“Hypertexting” Teens Need Limits

Article first published as “Hypertexting” Teens Need Limits on Technorati.
It seems that most kids have cell phones these days and that most of these phones have the capability to access the Internet. As a matter of fact – 17 million teens have a cell phone. Is this something that is good or bad? Necessary or not? texting

My two oldest children, who are 14 and 11, both have cell phones with complete access to texting, the Internet, and plain old voice calling. With them in high school and middle school and being involved in various activities in and out of school I feel that they need a way to contact there their dad or me.

Last month my oldest sent near 16,000 text messages which breaks down to about 500 a day. I wasn’t really surprised because she is never without her phone and is always talking (texting) to someone.

According to a new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine this is hypertexting and this is defined as sending more than 120 messages per school day. Based on this study my daughter is a hypertexter.

The study goes on to list all of the dangerous effects that are reported from hypertexting. Now, I have read through this list of side effects and I do not believe that I need to worry. This is not to say that these are not simple things to blow off. They are very significant things like sex, drugs, alcohol, and fighting to name a few.

Here is why I am not overly concerned. We have limits for the phones. They cannot use them at dinner and they have to turn them off by 9pm. If I ask to see one of their phones they have to hand it over and I have read various text conversations and then spoken to them about it. There is complete accountability.

I feel that I am an involved parent. I know who my kids are with at all times, where they are going, and what they are supposed to be doing.

I trust them and until they do something to break that trust things will remain the same. That is one of the most important things for a parent to do. Trust your children and keep building the trust and your relationship with them. Talk with them openly about what you expect from them and how and what a cell phone is used for.