Rob Festenstein discusses if children should send a text messages or if they should have to enage in verbal dialogue!
When I was a kid, not that many years ago, it was a big deal if your family had a VCR or an ATARI game. We were discouraged from bringing calculators to school for it might take away from our ability to do long division. Heck, I thought it was a really big deal when I was given my first digital watch that had a stopwatch included. If you were really cool, you had a calculator watch. But so much has changed since the early 80’s.
Our society has made great advances in science and technology. Some for the betterment of the human race, some not. One of those betterments was the advent of cell phone technology, which in my opinion is a mixed blessing. I was 25 when I bought my first phone back in 1995, so you can imagine how I feel when I see elementary school age children out in public with their own cell phones sending text messages back and forth and listening to their Hannah Montana downloads. Was I such a late bloomer, or are these children being exposed to too much technology too soon?
The fact that children learn to do book reports in Power Point and their math homework in Excel is merely a sign of the times. These are very effective and efficient uses of technology. I can only imagine what Noah and Aaron will do in school when it comes to such important disciplines as math and science. While I can see how they will benefit from a computer in their education, I cannot see how they can benefit from having a cell phone other than for emergency purposes only.
When I was young, when you wanted to talk with your friends, you did something that is sort of obsolete by today’s standards. You picked up the phone and called them. There was no text messaging, Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, etc. We were forced to have open and direct communication with friends and others. Today, if you want to go the pool with a friend, kids merely send a text message. How sad is that? Will this soon become a case where kindergarten students will all have cell phones and send each other text messages? I hope not.
I may not speak for Rachel when I say this, but I will only allow our sons to get cell phones when they are mature enough to understand the proper use of this technology. They will be given one to use only in the case of emergencies, not for idle chit chat. Kids who use them otherwise have become social misfits of sorts while developing their personalities and relationships through text messaging. That is not how I want to see our children create friendships.
Some may disagree with me on this, and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just wish that parents see my point as it relates to children developing good social skills and listening habits. Do people really want to be asked out for a date through a text message?
Technology will continue to evolve over time. Hopefully to the point where it can do away with diseases and benefit humanity in positive ways. But I am sure that text messaging will evolve as well. There may be nothing that can be done to stop this natural progression, but it is my hope that people, namely our boys, not forget that before text messaging and cell phone, there was a thing called open and direct communication.
Rob Festenstein, and his wife Rachel, reside in Wyoming, and are the proud parents of Aaron (age 15 months) and Noah (age 3.5). Rachel and Rob take a hands-on approach to parenting and try their best to lead and teach by example.