How Texting Is Ruining My Daughter’s Life

Like any self-respecting Philly teenager, she'd rather text than talk. To which I say: WTF?

I’m old. Not rocking chair, walked 3 miles to school in 8 feet of snow, only listens to Frank Sinatra kind of old, but old for the texting generation. In fact, I just started texting about a year ago and then only because my daughter refuses to answer the phone. She, and all her friends, will only text. Why? I can’t figure it out. My guess is it’s the only way to communicate during the day because, as we all know, cell phones are not allowed in school during school hours. Yeah, right.

How is it that educators don’t realize that all their students are not, in fact, staring down at hands folded neatly in their laps? Take a look at any teenager in a restaurant. Their gaze alternates between a quick glance up at the annoying parents who “just won’t stop talking” (please read that phrase with the last syllable ascending — a question — there’s no such thing as a declarative sentence in teen-speak) and their cell phone nestled safely below the table out of sight. The same cell phone that has become an appendage, a vital organ. More important than a kidney.

But what’s really going on with all this texting? Communication? For sure. Quick, easy and efficient communication, as in, “Pick me up at school at 4:30.” Well, actually, that would read more like “pic up@430” and despite all the misspellings and acronyms and butchered language, that text would certainly serve the definition of communication. My daughter’s generation, however, has become completely reliant on texting as their primary form of social communication. Here’s where things get dangerous. [SIGNUP]

How has all this texting impacted my daughter and an entire generation of techno-savvy teenagers? They’ve learned from the cell-phone-under-the-desk secret op that if you can get away with it you should; damn the rules. They’re robbing themselves of any practical development of intimacy. I don’t mean between-the-sheets kind of intimacy but, rather, the tone and flow of real conversation. How can you glean anyone’s real intent or mood through text? It’s not even written word, just a jumble of misspelled words and acronyms. And how ‘bout those acronyms! I get LOL and IDK and the obvious WTF, but after that I just don’t have a clue. What’s wrong with typing out the whole word? I mean, let’s face it, their thumbs are moving across the keyboard at warp speed; how much time are they saving by typing u instead of you?

They play out all emotions with letters and numbers. Arguments and moments of joy, discourse and expressions of happiness are all reduced to characters on a keyboard. They break-up and make-up via text. How sad. The cell phone is everything. They sleep with it, secretly squirreled away beneath the pillow just in case it buzzes in the middle of the night and someone needs to “talk.” Talk? It’s a constant tether to the hundreds of people programmed inside. Those people take precedence over everyone else; if the obnoxious rap music sounds alerting them that a text has arrived, these kids will snatch it up like a dingo on a baby, no matter whose company they’re in. It’s rude.

My daughter, I suppose, likes it that way; no alone time, no down time with only her thoughts and daydreams, no real personal interaction. I’d like to discuss these concerns with her but, at the rate my thumbs can text, it would take too long.