U NEED 2 KNOW
By North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition
Last Monday, 21-year-old Nechama Rothberger—on trial for the 2010 car crash that killed a man in Brooklyn, N.Y.—received five years’ probation and 100 hours of community service, narrowly escaping a jail sentence. Rothberger admitted to texting while driving, and in a plea agreement will spend her 100 hours telling students of the dangers of distracted driving in a program called “Choices and Consequences.”
Texting while driving is a bad choice, with serious, in this case tragic, consequences. It’s also illegal in Hawaii, as is any use of cell phones that isn’t hands-free. This case is a great example of a “teachable moment,” a good excuse to start a conversation with young people about texting, driving and other important messages.
Why is texting such a big deal?
According to TimeToTalk.org, texting is an opportunity to talk to young people on their terms. More than half of teens who text say it has improved their relationship with their parents, and parents who text with their teens agree that they communicate more often.
Texting has become the most important method of communication preferred by teens in the U.S. A few weeks ago, the Pew Internet Research Center released a new survey showing that 75 percent of all teens are texting, an average of 60 texts per day, and they’re talking on landlines and cell phone less.
“Teens are fervent communicators,” senior research specialist Amanda Lenhart writes in the study. “Straddling childhood and adulthood, they communicate frequently with a variety of important people in their lives: friends and peers, parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, and a myriad of other adults and institutions.”
You don’t have to use the latest “text-speak” or “textese.” As long as you keep the text simple and short, about 160 characters or less, your message gets through in any language. Remember short conversations have a cumulative effect; they add up to bigger messages, and they can all say that you care, that you’re available and involved in their lives.
Here are a few examples from the free, downloadable “Time to Text” guide, available at www.timetotalk.org
• LMK how things go 2day
• If U want2 get 2gether and talk l8r, pizza’s on me
• Just wanted 2 say hello. Hope ur having a gr8 day!
• I’m always here if U need 2 talk
Gr8. I’ll try texting. What do I say?
Without overdoing it, here are a few easy questions to get you started:
WAYD. What Are You Doing?
WU or sup. What’s up?
WAYN. Where Are You Now?
RUOK. Are You OK?
They might say:
IDK. I don’t know
WYM. What do you mean?
RUS. Are You Serious?
LOL. Laughing Out Loud.
ROTFL. Rolling On The Floor Laughing
JK. Just Kidding
143. I love you
1432. I love you too
10Q. Thank you
TCOY. Take Care of Yourself
IAS. I Am Sorry
NP. No Problem
YMMD. You Made My Day
LMK. Let Me Know
WTH. What The Heck
TTYL. Talk To You Later
YTB. You’re The Best
PAL. Parents Are Listening
9. Code 9 – parents are watching
99. Parents are no longer watching
Emoticons or “smilies” are punctuation marks, put together to make a little cartoon, like using : ) to represent a smile. Some others:
#-) Wiped out, partied all night
There is an entire dictionary of textese available at http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php
We hope you will TTTT with your kids, help them to make good choices and avoid serious consequences. And remember: no TWD (Texting While Driving)!
The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, a project of Five Mountains Hawaii, is a regional volunteer organization committed to developing strong, sustaining relationships for healthy communities choosing to live drug free. For more information, visit www.fivemountains.org/nhdfc.