Teenagers love to text. Want proof? The Census Bureau reports that Americans sent 110 Billion text messages in December 2008. In the same month in 2007, they sent 48 Billion texts. Many of those texts were sent by teenagers. Teens like to text because it’s efficient and private, according to Amanda Lenhart, who is a senior research specialist for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. She was quoted by the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Lenhard says that text messaging seems to cut through some of the extraneous conversation that teens don’t want to have. Remember that last time your teenager had a long telephone conversation with you? See what I mean?
Non custodial parents should embrace texting because it can keep them in touch with their child/children. Sometimes just letting them know you are thinking about them is enough. You can text from your phone, but there is also a service called 3Jam.com that allows you to send and receive text messages from your computer. A friend of mine uses this service to have a text message waiting for his daughter every morning.
Of course, texting is not a replacement for a personal relationship with your child, and it should not be overused. Teenagers have notoriously short attention spans and hate to be embarrassed by their parents in social settings. However, texting can be a valuable method of staying in touch during those times when your child is not in your custody. Even better, send your child an old fashioned letter or card even if you live in the same community—just because.