Jun 9, 2009

Only Thirty Days.

I know hate is a strong word. I know some of you try to teach your kids not to say hate. But I love the word. It helps me to express how I feel about certain things. And today it is going to help me express how I feel about texting. Now remember I am not into having the latest technology craze. Remember I have a dial up modem and even a phone that...gasp...still has a cord :) Remember I often have to ask my kids questions about how to do certain things on the computer. Also remember I have only been in a cell phone store of any kind 3 times in my life. So my opinion will probably not count for much but I have to talk about it regardless because it is really bothering me.

For at least a year Madeline has been asking for texting. It was ALL that was on her Christmas list it was ALL that was on her birthday list it was ALL she ever talked about. I knew I would never, ever cave on the texting issue. I love it when you know you are strong in your belief and you know without a doubt that you will never cave and ALL the begging, bribing, promises and wheedling go in one ear and out the other. I was so thrilled when I discovered I was SO strong that I could tune out all texting related conversations in our home very effectively. I mean you can rarely use the words strong and Jennifer in the same sentence. But in all my, "I am so strong talk" I did forget one small detail, communicating with the husband about the being strong thing.

So last week Brian J Baird caved and got the kids texting. The kids are paying for it. But they do not care about that they are too busy worshipping their dad. He says it is only for a thirty day trial so I am interested to see how everyone feels when in thirty days I insist on the texting ending.

I have always been a little curious if all my strong reasons for not wanting texting really would come true so I have been watching very curiously to see how the children handle texting. Some of my reasons for not wanting it were that:

It makes it so you can communicate with someone when you should be doing something else....like listening. I have two boys who often texted in Seminary thinking I did not see them. I have already seen my girls texting in places they should not be texting but instead should be listening and verbally communicating with people around them.
It encourages sneakiness. Because you are trying to communicate with someone when you know you should not be.
It makes it so you do not have to talk to anyone.

I found out that the first text message was sent in 1989 from New York City to Melbourne Beach Florida. But texting did not really take off until many, many years after that. By 2006 72% of Finland, Norway and Sweden texted. For Europeans it was 85%. For North Americans it was closing in on 40% by the end of 2006. The numbers were staggering about how many texts are sent in a month and so much more but I think the thing that clinched it for me and strengthened my resolve to make sure texting leaves the Baird house were several studies that compared the addictiveness of texting to the addictiveness of cigarette smoking.

I know oh so many people that do not agree with me on this subject but I strangely can not back down on my feelings about texting. I have never seen it used considerately. The only time I ever thought texting would be useful was when Madeline was at a concert and I needed to be able to find out where to meet her but it was too loud at the concert to call her and be able to hear her. But it worked out anyway and we found each other and she made it home so that she could beg for three more long years after that to get texting :)
So how does texting enrich your life? :)


Rebecca S. said...

I hate texting as well. I read that kids who text start writing school papers in text "language". If you need some fire power, check out the New Era August 2007 article "Keep Texting from Taking Over". The article does mention some positive aspects of texting, but I am still adamant against it.

Anne Marie said...

I agree with you on texting. I do not have children old enough to own cell phones, let alone text. But, I do think there's this major ADD that we're creating in our society with all these different forms of communication crowding into all hours of our day. The other day, I was with someone in a meeting, and she was texting someone while talking to us. I understand that sometimes there might be things that need attention right away, but it just feels strange to have someone so distracted right there in front of me. And, I think there is something valuable about talking face to face to people, and maybe texting takes away from that. Good luck figuring that one out! I'm not looking forward to these battles.

Joan said...

OK...differing opinion here. I LOVE texting. I love sending and receiving succinct messages to/from my children communicating where they are and what time they will be home or where to pick them up. I love getting a quick pick-me-up from my far-away sister or a picture message to brighten my day.

I have one friend who once you get on the phone with her, you cannot get off, and I end up in 2 hour conversations with her, but now we text, and we can say everything we need to say much more quickly. We both agree it is a better way for us to communicate.

To me texting is basically mobile e-mail...and I'm guessing you haters don't have the same issues with e-mail. So there you have it...my reasons for loving texting.

Having said that, I do think that teenagers should be expected to be courteous and responsible with their texting habits...no texting in church or school, and ABSOLUTELY NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING!!

Brianne said...

I agree...I hate texting too. I have a friend who is constantly texting while she is talking to me, it drives me nuts! I'm really hoping that by the time my children are teenagers it won't be cool to text anymore...I'm hoping it will be cool to just stay home with your parents and be a straight arrow. I should probably keep dreaming though : )

Annie said...

The only time we've used it is when Man receives a text from a Sergeant who needed to get a message to a lot of people very quickly. They can send one message to an entire phone list and then everyone will have it within seconds. Sometimes those seconds count.

On the other hand, I've never used them in my personal life. The only time I've observed them being used was by a sister in law who was being courted by a boyfriend. They texted dozens if not hundreds of times a day and the phone bill was sickening.

