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Text etiquette & netiquette

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Teens_Text_Etiquette

Our children are being raised in a world where online communication is replacing face to face time & we need to remember to model good communication.

As this article was being put together, I received a call from my daughter’s 9th grade teacher… “We just wanted to let you know that we took your daughter’s phone today because she was texting during class.” We of course have gone over our expectations about common courtesy when it comes to being on their phones and had our daughters sign a contract. And although I know she will have plenty of excuses, we get to enforce that contract when she gets home!

Technology is changing the rules of etiquette since the way we communicate is different than when Emily Post first wrote her book. Our kids learn manners first by the examples we set for them including our use of cell phones and how we communicate with others.

Texting is fun, convenient and easy! I love texting. I love sending pictures. I love keeping in touch with friends easily. I love that a short question can stay a short question, not a long conversation. Text messaging however shouldn’t take the place of one-on-one interaction with friends. There is no replacement for one-on-one time with friends.

Our children are being raised in a world where online communication is replacing face to face time as parents we need to remember to model good communication. Below are a few guidelines to consider when it comes to texting and email…

  • Texting is not a less-rude alternative to taking a call. In other words, if it would be rude to answer the phone (while at dinner, in a movie, at school), it is also rude to text. Excuse yourself while you send or receive it, and keep it brief. Let the person on the other end know that you’re unavailable so they won’t be left hanging either.
  • A word to the wise for those with autocorrect (a feature on many smart phones that automatically spell checks and corrects): Check before you send! Did you know that “we’re going to Disneyland” can autocorrect to “we’re going to divorce’’? Yes, please check your message.
  • Text messages should be kept short and to the point. If a “conversation” goes on for more than a few minutes,it is more effective to pick up the phone to continue the conversation.
  • Abbreviate sparingly. Most phones are so text-friendly that abbreviations are no longer necessary. Whenever possible, write out words in their entirety to ensure that your message gets across.
  • Text messages can be misunderstood because the recipient of the message can’t see the sender’s facial expressions or hear her tone of voice. Jokes and sarcastic comments may cause hard feelings if they’re passed along in a text message.It is easy to misinterpret tone of voice on a text (or instant message or email). How well does the other person know your sense of humor? Will they understand your sarcasm?
  • Don’t work out relationships through texts or emails. Refrain from texting a friend when you are in a disagreement or are angry with one another. Calm down then consider working your disagreement out over the phone or in person.
  • Be responsible for what you text to other people. Refrain from gossip and being unkind.
  • As a family, set boundaries about texting. Decide when and where it is appropriate. Can you text at the table? During homework? Is texting about homework alright? Be willing to talk through multiple scenarios, always keeping the big picture in mind (for example, how is this effecting our time as a family?). Be clear and consistent.
  • When texting someone for the first time, remember to introduce yourself. This is also important if children are texting on someone else’s phone. A simple “hi, this is Ella (Karen’s daughter)” can prevent a case of mistaken identity.
November 16, 2014

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