Kate Meyers: I have major disdain for my children's proclivity to text. My 12-year-old is especially guilty. She will have just spent an entire day plus a sleepover with her friend Lauren, and then I'll pick her up in the minivan and she'll start texting. When I ask, "Who are you texting?" the answer will be, "Lauren." So I started a new rule, and this applies to all children -- not just my own -- who are being shuttled by me in my minivan: If I am nice enough to drive you around, you need to be polite enough to be present and converse.
My ex feels strongly that because we are dealing with two households and lots of extra activities, it's best for the girls to have phones. And I know they derive some degree of comfort in having them.
But I fear that raising our kids with these devices in hand is a bad thing. It ruins their ability to focus on one thing, and it takes them out of the present. It doesn't make them good communicators ... it just makes them quick on the keyboard. And worst of all, they're not living their lives so much as documenting them to, or discussing them with, someone else.
I am constantly telling my girls that when you text, instead of living your life HERE, you're somewhere out THERE, and you're missing the moment.
They are currently at an all-girls sleepaway camp -- a month they look forward to all year. There are no cell phones, iPods or computers at camp. And I know it's not a coincidence that that's the place they most associate with undiluted, spontaneous fun.
And when they return, I will remind them -- likely to an irritating degree -- of that fact.