-bullying program and I think that helps prevent Students bullying by text. Also, people can't bully you if you don't give them your number

Texting in school
Q: Are kids texting in school to cheat on tests?
16 year old son:Yes, often. I've heard about students using a couple methods. First, some students send each other information about questions by using a phone under their desks or asking to be excused and texting in the hall. Secondly, it is possible to text Google or other online services a question and receive the answer within moments; from what I've heard, this is especially useful during vocabulary or math tests.

Q: How strict are the teachers about kids accessing their cell phones during class or between classes, and do kids sneak texts in anyway?
19 year old daughter:It depends on the teacher. I have one who will take a letter grade off your final grade if you text. It still happens, though.
13 year old son:
There's a school-wide policy that you cannot have you phone out during the day, but it basically varies by the teacher. Most are pretty strict, but at the very end of the school day some don't care very much if you have it out. People will text during the day at their lockers sometimes. It's obvious when the girls are texting down in their purses.

Have you had a conversation with your kids (or nephews/nieces, grandchildren) about texting, sexting and safety? BlogHer is matching LG’s donation of .50 to dosomething.org for every comment on this post, so please tell me about your conversation with your kids in the comments. Or if you haven’t had the conversation yet, what’s holding you back? Maybe another reader will have the perfect suggestion for how you can get your conversation going. It’s important for all our families, and dosomething.org will get a $1.00 for every comment, question or suggestion.

In addition, each comment left on this post will be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to the merchandiser of your choice. I will draw the winner from the comments on this post as well as the previous post using random.org or Monday, November 29. So, let's keep the discussion going.


(I added the comments on this post to the previous post and then allowed random.org to select our winner for the gift certificate. Comment #13 on the previous post, Fragrant Liar, is the lucky winner. The giveaway is now closed but please continue to leave me your comments and insights.)

47 comments:

Pricilla said...

I think the comment I found most horrifying and most sad is that there are teachers that don't care if the students are cheating.

one frugal lady said...

My kids are quite a bit younger, but while a teenage relative stays with us for months a time, we had to have this conversation before. Teens do live in the moment, usually not thinking about future consequences, but giving them a glimpse of what could happen is great- and I think that me being an "outsider" and not her parent, she responded better.

CailinMarie said...

A.) thanks to your kids. As mom to much younger kids this is a very helpful starting point.
B.) I personally feel that "texting" is just technology getting blamed for something else. There are way too many people in my opinion who will not simply step back and look at their kid for a minute. Are they putting so much pressure on their child to get a certain grade that the kid feels the need to text google during a test? Have they ignored their child's insecurity to the point that they will get into a car with a driver who is texting, calling, drinking, on pot? It is just one more thing that can either be a tool or a problem and I think it really depends on the kid. Whether or not you can do anything about it depends on the relationship you've built with your kid.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Great to hear your kids answers. Glad to hear sexting is not as common as the news makes it appear. Sad about all the cheating in school though.

Lisa said...

I think that was a very good topic to write about. It is concerning that teachers I know say there really isnt they can do about the cheating. It is amazing to be how much times have changed. You raised great kids to be honest about this.

lisa.mcgeen@Hotmail.com

Mama Zen said...

I'm really glad that sexting is not as common as the media has led me to believe!

Bargain is the New Black Gal said...

I have talked to my niece about it since she's in High School and I am mortified by what the kids are doing these days when it comes to taking photos of themselves and bragging about sexual encounters!

Kristy said...

I think it's very sad for teachers to think that there is nothing they can do about this cheating.

Becca said...

*sigh* my poor kids. My oldest (a high school sophomore) may be the only kid her age in the known universe without a cell. It's not in the budget. Which is too bad, because it would be convenient for me if she had one (but okay, too - because everyone else has one!) But not having one has its uses. We have been able to set some very complete rules about how the phone will be used (and not be used) when the happy day arrives. Like, the phone will sleep in Mom's room from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am. And I love, love the rule about not using the cell when company is present. How mannerly!

Also, my kids' high school is new, and somehow it was constructed to block cell signals (which is a pain for the teachers, but cuts way down on the cheating and other distraction business). So we have a good thing going when my poor kid finally gets that particular hearts' desire.

shelbers434 said...

thank you for your kid's answers this helps me out alot since i have a young son, I am amazed by some of the answers and how things happen without thought because its mostly in the moment
snugles4433@Hotmail.com

Lourie said...

My daughter was getting harassed by a so called friend last April. (she is now 13) It was getting out of control. My daughter was literally sick over it. She missed school. I am fortunate in that I know a cop. I went to him with the whole sordid story and he told me she was doing the right thing by not responding and I was doing the right thing by telling her to keep those messages(at the time) He then advised us to change her number and instruct her to be very selective about who she gives it too. We have been very lucky ever since. The texts of course stopped and nothing more ever came of it. This was a fantastic post. I loved hearing from your kids.

Mandy Kauffman said...

I am only now just starting my family, so this hasn't come up yet for us since our children are still very little. I am nonetheless concerned about this issue. I'll definitely be sure to read up on this to know when the time is right to bring up this subject to my kids! It's good to read the comments here to see the types of things that can happen, and how to deal with them.

amanda_l_peters@hotmail.com

Grace Matthews said...

My oldest son knows that his cell phone is not allowed out at school. He also knows that I can check is usage online so I can see if he is using it during schoolhours. My son is still only 13 years old so it hasn't become too much of a problem yet.

giveawayswithgrace(at)yahoo(dot)com

carma said...

My son has a crappy phone - one of those Net 10 prepaids - so he is rarely on it except when he needs to reach me, which is fine; he is a man of few words :D

You've got a smart 13 year old not giving out phone number to potentially annoying people :D

Angela said...

