Does texting replace face-to-face conversations? Of course not, but please hear me out.
I work full-time outside the home. While I love my job, working is a necessity for my family. I have a lot of guilt associated with working outside the home. I am always tired, always cleaning, always tardy to responding to emails from teachers, always worried that I am not giving enough at my job. Frankly, I am just always STRESSED. On top of that, I like to spend a good part of life beating myself up about not being present enough for my children or husband.
But texting helps me stay connected.
Texting helps me stay connected day-to-day. My children text me on their lunch breaks or to let me know when they get home from school or work. Sometimes they even text me to ask what chores need to be done. My husband and I text each other throughout the day too. We send each other “honey-dos and I love yous” and also memes, complaints, and just general silliness. And then there is our family group chat.
The family group chat is the new family table.
We have a family group chat and I love it. My kids send memes and cute pictures of kitties and doggos. We talk about interesting things we have encountered throughout the day. My kids text me about their assignments, their frustrations, their achievements, and of course, they ask my husband and me for money (because, teens).
Due to work schedules and extracurricular activities, it is rare for the seven of us to eat together every night. I am thankful we can stay connected via text. Sometimes I am doing the “mom thing” and I am texting a list of chores. Other times I am just checking in to see how their day went.
My now nine year old once went through a phase of scooping ice cream straight out of the container with his sweet little unwashed hands. When I tell you a group text was necessary to alert all family members of this habit . . .
It is a form of sibling bonding, and I am here for it.
I wish I could tell you that your kids will never fight in a group text. Well, perhaps your children have more self-control than mine. Via text, my children still manage to throw down over stolen phone chargers and who ate the last piece of pizza. On the flip side, my children have “sub-text groups” between each other. It is a form of sibling bonding.
Family group texting extends to your extended family.
My children have extended family that lived outside the country for most of their lives. Texting made it possible for them to keep connected. I grew up in the military, and a chunk of my early life was spent overseas and later living in states far from my family. My family would have loved technology like this. Currently, most of my family lives in California. I love that I can send a quick text to my parents or siblings whenever I want.
Is it necessary and is it kind?
Society is harsh on us parents raising kids these days. I scroll my social media feeds and see lots of scolding reminders to us current parents to “put down our phones” and live in the moment. When you see a mom or dad out in public with their children pick up their phone to “scroll,” please consider the following before you judge them:
Are they working from their phone? Perhaps they are working from home and they took their kids to the park while they work. Maybe they have been playing with their kids and engaging all day long and this is their break? Stay-at-home parents . . . heck, all parents . . . are allowed a break, and sometimes scrolling through the phone is their ONLY break. Lastly, before you cast judgment, please ask yourself if it is necessary and if it is kind.
Technology does not replace face-to-face communication.
I am in no way suggesting that texting and technology should replace face-to-face communication. Nothing replaces that one-on-one time with your family and loved ones. But, quality communication is possible via text. We should look at texting as a way to enhance our lives, not replace anything.
The reality is that technology is ever-evolving, and our littles are being brought up with technology. We need to accept this reality, decide how it works with our individual families, and adapt.
Originally published November 2021.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.