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Why You Need to Learn to Talk in 140 Characters or Less

Why You Need to Learn to Talk in 140 Characters or Less

My teenage daughter has a cell phone, but she doesn’t answer it when it rings. Like most kids her age, she prefers texting as a means of communication. This drives me crazy but, like many Circle of Moms members, I’ve come to accept that if I’m going to start a conversation with my kid, I have to learn to talk with my thumbs.

Apparently I shouldn’t take it personally. According to a study (Teens, Smartphones and Texting) from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, texting has surpassed talking on the phone as a way of communication for teenagers. In fact, it’s the only form of communication teens use that’s shown an increase in usage. 

It didn’t surprise me that talking on the phone was slowing down, but I was surprised to find that even email and instant messaging are declining, too. Teens in the study revealed that they prefer text messaging as their dominant daily mode of communication, not just with their friends, but with everyone in their lives.

The Unexpected Benefit of Texting Your Teen

Teens are rarely known for their loquaciousness, and as Circle of Moms member Ashley T. points out, they don’t really want their friends to know they’re talking to mom and dad. Texting gives them a way to communicate with you without being teased about it. Mom Karla C. corroborates this:

"My kids will openly text me something that they may hesitate telling me face to face. I think it helps them communicate tough situations easier," she shares.

Pam L. says her daughter also pays more attention and seems to open up more when she texts. That’s true with my daughter as well. In person I might get a shrug and on the phone I might get a sullen "I dunno," but it’s via text message that she’ll really tell about her thoughts and feelings.


What if You Hate Texting?

As parents of teenagers know, it’s not always easy to get your kids to communicate about at all, let alone about sensitive or tough situations, so maybe it’s worth learning to text if it gets them to talk. But what if, like mom Kristina M., you find yourself "texting challenged," or like Amanda M. you just hate texting?

Circle of Moms member Meriann C. doesn’t think you should resort to texting to get through to your kids. She believes that teens need to develop face-to-face social skills and  as a result, refuses to make texting her primary means of communication with her son.

The good news is that Pew Internet’s research backs up the finding that texting is just one more tool for modern parents to use. Apparently, teens who are heavy texters (exchange more than 100 texts a day) also talk more on their cell phones, too. As strange as it seems, the more your teen texts, the more likely she is to answer her phone, too.

It’s All About Balance

Moms who say they text when they can and call when it’s necessary are on to something. Connie A. uses the same tactic I do: If she has something she needs to say rather than type, she sends a text message asking her kids to call her. She says this protocol expresses mutual respect, and I agree.

It doesn’t mean I enjoy it. It takes me three time longer to text something than to say it and I’m sure I’m constantly using the wrong abbreviations. 

In the end, though, if it will help me develop a better relationship with my teen, I guess I'll just have to lern how 2 tlk lke d teens.

Image Source: Tammy McGary via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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