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#10 - A Baby Boomer Real Story Series about Helicopter Parents -------- by Nancy Geiger

June 21st, 2008
Text or Talk?

Text or Talk?
By Nancy Geiger

Some people seem to think that with all the text messaging and Instant Messaging (IMing) teens do, they are losing their ability to talk!

I recently read that Virgin Mobile is coming out with something called “Switch Back”, kind of a Blackberry with AOL IM. The company’s owner was quoted as saying “We really think that text is the new talk. Apparently 25% of their teen customers text more than talk on their phones.

Not only that; but the author of Parenting the Millennial Generation wrote that teens have the ability to have multiple conversations through multiple technologies. He said, "This generation uses technology to facilitate relationships and interactions in a way other generations never have. They are talking on a cell phone, IMing somebody, playing Xbox and having three or four parallel conversations, while maybe ignoring someone else sitting in the same room.”

Brittany definitely “texts” a lot. In fact she’s gotten her dad into it too. Every night this past school year which ever of the two went to bed first would text the other “I Love U more than anything” …and John saves them all!

One morning this summer I was reading the paper and Brittany picked up John’s phone and started going through the saved messages. At one point she held up a picture of the odometer of her car and said, “I sent dad this when my car hit 15,000 miles!”

She also told me that roommates at school often text each other – while in the same dorm room! Recently I walked in to see Brittany and two girls on the couch watching a movie, all holding their laptops.  They were IMing each other – I asked her later why? She said they didn’t want to talk out loud and interrupt the movie.

But, she is after all a girl. And it is well known that women are relational creatures, happiest sharing with others, and this can’t always be by text messages because some of their friends and relatives (me) don’t text message. So Brittany talks…and talks.

Two of my best friends also have only children, but they each have a boy and they are fascinated by how much Brittany talks. They tell me they get more information out of her in 10 minutes then they get out of their sons in a month.  One day she went out the door on her way to work talking on her phone to a friend in Charlotte and 8 hours later walked back in talking to the same person. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the phone had never been hung up in between.

When Brittany was in 4th grade her class was learning about adjectives. The teacher would call out a student’s name and the others were supposed to raise their hands and give an adjective that described that person. When Brittany’s name was called out, every hand went up. The teacher called on one boy who said, “Talkative.”

Every other hand went down. He had taken their word.

Has Text Messaging Gone Too Far?

Nancy Geiger and her husband are empty nesters with their daughter Brittany (their only child) now a junior at college. When she left home Nancy started writing a monthly column for their local weekly paper about parenting a college student long distance. After 17 years as a travel agent for American Express, Nancy decided to commit herself to freelance writing and starting an online store, 2 blogs, a website and LOTS of volunteering! She even just published a cookbook called A Brides Cookbook or surviving the First Year.

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