My kids are too young yet for phones but this and online activity such as Facebook are concerns I have for the future. I am a school counselor and see how much young adolescents are consumed by technology via cell phones and computers. It's important to talk to kids about the risks and caution they should practice yet I think it is important to encourage open communication, so they feel confident that they can come to you to talk about any situation that may come up because we can't prevent the world from touching our kid's lives!
veniceangel@hotmail.com

Debbie said...

My son isn't quite at the age where he wants a cell phone, but it sounds like that age will come around sooner than I thought. Yikes! I can only imagine the bills...

Lara said...

You have great kids. And what they say gives me a lot of hope for when mine are phone age, which isn't much longer for my oldest.

I have thought a lot about whether I will allow texting on their phones when they have them, still don't know, but your kids have given me good things to think about.

Thanks!

Nancy said...

Good read! I think if you are a responsible parent, you will have responsible kids. My oldest daghter got a cell phone at age 12 and has never abused it. In fact...she forgets to charge it so often her friends are annoyed, LOL She says she would rather talk in person and not be bothered by texting.

Nancy said...

I forgot to mention my daughter is now 16 and a half, she gets only a dozen or so texts a day from those die hard friends that keep hoping and praying she charged her phone...and occasionally me when I will be late picking her up!!

Alicia C. said...

My son is in 8th grade. I bought him a pre-paid cell for his birthday this year, mainly so I could keep in touch with him while he was out and about. He spent a couple of weeks with my mother over summer vacation and he "met" a girl from Las Vegas online. They began texting each other. By the time he got home, she was asking him for money so she could run away from home and come meet him. I am glad to have found out when I did. Although we've had conversations about being safe online and texting, I don't think he thought it could happen to him. Since then, we talk about this kind of stuff on a regular basis and I check his phone and online activity every couple of days, too.

ohmiss14(at)yahoo.com

Angelene said...

I really liked reading all of the questions and comments. I got some really good ideas on what to talk to my kids about texting.

Baby Mama said...

My kids are too young to text right now but now I have some good ideas about what to talk about
sarahlovesvegas@hotmail

Giant Sis said...

It was interesting to read the questions and answers here. I don't have kids, so some of those questions never entered my mind! And to read their responses was definitely enlightening!
wilburnnewsome atyahoodotcom

Charlene said...

My daughter is only 11 and some of her friends already have phones. Personally I just don't see the need for it until they are of driving age. But we will see!

Best,
Charlene (from Relax & Surf hop)
www.beamingbalance.com

shirley said...

The kids do not have phones yet, but I am so happy I read all of this, I learned so much. We will be having talks, and when They get phones I think I will start with no texting, for awhile.

Rosanova Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesley Mitchell said...

We have decided to not let our children have cell phones at all.
lesleymitchell52@yahoo.com

Rosanova Family said...

oops, forgot to put our e-mail:
rosanova_family@comcast.net

We have had the talk, and have decided that our kids do not need to be texting.

Cindy said...

My oldest is ten and does have a cell phone with texting, but he only has the phone number of one friend - so this hasn't become an issue for us yet. I'm honestly not sure what kind of rules we'll put in place as he gets older. This post was very eye-opening, though. I was a little shocked to see that your 16-year-old said that cell phones have saturated his generation. Wow! I honestly didn't know they were that pervasive.

cindy at fencedinfamily dot com

Lorna said...

My kids and I are avid texters. I have a daughter who is on the road all over the country and it's how we have conversations. My kids are careful not to text during class (I hope). The cheating is disheartening, and probably indicative of drive to succeed at any cost, and an increasing lack of ethics rampant in our world today.

scarter305 said...

I dont have kids that are texting but I am shocked by what is allowed to happen in the classrooms. We werent even allowed to have backpacks, notebooks or anything else in our classroom during tests. The cheating is sad.

scarter305 at aol dot com

Deanna said...

What amazes me the most is sexting. First, I was not allowed to have a pager back in my school days until I was almost 17 years old. Furthermore I cannot imagine sending pics of my self or receiving them. I was into boys, but really wasn't thinking about going all the way around that time.

Everything is so forward and fast these days. Hope we can educate our children so they know how to handle these situations. I won't have teens for about 10 years pray for me!

Oh yea, the cheating is HS really sucks.

Tabathia said...

I always talk to my kids about the trends that go on with teens and teach them to be leaders instead of followers and the merits and morality of what's going on and how bad decisions follow you
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

RaettigFamily said...

I've heard about text bullying before and know some kids that have experienced. They get to the point to where they are scared to even carry their phone with them because of the messages that they may receive!

Shelley said...

They have to realize it is a permanent record & sometimes things can be misconstrued in a text. Very dangerous. Someone asked my daughter if she knew where they could find "something". She didn't even know who it came from or what they wanted--great thing to have on her phone. (She's 21). She was not happy.
Thanks mrspoofa(at)aol.com

Tammigirl said...

My kids are in high school and college. There is no texting and driving and I discourage them from using the phone at all when they are on the road.

It's not worth the risk of hurting or killing yourself or someone else over something as trivial as an LOL.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

these were very interesting, thanks for sharing your children's replies. I don't have kids of my own, as I'm actually not that older than your 19 year old. However, I know that texting in class was really common in my school but if you got caught, some teachers were more stricter about it.

-Lauren

Martha (MM) said...

I love this post and plan to ask my own children all of these questions - I have a 23 year old in college, a high school junior and an 8th grader. I think I know their answers but after reading this I think it's worth taking the time to ask the questions instead of just assuming!

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Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

This was very interesting. I have a teenager and a 20 year old and I find it rather sad that they rarely speak directly to their friends any more.

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