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Texting Toddlers, How Young is Too Young?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the combine-with-powerwheels-for-ultimate-satisfaction dept.

Communications 286

theodp writes "Toddlers don't need to be texting, concedes the NYT's Lisa Belkin, but since they have always had toy typewriters and toy telephones, why not toy Blackberrys? If your little tyke is itching to text, the NYT has a round-up of texting devices aimed at children as young as three who want to talk with their thumbs. The question of, 'when is a child is old enough for their own cell phone' has been replaced with the question of, 'what type of texting gadget is appropriate for which age group.' But don't forget to lay down the law: 'Our 13-year-old got a phone with an unlimited plan as a reward for good grades,' says HiTechMommy.com blogger Cat Schwartz. 'Each night he is required to turn the phone in at 10 p.m. and then gets it back first thing in the morning.'"

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Something is wrong with this. (4, Insightful)

Locdonan (804414) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263417)

Turning it in and then getting it back the next day? Responsible Parenting? Lies! With no kids myself, I can only offer tech to my 3 nieces as their parents see fit. I think teens is a good age, but as always, it depends on when the child can show responsible behavior. Many College students in my town are not responsible enough to own phones.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263483)

In most cases kids quickly lose interest. "I want I want I want" quickly becomes "I'm bored" as the novelty wears off and the phone disappears into a drawer.

I was discussing this with my boss a little while ago, and he said his kids destroy half the stuff he buys for them, and that when we were growing-up we appreciated things more. And I replied, "That's because we didn't have anything. I had one record player and I treasured it like it was gold." He laughed and conceded the same was true for him.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (5, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263919)

Looking at how my daughter handles things vs. how my youngest brother-in-law (a teenager) handles things, or even how I believe I handled things as a kid, I think most of it comes down to teaching a kid to treasure the things they have. My brother-in-law breaks or loses something, and he ends up with a new one that's better than what he had before. He's almost better off breaking stuff than taking care of it. My daughter asks for something, if it's of any significant cost and/or value, it could be a while before she gets it, and she may have to give something up for it. If she breaks it, it could be a long while before she sees a replacement. She seems to value things much better than her uncle, and she's 12 years younger than he is.

On the other hand, there are some people, like my wife, that simply don't value physical things. In a lot of ways, it's a gift, because she doesn't miss it when it's gone, and she doesn't really want much. In other ways, though, not valuing something means not caring enough to think about the way things should be treated, and generally putting more value in what she can get for something than in what she paid for it, or would have to pay to replace it.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263989)

In most cases kids quickly lose interest. "I want I want I want" quickly becomes "I'm bored" as the novelty wears off and the phone disappears into a drawer.

I was discussing this with my boss a little while ago, and he said his kids destroy half the stuff he buys for them, and that when we were growing-up we appreciated things more. And I replied, "That's because we didn't have anything. I had one record player and I treasured it like it was gold." He laughed and conceded the same was true for him.

What is given freely is not valued. Your girlfriend's virginity, worthless if given, of value only if taken!

Broken Aesops and kidding aside, there's so much to be said for teaching kids the value of something they've earned for themselves. Even if you end up helping to subsidize the purchase, the 10% of the price they put into it could well be the birthday and grandma money they saved up all year. It counts for something. I know I liked my first computer which was a family machine but I loved my second one which was the result of three years worth of xmas and bday funds and subsequent upgrades were paid for with the proceeds of my first job.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264795)

While I agree that kids have too many things today compared to when I was a kid and thus don't value them as much, I also know this...

The toys I had back then were metal (go Tonka and Matchbox) and tough plastic (go Legos). I could slam my large steel wrecking ball into the Lego houses I made and not worry about anything breaking (as long as I missed the plastic windows and garage doors which were a bit fragile). I took care of the rest of my toys. It was a big deal to get a 50c Matchbox car.

