Starting in the late 1980s, The European public telephone network and the European Community and European Telecommunications Standards Institute developed the GSM, which is most similar to what we call “cell phones” today. This phone drastically changed the communications world with the ability to place international calls, send SMS texts, and even had luxuries like caller ID and voicemail, which we all take for granted now. This phone started a revolution that is still changing everyday, with newer and better phones releasing every month with the latest technology and sleek designs. Texting has its own language, customs, and ways of doing things. There are known rules when it comes to texting, which I believe makes it rhetorical. Text messaging is a new medium of expression, one that is changing the dynamic of communication rapidly, especially between parents and their children.
The controversy over parental control versus a child’s freedom has now become an even more complex issue with the introduction of cell phones in the equation (Ling 119). While some believe that texting negatively effects their children because parents may not pay enough attention to their children or that texting doesn’t give children the social skills they need, on the other hand I will argue that texting gives children autonomy while giving them the ability to stay in close contact with their family and keep intimacy, if done in balance.
Many argue that texting has negative consequences on the parent and child dynamic, for example that parents do not pay close enough attention to their children anymore because of texting, and that children do not know how to properly speak face-to-face with people know because they have grown used to texting. In a journal entry from the Wall Street Journal, Worthen argued that the increase use of cell phones and texting in the past decade has caused an increase in injuries among small children. Nonfatal injuries have risen 12% from 2007 to 2010, and people over 13 owning iPhones or Blackberries has increased from 9 million to 114 million from 2007 to 2012 (1).
This increased use of cell phones among adults does not necessarily mean it causes injuries in children, but the lack of attention parents are now giving could be the cause of more childhood injuries. This striking statistic is something people use to argue that texting is detrimental to society. Also, in an interview on Fox, Dr. Karen Ruskin says teenagers are now having trouble communicating with people face-to-face because of the increased use of technology. However, she says that if parents balance their children’s time on the phone and their time talking to each other and talking to other people, there should be no problem with communication. Texting in the parent and child relationship depends on the balance between the time spent on the phone and the time spent with each other, and if that is in balance, texting can be beneficial for their relationship.
With the new technology of texting, parents are finding it difficult to balance giving their children independence while still keeping intimacy in their relationship as they grow older. Through interviews with different parents, Jeffrey Zaslow found that the balance is about staying busy, so when you do talk it is more intimate and understanding. He also said that parents are finding that their children in their twenties are still texting their parents often, and parents are becoming afraid that their child will never grow up and leave home. However, he said this is very normal because the twenties is a time for tons of huge changes and that texting their parents is a firm and stable ground they can fall back on (2). Texting changes the dynamic families use to communicate with each other, and keeping the parental status without being distant is a new problem parents have to face.
The balance between letting your child have the independence of having a cell phone, while still keeping a close relationship is a fine line, but if it is done correctly I can allow relationships to flourish. It may be difficult for parents to learn this new form of communication, but it can help parents to touch base with their children often and keep in touch when separated. Families are pulled in different directions every minute of every day, and with more and more distractions and more responsibilities as we grow older, still communicating regularly can be difficult, but with the ease and efficiency of sending a text in only a minute, communication is still possible. Texting allows families to stay close and keep personal relationships at all times. In my personal interview with my mom, she said the most difficult problem we have about staying in touch is finding time for both of us to call each other and have a conversation, in our schedules.
A lot of the times I will be in class when she can talk, or she will be in a meeting when I can talk, so we have learned that it is more effective for us to text each other all day whenever our schedules allow us so we stay informed on each others lives and keep our relationship (Bostic). In another study on the dynamics of texting in the family, and how a mobile diary can be used to study family dynamics, it was found that that family members prefer texting as their mode of communication amongst one other (Rönkä 2010). This further enforces the fact that texting is beneficial to families. Texting gives you the freedom to talk whenever your schedule allows you, like when you are on the go or waiting in line. It gives you the independence to talk whenever you desire and to whomever we desire.
The balance between independence and intimacy in a parent and child relationship with the factor of texting has been argued for years now, but I believe texting is beneficial and helps keep personal relationships. It gives children the independence they need from their parents to make their own decisions and form their own opinions, while still giving parents a medium to communicate and stay in close contact with their children at all times. Texting matters in society because it is affecting socialization of future generations. We are now a more fast-paced society that relies heavily on technology as a means of communication, and texting allows people from all around the globe to keep in contact and share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and messages to people from totally different continents, countries, and cultures.
Ling, Rich. The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2004. Print. Rönkä, Anna. “Capturing Daily Family Dynamics Via Text Messages: Development of the Mobile Diary.” Community, Work & Family 13.1 (2010): 5-21. Print. “Social Media Impact on Children.” Youtube. Fox & Friends First. 12 Jun. 2012. Web. 8 Oct. 2012. Worthen, Ben. “The Perils of Texting While Parenting.” Wsj.com. Wall Street Journal, 29 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. Zaslow, Jeffrey. “’I Love My Parents’: How Close Families Balance Intimacy and Independence.” Wsj.com. Wall Street Journal, 21 Dec. 2006. Web. 6 Oct. 2012.
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