How Text Messaging Is Affecting Communication Between Parents & Children

Text messaging has become an increasingly common method of communication by teenagers today. According to a study called "Teens, Smartphones & Texting" conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, teens are sending out an average of 60 text messages every day 2. The survey reveals that this number has risen from a former 50 text messages in a similar survey taken in 2009. This has also greatly affected how teens communicate with their parents on a day-to-day basis.

Ease of Communication

One of the main benefits to texting is that it provides parents access to their teenagers no matter where they are. Even if they are sitting in a classroom, parents have the ability to leave a silent message that the teen can check later while at lunch or between classes. Text messaging can actually open the lines of communication when teens are out and about with friends and participating in multiple activities 1. Parents can be updated about their children's location and safety at all times, giving them peace of mind and the feeling that they are involved with their child's activities. Bill Ogle, Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung Telecommunications America, states that text messaging "may be a great way for some parents to improve the lines of communication. And with more than a billion text messages now being sent each day, I think we will see this new trend in parent-teen communication continue to grow.”

Frequency of Communication

Texting allows parents to talk to their offspring on a much more regular basis. Before cell phones, communication was extremely limited. Once your teen left the house, there used to be little means of communications except through occasional calls through land lines and pay phones. Texting allows parents to touch base with their children multiple times daily. This ongoing messaging can assist in providing a closeness and caring that may have not possible in years past.

Tone of Voice

Text messaging cannot convey different tones of voice which may be important in sending a heart-felt, descriptive or stern message. The flat language of texts has removed the one-on-one, in-depth talks filled with feeling or emotion that parents may wish to have with their children. Teens who text can avoid the wrath, disappointment or hurt that used to be heard in the voices of their parents in face-to-face or even phone conversations. Messages cannot be conveyed with full impact in text messages unless the language skills of the parents and teens are highly developed and very descriptive.

Decrease in Grammar and Spelling Aptitude

Texting involves the use of abbreviated and chopped words and phrases. This may result in poor written language skills which may frustrate parents who may have been raised with a high emphasis on grammar and writing. Some messages may be undecipherable or unclear as to intent, resulting in confusion or misunderstandings. The clarity of the message may be compromised if the teen does not take the time to write out a message that parents can read and understand.