Because they're afraid of facing a living, breathing grown-up, my daughter's high-school friends text her once they get to our front porch to let her know they've arrived. That way, she's the one who greets them at the door—instead of me. The consequences? Her friends, like many kids these days, don't get a chance to polish those old-fashioned manners. They'll never learn to shake a parent's hand and provide a formal introduction like, "Thank you for allowing me to escort your daughter for the evening." The culprit? Texting. It turns the planning of a casual get-together into a teen-only affair that leaves mom out of the loop, unable to monitor peer relationships.
According to The Nielsen Company, teens send an average of 2,272 texts a month. Recent studies show that this hyper-texting is taking its toll, causing everything from anxiety to thumb injuries and an increased risk of car crashes among those who text while driving. "They're doing it all the time and not paying attention to other things," said Nancy Willard, director of The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use in Eugene, Oregon. Now that some kids are getting their first cell phones as early as age eight, every mom should know how to navigate this new terrain to keep them safe. Read on for 10 things you should do.
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