Texting and the Dead Goat

goatA couple of weeks ago I saw a guy get his nose spread across his face like peanut butter by a wicked spin heel kick at a Taekwondo tournament. It was an inspiring and bloody mess. Lexie missed the astonishing kick because she was checking her texts.

While we were driving to the mall, Sandor and I watched a mother deer and her three tiny spotted fawns bound across the street, right in front of our car. Sandor and I  squealed and gasped as though having some kind of happy seizure but Lexie and her friend, missed it because they were texting.

Not long ago Sandor missed seeing a dead goat on the side of the road because he was playing with Lex’s phone.  Every little boy  wants to look at the bloated body of  a dead goat!

You get the idea and I’m just as guilty. Last week as Sandor was reading to me, telling me about the Basset Hound with the longest ears in the world (over a foot long according to the Guinness Book of World Records). He was waving his hands around talking about this dog, when my phone lit up. And I checked my text. The text from a co-worker said, “it’s raining here”.  And while I was reading that text Sandor wandered off because
I wasn’t paying attention to him anymore.

Kids text each other from the deer stand in the middle of the woods and entire families sit in the bleachers during football games staring at their phones. Yes, they manage to see the big plays but then they miss the coach when he high fives their son, they miss seeing their boy sitting alone and dejected on the bench, because he missed a big tackle.  We are all missing out on the moments that give life flavor.

As long as teenagers are texting or waiting for their phone to go off and make their butt buzz, they aren’t really engaged in life. If they are texting while they watch tv with the family, are in the car or sitting at the bus stop, they are in two different places at one time and they are missing the show.

I hate writing off an entire generation but, I think it’s too late for the teenagers and twenty year olds(sorry guys, you can’t be saved). The dye has been cast, so we might as well move on. But as parents we might be able to help our younger kids. Before you give them their first phone, make some rules for texting and make sure they apply to you as well.

1. No texting when you’re eatting with another person.

2. No texting when you are involved in an actual activity, like deer hunting, skydiving or wake boarding. Enjoy the moment, even if it’s a quiet one.

3.  If I’m driving NOBODY gets to text in the car. (you don’t want to miss seeing that dead goat)

Technology has gotten ahead of us.  Once upon a time we thought it was  a good idea to put cocaine in Coke-a-Cola and to give it to depressed middle aged women. We thought cigarettes were actually good for us. Doctors believed mercury baths were a great way to cure stds or venereal diseases (yup it cured the disease alright  but it also killed the patient).

After a while we figured out mercury and cocaine were actually BAD for us. Maybe that’s the case with of texting. We have an amazing technology but we don’t actually know how it will effect us socially, intellectually or physically in the future.

I recently read a report that teens make far less eye-contact now because they are so accustomed to looking at their damn cell phone.

Once, my son Jack, said, “nothing really important ever gets said in a text,” and he’s absolutely right. It can all wait. Don’t let texting blind you to the beauty, tragedy and taste  of life and stay away from the mercury baths.

 

How Teen Sexting Starts….Yup, They Told Me The Truth

sextingDear Parents, the code has been broken.  One of Lexie’s friends recently explained to me exactly how teen age sexting with pictures starts.

As parents when we hear that a teenaged girl is in a pickel because she sent a picture of her boobs to a boy we sigh and groan and say ‘what the hell was she thinking, how could this happen?” Well, now I know.

It goes something like this and according to my 15 year old informant the script doesn’t vary much.

Girl and boy are flirting via text.

Guy: “I’m just lying here watching tv. I wish you were here.”

Girl: “Me too”.

Guy: “I’m  sore from lifting weights. But look at this”. Then he sends a picture of himself with his shirt off looking all ripped.

Girl: “Nice lol”

Guy: “You should send me a picture”.

Girls sends a picture of her pretty face.

Guy: “That’s not fair. Send me a good picture.”

And then…if the girl is stupid(that’s how teenager put it)…she sends him a picture of her boobs or maybe she’s wearing a bra. If she’s smart she laughs at him and says something like “No way.”

Then the teenager and Lexie and I discussed the next thing that happens. Both the boy and girl take their phones to school. The girl shows other girls the picture of the guys muscular chest, everybody comments and it’s not that big of a deal.

And the guy does the same thing. He shows all his friends, team mates and acquaintances, even his little brother and uncle,  the picture of the girl without her shirt. And it’s a very big deal because he promised he wouldn’t show anyone.

A friend of mine who is a fifty year old business man told me his sixteen year old son and two best friends were looking at a picture of a girl on their phone. then they handed it to my middle aged friend. He looked, of course, then deleted it andyelled at the boys. But he looked, because he’s a guy.

So girls, think about that.  They boy might show it to his dad. And if his dad is a total perv and ass he might not delete it.  When you send that picture of your boobs, lots and lots of people will probably see it.

As parents I think we have a few options.  We can pull our children out of school and keep them at home for the next ten years.

We can take away their phones or at least give them phones without cameras. Or, we can warn our daughters that this is how the situation almost always unfolds.  The boy will show everybody the pictures on his phone because he’s proud of them and thinks their hot. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, it just makes him a normal guy.

After I learned all this from the 15 year old I called one of my older, 20 something kids.  I started explaining how all the teenaged sexting starts and was interrupted when they laughed and said,  “Mom, I know how it starts.”

Ouch!  And I made a mental note. “Never ever pick up older childs’ phone and casually glance at the photos without permission.”

*Names have not been included to protect the innocent and guilty.

Rude, Texting, Teens…Our Country Is Lost

 

Teenagers, they are rude and selfish, withdrawn and distant. That’s what adults think all the time. It seems kids  have lost the ability to carry on a conversation. Or, maybe they can, but they just don’t want to make the effort. So they text and hide behind long swoopy hair when surrounded by adults.

This makes us think they are dysfunctional and possibly stupid. Futhermore, we become worried about the future of our country.  If our children can’t speak intelligently what will happen to America? Will incoherent skate board punks fill the Senate?

First, you have to remember, every generation of teenagers has  been seen as troublesome, dangerous and rude.  I can still see my brother, with his long swoopy hair and shredded jeans as he headed off to Woodstock. Why would he want to talk to adults, they were so old.

I was trying to explain this situation to my 15 year old, Lexie, (who is actually very good at talking to almost anyone with ears) when I realized, most teenagers are actually pretty decent creatures. They simply don’t know what to say to adults who are not part of their world. They can’t talk to them about music or school or most movies.

After “how are you?” kids are at a loss, things get quiet and awkward so they start looking at the cell phones. A fourteen year old boy can’t say so a fifty year old man, “How’s your wife? How are the kids, has your 401K tanked yet?” So, what’s he supposed to do?

If a kid or teenager is stuck at a table or in an office with an adult, I came up with three questions they can ask and the old person will think they are wonderful, insightful and smart.

1. “So, what profession are you in?”  “What do you do for a living?”  Ask about work.

2.”Oh, you’re a teacher(cop, architect, ditch digger) “What’s your favorite part of being a….(dentist,  rodeo clown, CPA, hair band lead singer)?

3. “What did you do before you were a …..(porn star, lawyer, boogie board champion)?

Three questions, that’s all they have to remember and adults will think they are brilliant and destined for greatness. 

And guess what? Lex tried my system with a 45 year old man I introduced her to at a non-profit event and discovered he was an interesting guy!

He was just really really old.

*comment or email me at hampoland@gmail.com, or you can text me if you feel the need 501 545-8372. Thanks!