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YOUNG PEOPLE ASK

What Should I Know About Texting?

  • :-) Used wisely, texting can be a great way to stay in touch.

  • :-( Used carelessly, it can ruin your friendships—and your reputation.

This article will tell you what you need to know about

Also in this article:

 Whom you text

Many teenagers consider texting to be an indispensable way to communicate. Texting allows you to keep in touch with anyone and everyone on your contact list—that is, unless your parents object.

“My dad doesn’t like it when my sister and I talk to boys. If we do, it has to be on the landline phone, in the living room, and with others present.”—Lenore.

What you should know: If you give out your number to just anyone, you can get into trouble.

“If you aren’t careful about who knows your number, you’re bound to receive messages or pictures you don’t want.”—Scott.

“If you regularly text a member of the opposite sex, you can get emotionally attached to that person very quickly.”—Steven.

The Bible says: Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself.” (Proverbs 22:3) By taking a few precautions, you can spare yourself a lot of grief.

True story: A boy and I were friends, and we texted a lot. I reasoned that we were just really close. I didn’t think that was a problem until he told me that he had developed romantic feelings for me. Looking back, I realize that I shouldn’t have hung out with him—and texted him—as much as I did.—Melinda.

Consider: How, do you think, would Melinda’s friendship with the boy be affected by his revelation?

Rewrite the script! What could Melinda have done differently so that she and the boy could have remained just friends and nothing more?

 What you text

Text messages are so easy to send—and fun to receive—that it’s easy to forget that people may read between the lines.

What you should know: Words conveyed via texting can be misinterpreted.

“With texting you can’t sense emotions and tone of voice—even with emoticons or text symbols. It can cause misunderstandings.”—Briana.

“I know girls who have ruined their reputations and are known to be flirts because of what they have sent in a text to boys.”—Laura.

The Bible says: Good people think before they answer.” (Proverbs 15:28, Good News Translation) The lesson? Reread your message before you hit “Send”!

 When you text

By using common sense, you can develop your own rules of texting—texting etiquette, as some call it.

What you should know: If you don’t watch your texting manners, you’ll come off as rude and repel friends rather than attract them.

“It’s easy to forget texting etiquette. I find myself in a conversation with someone or at the dinner table, and yet I’m texting at the same time.”—Allison.

“It’s dangerous to be texting and driving. If you take your eyes off the road, you risk getting into an accident.”—Anne.

The Bible says: For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7) That applies to texting just as much as it does to talking!

 Texting tips

Whom you text

  • ;-) Obey your parents’ guidelines.Colossians 3:20.

  • ;-) Be selective about whom you give your number to. When you politely refuse to share private information—including your cell-phone number—you develop a skill that you’ll need as an adult.

  • ;-) Don’t become overly familiar by sending flirtatious text messages. If romantic feelings grow, you’re only inviting frustration and heartache.

“I’ve built up a good record with my parents regarding the use of my cell phone, so they trust me to make wise decisions about whose number I will put in my contact list.”—Briana.

What you text

  • ;-) Before you start to type your message, ask yourself, ‘Is texting the right way to communicate in this situation?’ It might be better to make a phone call or wait to speak in person.

  • ;-) Don’t text anything you wouldn’t say in person. “If it shouldn’t be said out loud, it shouldn’t be sent by text,” says 23-year-old Sarah.

“If someone sends you provocative pictures, tell your parents. It will serve as a protection and will also build your parents’ trust in you.”—Sirvan.

When you text

  • ;-) Decide in advance when your phone will be off-limits. “I don’t have my cell phone with me at the dinner table or while studying,” says a girl named Olivia. “I turn it off during Christian meetings so that I’m not tempted to look at it.

  • ;-) Be considerate. (Philippians 2:4) Don’t text while you’re trying to carry on a face-to-face conversation with someone.

“I’ve set rules for myself, such as not texting people when I’m in a group of friends unless it’s necessary. I also don’t give out my number to people I’m not already close to.”—Janelly.