twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Does Texting Harm Teens?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

My daughter's friends text things they would never say face-to-face.

Teenage girl texting

Leslie Adler: My teenage daughter and several of her friends have a BlackBerry, and consequently, have BlackBerry's instant messenger application known as BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), which allows them to communicate in "real-time." It is like e-mail, only faster, enabling quick "text conversation."

I recently noticed my daughter typing fervently, as if her fingers could convey emotion and her interaction was "animated." I asked her what was going on and she actually told me. She was having "words" with a friend over excluding a mutual friend from an outing to the movies. When I agreed with her position, she allowed me to read the messages her "friend" was sending her, and they made me shudder.

I instantly realized, knowing the sender, that BBM was empowering her to say things she would never, in my opinion, have the nerve to say in voice, face-to-face. Crazy, bitchy stuff that I am sure my daughter would have responded to differently if I were not monitoring her every word at the moment.

With my daughter's permission, I entered this exchange like a social scientist, dictating answers that I would proudly read to this girl's mother, who is my friend, yet the girl continued to stay on her angry and dramatic rant using words that I am sure seemed worse in atonal print ... and my point is:

In the "Stone Age" in which we grew up and people spoke, our mothers heard our conversations. They had some sense of what kind of kids we were and whether we were leaders, followers, manipulators, or pushovers (amongst other things), and therefore, they knew, hopefully, how to direct us to be nicer and better people and friends. With modes of communication like BBM, we really don't know what lurks behind the eyes of the child we see typing away, and though I fully, intellectually, understand the benefits of technology, I wonder if some of it is not so good after all.

BBM -- Friend or Foe?

Your thoughts?

next: Saving Your Kid's Face
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rebecca December 4, 2009, 9:53 AM

I’ve seen adult conversations on BBM go south for the very reasons you described.

Back to top >>