My parents grew up in the Depression years and weren't given to spending much on toys. My grandparents were too old and poor and lived too far away to be able to give much. So I didn't have the quantities of things that some kids had or certainly that kids have today. I was still a happy kid.

Except for the toys we gave to cousins, those toys are still working after lo these many years and my kids have played with some of them. I fully expect them to be functioning when the grandkids start arriving. The toys today are largely cheap plastic, battery infested, computer driven pieces of junk. There have been some new toys we've bought that didn't work out of the box and I've had to go in and rewire. It is much easier today for kids to destroy toys without even trying. Nothing today (except good old Legos and blocks and maybe Lincoln Logs) would stand up to the treatment the toys of my day got.

Kids have enough ways to communicate as it is. Cell phones let alone text enabled plans? Bah! Let my kids use the land-line phones in our house and learn to (gasp!) take turns and be cognizant of others needs instead of turning into self absorbed blobs of iPod tuned out zombies. If they want cell phones when they grow up, they can certainly get them then.

Are my kids happy with my attitude toward cell phones and various tune out the world devices? No. Are they happy with the limited amount of TV they get to watch? No (and I'm not happy with the limited amount of TV I get to watch since I'm helping with the school's teaching job at nights either for that matter... not that there is much worth watching these days, but that's another thread all together). On the other hand, most of my kids are doing well in school, are good at piano, cello, martial arts (depending on the kid) and haven't had any trouble with authorities. The one that is struggling had eye tracking problems that put her a bit behind and it has been a struggle to catch up - not here fault - ours for not catching it sooner.

It's OK to just say NO to your kid. Try it. You might be amazed at how useful it can be. Now prepare for the barrage of horrible parent posts to follow.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (4, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263533)

These things are always ridiculous. Kids, just as adults, aren't all equally responsible. If you teach your kid how responsibility rewards itself with extended freedom there's no need to yank the phone after dark. If you want to check to make sure your child isn't abusing his freedom you can ask for a detailed bill and check the hours, and if he has been abusing his freedom you can then yank the phone until he has proven to be responsible enough, given that you have enough patience. If you don't then probably you shouldn't be a parent in the first place.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263777)

You hit the nail on the head.

It's not enough to just set arbitrary rules and tell the kid, "You're punished." You also have to teach WHY they are being punished. When my niece carelessly knocked-over my Gamecube I asked her point-blank, "Did you do that?" "Yes." "Ya know if you break somebody else's property, you have to buy them a new one." "Oh. I'm sorry." So far the thing still works but if it ceases to work, yes I'm going to subtract $25 from her piggyback so I can get a replacement. Just like I had to spend $1500 to fix some guy's car when I rear-ended it in 2001. That's how life works.

Same with cellphones. The kid gets... say $10 each month. If she uses it all up, then it's HER responsibility to buy more time. Not mine. -or- She could learn to budget her dollars better so she doesn't run out.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264041)

Completely agree. My first phone was prepaid, and I had to refill the $25 whenever I used it up. Teaches teens not to rely on using when bored, only for important communication (ie telling the parents that you'll be home later than expected). Entertainment comes from people, not from electronic devices, and our society seems to be losing that idea more quickly than ever.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264251)

I agree. Shielding your child from reality makes them unprepared for it. By doing so you're doing your child absolutely no favor. They rely on you to teach them the world and how to get by in it. Of course I'm not saying you should teach your kids how to declare taxes at the age of 8, but as soon as you know they'd understand it you should. The same goes with sex ed, cooking, budgeting, etc. Even the horrors in life should be taught to them. If they know about the horrors and how to handle them there's a chance that the mountains become mowhills, giving them a higher chance to live a less troublesome life. You teach them budgeting = less chance of debt. You teach them cooking = less change of diseases due to poor diet. You teach them sex ed = less chance of unwanted pregancy and STDs. And before anyone jumps to the sex ed thing. Just because it's taught in school it doesn't mean they learn it. It's your responsibility as a parent to see to that they do, and in a proper way. Parents whom rely on school to be their kids primary teachers of life aren't parents, but rather guardians. There's nothing more sad, if you ask me.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264379)

If you want to check to make sure your child isn't abusing his freedom you can ask for a detailed bill and check the hours, and if he has been abusing his freedom you can then yank the phone until he has proven to be responsible enough, given that you have enough patience.

