Published October 5, 2012
(In response to last week’s column)
The consensus of whether or not adults should learn the ways of new technology is — yes, with some exceptions. Most readers said they didn’t want to be bothered with learning the digital ways, but they didn’t want to be left behind, either. Suggestions were to just keep up with the basics even if it’s just once a day. You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Let your finger’s do the talking?
As a continuation of last week’s column, I’d like to discuss texting and how teens may be using it as a way to avoid live social interaction.
When I was in high school and I wanted to have a discussion with a friend, I picked up the phone with the long spirally cord and had a conversation with that person. There were no misinterpretations as to the intent of my call. If I was sad, they knew it and if I was mad they knew that, too. Yes, those were the good old days of communication.
I am currently trying to teach my children how to communicate with people and I’m finding it quite difficult, when the only form of communication that seems to be acceptable is texting. I have to admit that I do prefer a quick text now and then, as opposed to an hour-long conversation, especially when I only need a yes or no answer. However, when there’s more to a conversation than a simple yes or no, a lot can be misinterpreted.
My daughter swears that she can tell if her friend is mad at her by the way she texts. For example, she asked a friend if she was going to the game with her and she simply replied, “No.“ My daughter immediately says, “OMG, she’s mad at me for something.”
My response is “call her and ask her if she’s mad and if so, ask why.” You would have thought I told her to shave her head bald. “No way,” she said as if I were an idiot for suggesting it, along with my favorite — the roll of the eyes.
God forbid I had suggested she actually call her house. That is an absolute no-no. In fact, I don’t think she even knows her best friend’s home phone number.
I do catch myself texting them to keep track of their whereabouts. This also is quite amusing when I get one vague word as an answer. “Are you coming home soon?”, I text. “No,” I get as a reply.
“When are you coming home?” I calmly type. “Idk” she gives me, which as most of you know, means I don’t know. I’m losing my patience and now I‘m rolling my eyes. I ask her “what time will you be home and who are you with?” She briefly replies, “friends.”
I’m now done with this aggravating back and forth, get-nowhere conversation, so I call her. As soon as she answers her cell phone, I start barking at her because I am so annoyed and she has absolutely no comprehension as to why. After I finish with my three-minute rant and rave she has the audacity to say to me, “Now do you see why I always text you? Because you yell at me all the time.”
I can’t even argue with her at that point. I just have to accept defeat and scream into my pillow.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to jump onto this new wave of communication. As a parent, should I insist on them using their vocal chords or leave them alone? I try to pick my battles, and this seems to be a losing one.
Just asking ...