Texting and Teens: Did your teen teach you to text?

Cellphone use! Yes, according to the recent Nielsen Study, Florida ranks fourth in the United States for cell phone use among all ages, joining seven other Southern states whose residents chat on cell phones for more than 800 minutes a month, the highest nationwide.

Also according to this study, teens rule when it comes to texting:

Not surprisingly, teens text the most, sending or receiving an amazing 2,779 SMS messages a month. In the next two age brackets, text usage falls by more than half each time, with those aged 18-24 sending or receiving 1,299 messages and those aged 25-34 exchanging an average of 592 messages. While the text usage varies greatly between those 18-24 and those 25-34, their voice usage is quite close (981 voice minutes for 18-24 and 952 minutes a month for those 25-34 years old.)

See the complete study here.

Davie resident 14 year-old Jaycee said she text’s her parents more than she talks to them.  Whether this is accurate or not, the recent study does confirm that texting is a primary source of communication for teens.

Cellphone Safety Tips from Connect Safely can help you be an educated parent.

  • Smart socializing. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake – even more so if nudity or sex is involved.
  • Phones are personal. Letting other people use your phone when you’re not around is like letting them have the password to your social network profile. They can impersonate you. Which means they can play tricks on you that could really become a problem. It’s a good idea to lock your phone when you’re not using it. It’s not a good idea to let friends text for you while you’re driving. Don’t text while driving; just be safe and turn the phone off!
  • Bullying by phone. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down. Be aware, too, of people randomly taking pictures at parties – you may not want to be tagged in their social-network photo albums.
  • Sexting: It’s the same on phones as on the Web – do not take, send, post or even store on your phone nude photos of anyone under 18. You could be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. You could also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever.
  • The value of “presence.” If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.
  • Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. You need your sleep and real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone – harassment can happen between midnight and morning too.
  • Social mapping. Most cellphones now have GPS technology and there are a growing number of services that allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features!

Reprinted with permission from Connect Safely.

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