Interview with a tweenager
This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed
Thanks to everyone who contributed comments and questions for my daughter to answer - without futher ado, let's find out what she knows about all this stuff...
Me: So, you don't have a cell phone yet, and you've often said that you're the ONLY KID in your class without one. Come on... is that really true?
Her: Yes! Well, not the only kid in my class. There are three kids in my class who don't have a cell phone.
Me: Okay, so, what do all these kids need phones for? When do they use them?
Her: Well, when they are riding their bike to school or walking to school, or if their parents are super late to pick them up.
Me: Do they just call people? Or do they text, too?
Her: They do both.
Me: Okay, so let's talk about texting for a minute. Do your friends use shortcuts when texting? Or do they type out the whole words and stuff?
Her: They usually type out the whole words right now, but if they are short on time, they'll shorten some words, I guess.
Me: What about mean texting? Have you ever heard of someone who sent or received a mean or bullying text message? What about an email or message board post?
Her: No - although we've had a lot of talks about it at school. We have a zero-tolerance policy for that kind of stuff, so no one does it.
Me: Do you know what "sexting" is?
Her: Sort of - I know it's bad. I heard about it in 5th grade Family Life class. That's when you send inappropriate pictures or texts to someone.
Me: You know better than to send a picture or text to someone that you would be embarrassed to have me, or daddy or every kid in the school see right?
Her: Yeah. (rolls eyes and sighs.)
Me: Because that totally can happen. Nothing is private.
Her: (Stony silence)
Me: So, do you think that most parents would be surprised about what their kids talk about online and through texting?
Her: Yeah - there's a lot more cussing than most parents probably think, and kids think different stuff is funny than parents.
Her: Bad words. And people falling on their faces.
Me: Yeah, so, you've just described half of the television programs that adults like. But then again, we don't want you guys to be watching them, yet. Or ever. You should be watching educational programs only. Science-y programs with only good language.
Her: But I like watching The Simpsons. (she's frowning)
Me: Point taken. But seriously, The Simpsons are an excellent educational program in what not to do, and how not to talk to your parents. We'll give that a pass, but only if Daddy and I get to watch it with you. And you're not ever watching Jackass. Ever.
Me: So, let's talk about bullying a bit. We had some problems with it in the past - what do you think about bullying at your school now?
Her: Bullies are stupid! We really don't have any bullying problems at our school. But if we have a problem, the teachers are all right there willing to help sort it out. We saw that Teen Truth Live program and I think it scared a lot of people.
Me: So, why do you think you need a cell phone right now?
Her: I want more freedom - I'd like to ride my bike to school. It's better for the environment!
Me: Well, we'll talk about it. I'm not convinced that's a good enough reason yet. But we can talk some more.
Her: Can we be done now?
Me: Yes. Unless you want to talk about homework.
Her: No. (flouncing off to her room)
Well, that was enlightening. Hah! At 11 3/4, I'm still not convinced that she needs a phone of her own just yet - but I'm glad we've gotten this conversation started, and I think this entire LG TextEd program has been fantastic - it has really armed me with some important questions and techniques for the day when we are ready for her to get her first cell phone.
Please, leave me a comment and let me know what age your children were (or will be) when they get their first cell phone. Every single comment will result in a $1 donation to the fantastic youth activism organization DoSomething.org.
Want to see what other parent interviews with their teens and tweens? Check out the hub on BlogHer.com.