Date
30 May 2017
Noah Smith, 13, texts his mother to ask permission to go out with friends. He says he gets faster response from his mom that way. Photo: WSJ
Noah Smith, 13, texts his mother to ask permission to go out with friends. He says he gets faster response from his mom that way. Photo: WSJ

How texting can help families talk

Technology is meant to facilitate communication, but because of it, family members find it hard to communicate with one another.

Thanks to the presence of mobile devices, everyone seems to be engaged in their own cyber existence.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, there’s one digital medium that can help parents communicate with their children: the text message.

Amy Kossoff Smith, of Rockville, Maryland, says she and her husband Mitch call their three teenage sons to dinner through texting. 

“We can yell at the top of our lungs three to four times. Or we can pull our phones out and text them,” she tells the newspaper. 

“When we get into their zone, we usually get a much quicker response.”

Smith says it’s easier to reach her children that way because they are most likely already using their phones, texting or chatting with their friends. 

Texting also contributes to a more peaceful environment at home.

However, she bans mobile phones at the table. Dinnertime is an occasion for the family to talk to each other face to face.

Smith also resorts to texting to tell her children she’s going to the grocery store or that it’s time for them to go to bed.

She adds emoji hearts or thumbs-up signs to her messages, because they look cool and help to connect to their children.

Her sons also text her to ask permission to go out with friends. Her 13-year-old son Noah says he gets faster response from his mom that way.

Texting, however, should not be used to avoid discussing family issues, according to Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist, school consultant and author of The Big Disconnect, a book on technology and family relationships.

“Painful, awkward, tough conversations between parent and child are where children learn so much about the relational dynamics that are a part of adulthood,” she says.

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RA/CG

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