I agree that phones, email, texting, are all ways to communicate essential information very quickly but can wreck our understanding and cultivation of the relationships that matter so much more than the addictive instant gratification of cell phones.

They are tools, not a lifestyle.

btw, the sister in law's marriage isn't so great. I blame their courtship MO.

Topher said...

Funny you should post this now. I just learned how to text this week. I've resisted like the plague for all the same reasons you mention. I can see situations where I'll be able to use it as mobile email as someone mentioned, but not as a form of social communication. That's why we have mouths and ears, I say. That's not the reason God gave us thumbs.

I have a prepaid cellphone, so I've already paid for the units it uses to send a text so I think that'll help limit the use. My boys (8, 6, and 4) asked if they could have cell phones, to which I just laughed and said "you'all crazy, yo!" I'm sure by the time they're old enough, texting will be as outdated as putting notes in lockers is now and it'll be the next new thing. Either way, if they pay for it, I'll consider it.

JENNIFER said...

you guys are all awesome thanks for all the comments...I love all your opinions:)

Ackerman/Mejias Family said...

Well, I agree with you! Gage did tell me the other day that Miriam did finally get texting. She was the example I would use to let my kids know that they were not "the only kids in the world who did not have texting." I guess now they are the only ones! But that's okay, at least I'm not the only one who has strong opinions against texting!!! Thanks for sharing!

Maddilyn said...

I don't apppreciate you approaching this trial with such a negative attitude. Texting has done this family a lot of good!

Zac-ShaunaFamily said...

I don't have it and don't want it. I am with you on this one.

Kristy said...

I absolutely ADORE texting. Don't knock it till you try it, Jenn woman! ;)

Like anything (such as cell phone usage), there are going to be those who have poor texting etiquette. But just because other people are rude texters doesn't mean that you or your kids have to be. In fact, you could be the good examples of polite texters.

Texting is efficient and fun, when used appropriately, and Christopher knows that "text talk" isn't allowed in any other form of written communication, including e-mail.

So give it a whirl, why don'tcha? Send me a text!


The Braun Family said...

There was a great article in the Church News back in May by Elder Bednar about Devices that distract. I'm hoping to use it in a future BYD. I'm totally with you! Nothing bugs me more than people texting during church, church activities, or while with other people. So wrong in so many ways.

CJ said...

I love texting and I would not live without it. I hate voice mail though, I just do not like checking it or leaving one. I would much rather prefer a txt msg that says Hey call me when you have a chance. In fact a lot of my friends will just send me a txt msg and ask if I have a minute, is it a good time to talk etc... To me a txt is less intrusive and if I am busy I don't feel a need to run across the house to get to my phone to reply to the txt msg. If the phone is right next to me and I am not busy then I reply. If I am busy then I check it when I can. Like if I am driving then I don't hear the phone ringing and think it might be important like one of my family is in the ER or something. It just makes a little low pitched chime when I get a msg and I can check it when I stop driving or pull over.

I don't know how your cell phone company is but Verizon has lots of parental control features. You can log into your account on their website and set individual controls for each phone and pick phone numbers that are allowed to call the phones and can be called and you can also and I believe you can pick the numbers allowed to txt them too. You can limit the amount of minutes per phone too.

Txting is really no different then blogging or emailing, it is communication. It might not be the kind of communication that you prefer but that is what the Generation Y's prefer and what most of their friends use and if you exclude them from it then you will only be making them feel left out and out of touch with their friends.

Your kids, your life, but if they were my kids they would all have unlimited txting and I would txt them their list of chores for the day, check in on them while they were away or just say "I love you" when I was thinking about them and they were not home. You could use txting to check in with Brian when he is gone too. Jason will send me a txt msg and tell me to log on to msgner so he can talk to me from work. He won't call me from work but he will talk to me in msg all the time.

Kate Challis said...

You know, I didn't know those statistics about Europe and texting, but it makes sense to me. I was in France in 2002-03, and yes, everybody did text. When I was in Jordan (06-07), it was hard to do without texting. Both in France and in Jordan they use primarily pay-as-you-go plans, and texting is MUCH cheaper. There aren't these crazy monthly plans, and to buy a cell phone takes about 2 minutes and doesn't involve shelling out personal information like a social security number. Cell phone use in those places is totally different from here.

Of course, texting is a luxury that people can live without. But I've seen bedouins in the middle of the desert text their families back home in the tents. It's a normal part of their communication culture.

Here, in the US, it's still not quite there, and I don't know if it ever will be. I don't text my husband. We just call each other. I teach middle schoolers, and if I see a cell phone, I confiscate it. Texting in school is a huge, huge problem. Texting in church or seminary is SO INCREDIBLY RUDE.

Sometimes, you must admit, a text is convenient. Like if you're in a movie theater waiting for some people and you don't want to talk to the people you're communicating with, but you want to tell them that you made it and saved them seats in the middle...or when the airlines text you to say that your flight is going to be delayed 30 minutes, or getting lots of texts on your birthday from people who appreciate you. I don't know. I think it just depends. But I absolutely respect your opinion; you are welcome to hate texting as much as you want!