Text Envy

The Parent Imperfect thought he was being clever, for a change. Get Vince a 20th century phone that makes texting as difficult as possible and the boy will never catch that particular contagion. The parents could have contact with their son without him becoming enmeshed in the obsessive and unhealthy communication patterns of the texting classes.

WRONG! Very soon after he entered the nation’s oldest public school, Vince hurtled over the mere technological barriers and was sending and receiving hundreds of SMS messages per day. Seeing financial ruin before them, the parents made the fatal error of opting for an “unlimited” texting plan. The die was cast. The message traffic rises and falls with the tragic swings of his relationships with females in his class, but it never goes away. Liz says, “He’s not really here with us when he’s sending 50 texts per hour, and he’s certainly not doing his homework.”

Since focus is an issue around here with no phone involvement, we’re sure that the texting is one factor in V’s continuing academic challenges. The PI and Liz considered disappearing the phone and/or the texting service, but quickly realized that this would punish the parents, as well as the texter. So, they established yet another “rule” that said that the phone would be elsewhere during homework times. No fool, Vince realizes that this takes energy to enforce. Just last night, the situation came to an unpleasant head, and action is required. By 4PM today, it will be clear if the PI is willing to face the unpleasantness of establishing and enforcing a “text-free” period each day when the focus is on school work. The oddsmakers are offering 7-5 that he’ll cave.

As if on cue, it looks as though Frontline will air a program on the impact of the digital revolution, beginning tonight. The PI will be too busy trying to orchestrate last-minute study for two tests tomorrow. Maybe he’ll watch it online! The Frontline site includes a “Digital Parenting Quiz.” If you can figure it out, you can see how your parenting style compares with others.

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