Yesterday, I heard about a teenager that sent 10,800 texts in a month’s time. My first reaction was to wonder where her parents were and why she wasn’t more involved in sports or music or doing homework? How many friends did this girl have to send 10,800 texts in a month? I, on the other hand, only sent 47. I guess I don’t have as many friends – or at least ones that text. I was even more surprised to find out that I know this girl – she is my daughter. OMG!

So it made me think. She is sending an average of 360 texts per day. I confirmed on our bill that that is both sending and receiving. Is that a little better to find that she is only sending 180 texts a day? Maybe she is just reading the texts her friends send and only responds to a quarter of them. No, I am kidding myself. I have seen her send out an APB to her friends that she is bored and sitting at her siblings games. She often says, “Where is everyone?” when no one responds. “I am sorry”, I tell her, “but not many teenagers are up in time to text you at your sister’s 8:00 am game.”

Frankly, some of her texts are a waste. “K” or “KK” are the worst. Why bother to respond at all? Good thing we have unlimited texting. At 25 cents per text, 10,800 texts will cost $2700. Ouch! That is more than she makes in year of babysitting and allowance. That number is still a shock – $2700 for 10,800 texts.

In looking back at our text conversations, I noticed that I actually used full sentences and asked questions. Sometime I abbreviate, but most of the time, I write it out. She is all abbreviations and acronyms. My daughters laugh at me for taking so long to text something. I am sorry, but I text 10,750 less times a month. I am a little slower. I often ask them to text something for me because they are faster. I have to remind them to check their spelling and not abbreviate. I don’t want my friends to know I am not the one doing the texting.

My husband and oldest daughter had a texting contest last year. They both had to text, “Hello. How are you doing?” with punctuation and capitalization. My daughter did it in 10 seconds. My husband was over a minute. This was on a phone without a keyboard. I’m glad I wasn’t asked to play. I guess she already knows how slow I am.

I know, it’s a different time. My sister and I used to fight over the house phone. We would talk to our friends for hours. Before call waiting, other people calling the house got the busy signal over and over. My parents had, and still have, a rotary phone in the kitchen. Remember those? It took a long time to dial so getting a busy signal was frustrating! Although my parents also have cordless phones in the house, the rotary phone still works. It was pretty funny to watch my kids use it.

My kids never use the house phone. Once in awhile, a friend will call the younger two, but my oldest never calls and hardly receives phone calls. The good news is that if the phone rings, it is probably for me. My daughters get frustrated with their friends for not answering a text right away. I tell them that maybe the friend doesn’t carry their phone around the house or maybe their parents told them to put it away. I say, “Why don’t you just call them and get your answer directly?” No, they will wait for the text. So this is their form of communication with their friends. I get it. I don’t always understand all the acronyms, but I get it.

So, instead of berating myself for allowing 10,800 texts sent and received by my daughter, I am looking on the bright side. I have taught my children the skill of communication. I know many adults that have problems communicating. The ability to communicate will get her farther in life than any other skill. However, I might want to work on expanding her communication to verbal skills and those that do not involve a keyboard.

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