That's waaay too complicated. Prepay. He used it up, he won't send another one till the end of the month.

If you give them an unlimited resource, it's not abuse if they use it without limits.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (2, Interesting)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264645)

If you want to check to make sure your child isn't abusing his freedom you can ask for a detailed bill and check the hours, and if he has been abusing his freedom you can then yank the phone until he has proven to be responsible enough, given that you have enough patience.

That's waaay too complicated. Prepay. He used it up, he won't send another one till the end of the month.

If you give them an unlimited resource, it's not abuse if they use it without limits.

It seems that the problem isn't only about budget, it's also about sleeping. Even if you limit the credits your child will still be able to stay awake at night texting to friends. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to proper parenting.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (2, Insightful)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264717)

"... given that you have enough patience. If you don't then probably you shouldn't be a parent in the first place."

Luckily, no one gets to "choose" who becomes a parent "in the first place". Everyone's different, and I happen to have very low patience for irresponsibility. I would NEVER buy my kid a cel phone. I would question whether or not you even have kids if you think that a cel phone in the hands of a 3-16 year old would not be abused.

Kids dont need cel phones. The only people who think they do are overprotective parents.

People Still Text? (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263965)

Texting was that tiny spot on the personal digital communications timeline between "Cell Phones Become Prevalent" and "Smartphones with E-Mail Become Prevalent." And I guess I can't really say that "smartphones have become prevalent," beyond the anecdotal "everyone I know uses a smartphone now and just e-mails from it (at no extra charge)." So, yeah, give kids the ability to text, I guess. Give 'em all an abacus and a CueCat while you're add it, too.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264663)

Actually no. teens is NOT a good age. Because teens cant separate themselves from their asshole friends. My daughter got her first cellphone at 12. at 13 I disabled all texting capabilities and made her leave the phone off when on vacation. Friends call up and make the child upset with silly crap. Girls will pull the stupidest mean things on each other.... go to Disney for 2 weeks and 4 days in she get's a text that her Boyfriend is dumping her for someone else because she is not around.

teens are far too volatile and immature to handle texting. Save yourself some grief. No cellphone, no texting at all.

Re:Something is wrong with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264775)

If they have to have it taken away at certain times, maybe they aren't mature enough to own it. I'll leave it at that.

0 Years of age (3, Interesting)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263439)

There is no one too young to benefit from the use of mobiles. Though, obviously, all the old folk will claim it'll ruin their childhood. It will not ruin it. Just because it's different does not mean its bad.

Re:0 Years of age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263473)

problem is we dont know if its good either. theres no data. it could be horrible (e.g. not being able to escape tormentors) or really good (making close friends).
responsible parenting is to wait until there is data either way.

Re:0 Years of age (-1, Flamebait)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263521)

You must work for UNESCO and think its great to teach 5 year olds Sex ed.

Re:0 Years of age (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263939)

>>>think its great to teach 5 year olds Sex ed.

Sure. Why not? When my 6-year-old nephew asked, "How do babies get in mommys bellies?" I just told him straight-up. The daddy puts his "pee pee" into his wife's private area, and that puts his seed into her belly, and then it grows into a baby. He went "ewwww" and then went back to watching TV. If he wants more info, he'll ask when he's ready to handle it.

We discuss other "disgusting" things with our kids, like how to pee into the toilet, or how to wipe the brown stuff off their butt, so I see no reason to withhold the sex information either. In fact I think it's better to them them NOW when they young, rather than wait until they become self-conscious teens who are easily embarrassed.

Re:0 Years of age (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264827)

Sure. Why not? When my 6-year-old nephew asked, "How do babies get in mommys bellies?"

