Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
Listen up, parents. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that one third of U.S. teens send more than 100 texts a day.
100 texts a day.
What do you do 100 times a day? Breathe? Smile? Speak? Pray?
I’m not sure.
But as a parent, I do worry about the phenomenon of texting and its prominent place in teen culture.
On the one hand, I completely understand its popularity. When I think about what my high school friends and I would have done if we had access to a private means of instant communication 24 hours a day, I know that we would have been using it. A lot. But when I think about the kinds of things we would have shared and said through that means of communication, I worry. A lot.
I’m not one of those grown ups who wrings her hands over the lost art of written communication (Though I do have a brother who teaches high school and he assures me that he regularly receives written assignments in “text.”)
But I worry about the power of this kind of instant, public, always-available communication in the hands of young people who lack the maturity to recognize its dangers and limitations.
Many cases of cyber and cell phone bullying have made headlines in recent years, and some of them are unbelievably tragic.
I certainly am not saying teens should not have access to texting, but I am saying that parents need to set rules and limitations for its use. Should teens be taking their cell phones into classrooms? Into their bedrooms? To the dinner table?
Anything a teen does 100 times a day is going to form a habit, for good or for bad. I hope that parents will pay attention to the powerful influence of texting in their teens lives.
Your kids are saying something.
r u listning?