Teen Spending Too Much Time Sending Text Messages on the Cell Phone
Having a cell phone used to be a luxury. It has gone from being a luxury and a privilege to becoming a necessity and almost a 'right' of sorts. If you deny your teen the use of a cell phone, you can expect them to revolt! Yet, it's disconcerting to watch your teen get text messages at odd times and spend hours talking on the phone. The solution is clearly not the cut off their cell phone usage. Giving them a cell phone also helps parents reach them when they want to, confirm that they're safe and with GPS tracking technology even know their exact location at a given time. This can be especially useful in an emergency.
Cell phones let teens download music from anywhere; transfer music files from the computer, download ring tones, even chat online and interact with complete strangers, befriending them in the process. Not all of these are facts a parent would be comfortable with.
Cell phone text messaging is something that lets teen stay in touch with each other, belong to a peer group and gain acceptance among their friends. There are lots of abbreviations used when messaging on the phone, some of which would have seniors scratching their heads. Most teens are possessive about the cell phones and it's hard to get a hold of the messages that go to and from the phones. There are several concerns around kids and teens text messaging from the point of view of parents. For one, they could be interacting with near-strangers using chat that is a common feature with most cell-phone providers. There's also that some teens will text message during class, when doing homework or during study period and classes. This would clearly affect their academic performance and needs to be discouraged.
Text messages are usually made of short abbreviated words. 'You' is substituted with 'u', 'tomorrow' becomes '2mrw' and 'great' becomes 'gr8'. All of this can corrupt your child's language and learning ability. Teens are known to use these abbreviations in their class tests and then get low marks as a result. You could walk into a book store these days and ask for someone to search for a book only to find them type SMS texts instead of Queen's English until you correct them. SMS text lingo has become so ingrained in the lives of the youth. We also use spell-check a lot when we use MS Word or any major word processor and dependence on automated programs to check spellings makes one lethargic in remembering how a certain word is spelt.
With cell phones, technology, television, the internet and computer games, more and more teens are being reported to have shorter attention spans. Many of them are suffering from attention deficit disorder. Text messaging also offers an escape from the present situation. At a social event or a gathering some teens would prefer to message their friends than socialize and meet new people. This can, in a worst case scenario, make the person socially inept and unable to interact with new people.
Text messaging is about short bursts of communication. Going too far, it may impair the ability of a teen to think. Text messaging has several uses. It can be used for reaching out in situations where a voice call is not possible, when you're concerned about intruding the other person's space or when you think the person you're messaging may be too busy to take a call. Text messaging can also raise phone bills substantially if your teen is hooked to it and sends dozens of text messages a day. The real concern however remains of the influences people on the other end have over your teens. In the days gone by, when your teens were with you, you knew you could influence them while they were away from their friends. Now they're connected to their friends with cell phones even when they're not at the same place. There are ways to monitor text messages on the cell phone of a person.
The obvious way is to get the bill with detailed usage summary. If you're not getting this already, your cell phone service provider will usually provide you a list of the numbers to which calls were made and messages were sent and also the numbers from which calls and messages were received. There are also software that will help you record voice conversations and get a copy of the text messages but that would be a violation of their space and if you were found out, it would break down the trust between parent and child, a very important factor in the growing up years.