LET’S TALK TEXTING
I’m not sure if, like me, you have received completely inappropriate or frustrating texts, and perhaps you have had moments when, like me, you wished you hadn’t typed that response or inadvertently sent that emoji without first thinking things through.
What’s worse is that younger generations now seem to think it’s OK to have an open rant, be abusive on text, or post a “conscious stream of thought” on social media that can be hurtful, not thought through or retrospectively embarrassing. It concerns me that even sometimes there is little regret or acknowledgement that this texting approach to life may have serious consequences on the emotions of those who are targeted or simply reading it!
Communication has taken on new levels of immediacy and also, through texting, has lost some of the essential social filters from years gone by.
So, as I process some of the hurtful and challenging communications I’ve been privy to in recent weeks, it occurred to me that it is possible students have “lost the art” of talking properly to each other and that texting should have some protocols at least to follow. It wasn’t hard to find some and I was encouraged to see a number of common-sense notions that we have been working on as family. I’ve referenced a simple site here and then noted some others at the end. I would encourage all of us to be mindful of our behaviours when texting each other or commenting on social media platforms – our own children learn so quickly from us and our actions!
Appropriate Texting Behaviours
Know when it’s appropriate to send a text.
Spur-of-the-moment texts can be nice, but not at 5am.
Know how what you’re trying to communicate is best sent – text or actual voice call.
If you’re pressed for time, you can’t depend on the person to respond promptly. Call instead.
Wait a while before texting someone if you’re upset or angry, or you like them and you’re just starting to get to know them.
Giving yourself a chance to process the situation before responding or engaging can be the best thing in dealing with a potentially explosive or damaging situation. In a similar way, when you want to express your interest or like of someone, don’t text the person every day, or worse, several times a day. It’ll save your from seeming like an obsessed lunatic.
Make sure your text-mate knows what you’re trying to say.
Tone is such a hard thing to judge when you’re reading without a voice to hear. Be careful how you write or phrase a comment or reply!
Don’t text while you’re with other friends.
Responding to something just because it makes your device “ding” doesn’t make it okay. It gives a message to the people you’re with that what’s happening on your device is much more important than them – and they made time to be with you! It’s very rude, and might make your friends upset.
Keep your ringer short.
There’s nothing more annoying than sitting by someone deep in text-conversation when their ring tone is a full-length song. Keep it on vibrate, or at least short beeps.
Spell check your messages before sending them.
It’s okay to use text language like BRB, TTYL, and OMG, just use them sparingly. If you overcrowd the text message with text language, it will probably be difficult for your friend to understand what you are texting.
Don’t send awful news via text
While this is kind of covered in point 3, this is really about specific messages like “you’re dumped”, “we’re getting a divorce”, “Uncle Jim has cancer” or worse “Uncle Jim just died”. Texts aren’t an easy out of difficult situations.
I’m excited about learning to be better in this space!