Email is a tool for old fogey’s. According to a study by Parks Associates, only 20% of teens use email to communicate with friends. In fact, the most common reason a teen would use email is to communicate with us old folks.
Not surprising, text and instant messaging are the way to go. Apparently, all the cool parents are doing it. A recent poll by AT&T (a company that has a vested interest in promoting texting) found that 76 percent of parents feel their kids keep them in the loop through text messaging than other communication methods, and almost 3/4 of parents said their kids were more likely to respond to a text message than another methods of communication.
If you have teens, you may want to check out these 7 reasons to take up texting with your kids. Note that these come from a document put together by Cingular (pdf). Like AT&T, they also have a vested interest in getting you to text message your kids- they make money. But I think the principles are sound nonetheless and deserve a mention.
- Parents get a quick answer to their questions – good for today’s busy kids and parents.
- Kids are more apt to respond to text messages when they are with their friends. It is more discreet and their answers don’t have to be as detailed as in a conversation.
- You, or they, don’t have to worry about tone of voice. Some kids automatically get defensive when they hear their parent’s tone of voice, which often results in delayed return phone calls or avoidance. Texting takes tone of voice out of the mix and can improve response times.
- Texting allows you to enter your child’s world. By using text messaging, parents can communicate in the style their children are used to, and become more hip in their children’s eyes. An example might be a parent who sends a text to her daughter on a blind date to ask her how the date is going. “Is he Mr. Wonderful?” or “Is he a frog or a prince?”
- Text messaging allows parents to compose and edit a message before pressing send. By making parents think about it more, texting removes explosive emotions from potentially charged communications and situations.
- Texting vs. calling gives kids more space but allows parents to keep in touch as often as necessary. For instance, it is a good way to double check their child’s whereabouts without nagging.
- Text messaging can also be used to strengthen parent-child bonds, and let kids know that their parents are thinking of them. Send them a text wishing them good luck before the school play,
audition, or let them know you are thinking of them if there is something they were concerned about such as a difficult test or a grade.