Thursday, May 3, 2012

Can you hear me? Texting Rules.

My two year old can navigate my iphone better than I.  My 9 month old has already deleted programs off of it.

This, however, is not a post about letting your kids use your devices, we can discuss that all day.  It is a post about using media and devices more and more in our lives and trying not to lose the ability to communicate well and effectively in interpersonal relationships.

Until you can express sarcasm, anger, or the difference between a corner of your mouth smile and a light up your face sparkling smile, texting and emails will never truly be able to be the medium of choice to express yourself in important personal contact.

And it's getting worse.

Did you send a text message today? An email? It's quite likely you did.  How many of those missives involved important content?  Setting a date?  Discussing a topic of contention?  Expressing how much you miss someone?

Aside from sending a birthday card, when was the last time you sent a letter?  Or, for that matter, received one?  It's great when you do, right?  Perhaps there was a period back in the 90's when letter writing included  typing on a word processor, but that didn't last long... people preferred the written word.

Today,  the number of land lines decreases each day.  Do you know someone who doesn't have a cell phone?  Even the last hold outs are being pressured into at least a "pay-as-you-go" option.

Sure, the convenience is wonderful...for some things.  "OMW" to tell someone you're meeting you'll be right there, or helping find someone in a crowd, or texting in a  situation where silence is suggested are just quick easy examples.

Honestly, I'm worried that a generation born into this electronic world will have trouble with face to face communications.  Will they be able to have a conversation that doesn't involve a device?  Will they be able to interview?  Will they be able to entertain themselves when all the power runs out?

Who knows.  But I do know, there needs to be a cell phone etiquette

Perhaps, a new set of rules for talking and texting... here is my suggestion:

Rules for use of Cell Phones/Texting

1.  If you're in a quiet place, and you must talk on your phone, do it at the same volume you would talk to a person sitting next to you - if they can't hear you, step outside or call back later.

2.   If you're having a conversation with someone, do not text someone else.  Look at that person in their eyes.  

3.  If you get a text while talking to someone, excuse yourself to look at your phone (if you must) don't just look at it without acknowledging you are doing it.

4. Never accept a call or look/send a text while in a live theater performance (it should be silent anyway).  Never talk on your phone in a movie theater.

5.  If you are asking someone out, call them.  

6.  Reply to a phone call with a phone call, not an email or text.

7. Don't text/email/post anything you wouldn't say in person, out loud.

8.  Use your headphones when listening to music or a noisy game.

9. Don't text and walk.

*10. Don't text and drive.

(feel free to add to this list, I'll update it...) 

 Reader additions:
11. Never text a question that requires a detailed answer. If you need advice call so there can be a discussion. (Lauren)

Call me old fashioned, or behind the times, or late for dinner, but I really do worry about this.

Do you?


  1. Love it, and I am more than a little guilty on some of these!
    To follow up- Last nights frustration turned into a near fight, over text message no less :/
    On the bright side he came around to understand why I was so frustrated, to bad I am booked solid till the 20th.

  2. Ugh....#6 gets to me big time. Especially after I left a long message....don't text me back, call me when you have time....also, I hate it when hubby answers his cell in a restaurant, I always encourage him to take it rude!

    1. Agreed, important calls are different for short interchanges eg babysitter/doctor but for the most part, if you smoke or talk...go outside.

  3. #11-Never text a question that requires a detailed answer. If you need advice call so there can be a discussion.