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Understanding Why Teens and Tweens Use Trendy Text Lingo

By Tim Woda on November 13, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Text messaging is a fairly recent invention. As parents, it's often easy to get confused about how in the world you're supposed to hit those tiny buttons with your fingers, or what exactly "LOL TTYL" means. (Hint: it doesn't stand for "lots of love.")

Teens especially love to use trendy text lingo to get their point across. All of those acronyms and shortened words are easier than typing everything out and they still get the same point across if the person who receives the message understands them.

As a parent, you're probably annoyed with the turn that language has taken. But, in fact, language is constantly evolving, and has been for hundreds of years, ever since it was created. That's part of what's so great about it. This move toward text-speak is just the latest evolution of the way we speak.

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Texting: A Miraculous Tool for All Digital Parents

By Steven Woda on November 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Texting has quickly become one of the primary forms of communication in the world today. There is a lot of focus on the negative forms of texting like texting while driving, texting at the dinner table or texting while a parent is trying to have a conversation with their child. Even though there are a lot of negatives associated with texting there are several positive things that texting can be used for. 

Interacting With the Community

Schools have started embracing text messages to notify parents of certain events happening at the school. Parents are also able to quickly exchange texts with other parents, sports coaches, and other community leaders easily and efficiently.

Speedy Communication During Emergencies 

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"It Can Wait" Calls for New Etiquette to Avoid Texting & Driving

By Steven Woda on October 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

None of us mean to get into situations where we are texting and driving. We want to set a good example for our kids and keep the roads safe for drivers and pedestrians by making driving the top priority. When splitting the focus between driving and carrying out a conversation through text messaging, safety for everyone on the road decreases drastically.

Distracted driving, the umbrella category for texting and driving, is a behavior that is particularly prevalent among the teen demographic. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distracted-related crashes. 11% of those killed were under the age of 20. Additionally, one out of five young drivers thinks that texting makes no difference to their driving.

That's why AT&T, one of the leading cellular carriers, has started a campaign to try to curb the urge to text and drive. Their campaign is called, "It Can Wait" and it tries to teach the general public that no text conversation is more important than keeping yourself and others safe while you are driving.

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Why Texting Rules: The Silver Lining Parents Are Missing

By Tim Woda on April 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Texting can be regarded positively or negatively in a household. Learn how to see the silver lining of texting and end up using it as a tool for digital parenting. This article was originally published on The Huffington Post by John Duffy.

My son George, my one and only child, is now an 18-year-old man. In a few short months, we will be dropping him off at college. He's busy focusing on his senior year in high school. That moment hugging his Mom and I goodbye on some quad a few months from now isn't remotely on his radar. For him, it's just some hazy, remote construct of a distant future.

But my wife Julie and I sense that hourglass emptying, that moment approaching in double time. We take turns being upbeat and distraught, our scripts ranging from how exciting this next chapter will be for him and how ready he is, to how quiet and dead this house will feel come September. We are both working overtime to be available to every moment with him, every swim meet, awards ceremony, late night talk, even silent breakfast. We drink him in, knowing soon, this iteration of our lives together ends.

Now, today is Saturday, and after sleeping in, I thought George and I might grab a sandwich, a frequent weekend tradition for us.

But today, he had plans with his buddies. He jumped in the shower, grabbed car keys and bounced. Of course, that's how it should be: a guy should spend Saturday having a good time with his buddies, not hanging around with Dad. That would have been my last choice at 18 too. Still, as he pulled away, I swear I could hear the opening notes of "Cat's in the Cradle" swelling gently in the background. Lump in my throat, I made alternate plans. I began to work, distractedly, in silence.

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Anonymous Message App Yik Yak Faces Backlash From An Entire City

By Tim Woda on March 12, 2014 at 4:46 PM

We have provided a few resources to you about the new anonymous app Yik Yak and how it is dangerous for tweens and teens. Now one entire city has taken notice of its danger and responded by disabling and discouraging kids from using this app. At least 4 schools in the Chicago region have issued warning about this dangerous app that is so often used for cyberbullying. We applaud these schools that are stepping up to protect their students. 

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Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying

By Tim Woda on January 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

This article is from Psychology today and compares traditional bullying with cyberbullying.

Just how different is traditional bullying from cyberbullying? Studies are beginning to show that the way youth bully online is a lot different from traditional schoolyard bullying. Teens may think what they are posting or texting is just a joke, but if you're on the receiving end it may not be all that funny. In fact, if the "joking" is repetitive, it could cross the line into bullying, more specifically cyberbullying. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics cyberbullying is the "most common online risk for all teens and is a peer to peer risk."

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Teens Love Texting and Social Networks But Ignore Email: Is It True?

By Steven Woda on July 12, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Most teenagers use social-media sites and parents are wise to it, "friending" their kids and monitoring which sites they visit at an increased rate, according to a study presented at an educators conference today.

Seventy-six percent of teens are on social-media sites, with most -- 93 percent -- of them on Facebook, according to the Pew Internet study that examined the behavior of teens online.

And the usage increases with age -- a sign that parents are sticking tight to a rule that only teens 13-years-old and up can go on social-media sites, something such sites have been dinged for failing to police in the past.

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Texting and Walking Can Be Hazardous, Too

By Tim Woda on February 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

We all know that texting while driving is dangerous – statistics agree that it's even riskier than driving drunk. But even if your child isn't even close to receiving his or her license, you're not off the hook just yet. Texting also presents a potentially fatal distraction while simply crossing the street.

In a recent study published by the University of Alabama, 10- and 11-year-olds were observed walking across the street in a simulated environment, several times while using their phones and several times while not using their phones. Researchers found that children using a cell phone took 20% longer to cross the road, were 20% less likely to look both ways, and were twice as likely to be hit by a car. Your kids safety may be affected by using their phones even when they are walking!

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Cheating Via Mobile Phone: Do Schools Need Parental Controls?

By Tim Woda on February 19, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Cell phones have changed everything in our kids' schools, including the way they cheat. The old ways of cheating (tiny crib sheets or notes written on the arm in ink) have been replaced with a new kind of digital cheating. Cell phones are tiny, ubiquitous, and easy to hide – and 1 in 3 kids say they've used their cell phones to cheat at least once in school. Do schools need to adopt some kind of parental controls?

Cheaters have a myriad of options when they've got a cell phone, particularly a smart phone, at their disposal. They can store notes, text friends for answers, search the Internet for answers, or take pictures of the test and forward it to friends who haven't taken it yet.

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