I love you, now do your homework :-) [telecom]

I love you, now do your homework :)

Sure, texting can be a way for teens to distance themselves from their parents. But it may also open a window to better communication.

By Kate Tuttle, Globe Staff | September 11, 2010

If teens want to talk to each other, they text. And text.

A Pew Research Center survey reported earlier this year that text messaging has eclipsed phone calls and e-mail as the primary way that teenagers communicate with one another. Adults, increasingly, are in on it, too, according to a new Pew survey, with 72 percent now sending and receiving texts, compared to just 65 percent last year.

Parenting in the texting age raises a number of vexing questions: Should parents text their teens, whether to nudge them out of bed in the morning or check in on their homework progress in the evening? Can teenagers open up about things more easily via text than in face-to-face conversations? Can anyone over 40 really read those tiny letters without squinting (or reading glasses)?

The answers, in my house anyway, are yes, yes, and not me.

My 17-year-old daughter, Addie, and I text several times a day, on topics ranging from the logistical (Me: "Did you remember to pack your tennis racket?'' Addie: "Yes, and can we pleeeeaaasssee go to cvs after school? I need makeup!'') to the profound ("Me: I'm sorry I yelled at you.'' Addie: "Me too'').

On the logistical stuff, we've got company.

Bethany Allen, 39, a mother of three in Belmont, says she and her teens text each other "constantly,'' mostly to check in and report on

- as she says - stuff like, "Oh, this happened at school, or I got this grade on a test.'' For Allen, texting is a way to keep in touch, a technology she appreciates. "I just feel like I'm always in the loop. Literally, we text more than we talk,'' she says. "If anything, it's brought us closer together.''

Dr. Laura Prager, a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and mother of two teenagers, texts with her kids. It's a method she adopted when her older child, a son now in college, went through a phase of not answering her phone calls. "But if I texted him,'' she says, "he answered me right away.''

For a teenager who's out and about, at school or sports practice, texting is infinitely preferable to fielding phone calls from mom, especially in front of peers, Prager points out.


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