Honestly – does your teen text you from inside the house? And if they do – do you text back? What is happening to the art of conversation? Or at least the ability or desire to converse in person?
It’s an interesting phenomenon if you step back and look at it. When cell phones allowed us to go mobile, and speak to whomever whenever we wanted to, Americans thought that was amazing. I called my mom much more often, and it made long commutes in California traffic so much more interesting.
We no longer had to wait by the phone for that special someone to call – whether it was the repairperson or the person we were hoping would fix our relationship status (wait-we didn’t have that term then, either). Cell phones allowed us freedom to communicate all the time.
Then email hit. Suddenly, we didn’t have to wait for business hours to get information-we could ask questions, register complaints or schedule appointments at our convenience. We could break up, make up, or shake up relationships at all hours, and we could do it in the glorious isolation of our homes. No longer could the recipient hear the quiver in our voice, or the howl of pain, or the venom that we felt. All communication was one way, and we had time to think of a witty response.
With texting, a hybrid of phone and email caught on quickly with kids, not so fast with adults. I started texting because I wanted to communicate with my daughter, and since she had quickly deemed email too slow, and phone calls were nonexistent, texting was a perfect option to still communicate with her, and no one needed to know she was talking with her mom.
Her texts are often one to four word responses to my questions, but at least she’s answering, right? She texts me where she’s going, who she is with, and when she wants me to remember to deposit her allowance in her checking account. I get a text when she leaves a textbook at home, or after a particularly tough test at school. Just this morning I awoke to a text from my daughter. Away at summer camp, I guess she misses me?
So when she’s in her room and wants to know what’s for dinner, I get a text. I’ll admit-it kind of bugs me. Why can’t she get off her seat and come ask me? Is she really studying that intently, or is Facebook that alluring? Or am I just being old fashioned? Is this the way my grandparents felt when my mom stopped writing them letters from camp and called instead?
I’m beginning to think it’s a losing battle--texting is here to stay. And I’ll secretly admit it--I occasionally enjoy texting her from upstairs to remind her to do her chores.
Two can play at this game :)