Kids and Texting

Now that you’ve handed your kid a cell phone, it’s time to make sure you are ready for all the extra costs you may not have previously considered. Kids live to text and picture message each other, which can be costly if you aren’t prepared.

First of all, you’ll want to research the cost of texting plans to go along with your current phone plan. If you don’t decide to get a flat rate plan for texts, you may be in for an unfortunate surprise with your next month’s bill. Kids these days text more than they call or use any other form of communication, and they can do it faster than you’ll ever believe. Studies have shown the average teenager will make or receive over a thousand texts a month, and at $.10 to $.50 a text, that can really add up.

Some carriers will allow you to disable text messaging on cell phones if you don’t want this option available. However, do be aware that this is probably going to be one of the best ways to stay in touch with your kid as they are much more likely to respond to a text than be heard answering a phone. There is intense peer pressure as well for kids to text and photo message each other. Since texting plans usually start around $5 a month, you may want to work out a deal with your kid to have them use part of their allowance to pay for this option and encourage responsibility. Many parents let their kids know they will be “checking” their texts from time to time to make sure nothing inappropriate is going on.

You may be wondering what kids are saying to each other when it comes to texting. It can be difficult to figure out because many kids use texting shortcuts to speed up communication as most are sent through the telephone numbered pad which requires multiple taps to select various letters. However, even those typed on miniature “qwerty” style keyboards (the standard keyboard on computers) may be shortened for the sake of speed. Maybe you’ve seen texts with letter combinations that don’t seem to make much sense, such as “nmu,” “pos,” “^5,” “<3,” and “bi5.” Decoded (in order): “not much, you?” “parents’ over shoulder,” “high five!,” “love,” and “back in 5 minutes.” While text messages are great for storing information for later, such as addresses and appointments, when they are sent using mostly texting code, it can be difficult for parents to check in with what their kids are saying. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with various translations and the current texting lingo. So are you ready to take your final in texting? “evn f u figa ot w@ dis sEz, yr teen wl prolly stil B abL 2 txt circles arnd u.” (Even if you figure out what this says, your teenager will probably still be able to text circles around you.) Keep the lines of communication open and the rules with your kids clear and you’ll get the hang of texting while avoiding surprises from your phone bill.

One Response to “Kids and Texting”

  1. Phoenix says:

    I agree that parents should check Tests often,because kids might send snotty chain mail to other friends of theirs and the sender might get a kick out of it, but the person receiving it might think differently.

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