Show 'em the face-hugger scene from Alien.

Re:0 Years of age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264853)

OMG!!! That's how babies are made!?! You people are disgusting!

Re:0 Years of age (2, Insightful)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263949)

And what exactly, pray tell, is wrong with teaching 5 year olds sex ed ?

Re:0 Years of age (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263759)

Zero years? What on earth would someone who doesn't know how to talk, let alone read or write, need a cell phone for? No kid needs a cell phone until he or she is old enough to take a bus without supervision. If (s)he wants to talk to grandma (s)he can use your phone.

Come back when you have kids of your own.

Re:0 Years of age (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263991)

Zero years? What on earth would someone who doesn't know how to talk, let alone read or write, need a cell phone for?

To help that person learn to read, write and talk.

No kid needs a cell phone until he or she is old enough to take a bus without supervision. If (s)he wants to talk to grandma (s)he can use your phone.

? I don't think anyone is claiming that a mobile is necessary. It's just very useful. It would be more convinient for the child to use his own phone.

Come back when you have kids of your own.

It's got nothing to do with having children. The parent is not the one using the mobile. Don't twist it around so that its about the parent.

Re:0 Years of age (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264723)

To help that person learn to read, write and talk.

A cell phone is NOT going to help a baby read, write, and talk. S/he needs to see faces and hear the words clearly to learn to talk, and your reading Dr. Suess to him, instilling a love of books, is how to get him to read.

It's got nothing to do with having children

He said he didn't have kids. That's like someone without a driver's license trying to tell me how to drive.

Re:0 Years of age (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264099)

my son is almost 2 and loves playing with my iphone. there are a ton of kids educational apps in the app store and he loves swiping his finger and seeing the screen move. i try to give him my blackberry as well, but he hates it. i even call it the boring phone.

parents i talk to who have kids in first grade say that it's expected now that kids know how to read when they go to school. with computers and game consoles everywhere, kids can probably learn to read by 4

Re:0 Years of age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264425)

And if (s)he wants to fuck a prostitute, (s)he can borrow yours? You are a hypocrite and you need to learn to lead by example, instead of blowing lines and banging drug addicts with your poverty-stricken runt-dick.

OK (3, Insightful)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263461)

So whatever happen to just let the kid go outside and play. I'm all for introducing kids to technologies and educating them but this is a little to much. IMO this is just a way to train your kids not to be sociable when they are adults. It seems that more and more of the younger generation are losing their ability to to really converse face to face.

Re:OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263523)

Pfft what an utter load of crap. If I weren't so afraid of coming out of my house during the daytime I'd track you down and kick your ass for such ignorance.

Re:OK (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263529)

Cool. Toys imitating life are bad for children. Let's get rid of toy phones, toy cars, toy guns, toy swords, toy houses, to people wearing toy fashions and everything else. Toys are designed to imitate grownup life in an approachable and safe way. Children always want to do grownup things, it's how they learn and it's nothing new. Technology changes and thus the toys that imitate it change. This is absolutely nothing to be concerned about. On top of that, if one more person hears "Facebook" or "cell phone" and has to inject their own meaningless opinion into the conversation about how these things erode social skills and less people talk face to face or hang out, I'll flip. Anyone who says this has no grip on how these technologies are actually used and how they don't impede face to face interaction but make it more convenient.

Re:OK (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263635)

To be honest, my kids don't have toy guns. Guns are not for playing with, in any way shape or form. If they want to, they ask daddy to go to the rifle range or skeet/trap club, and we all have fun with guns....

Re:OK (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263595)

I suspect "losing face to face communication" has less to do with technology and more to do with parents not scheduling time to be with the kids. They toss the kid a piece of technology and say, "That will keep them busy" while they go off to do the dishes or whatever.

My nieces and nephews love their tech, but they still speak just fine with me, because I put-in the time to play with them. Is it hassle? Yes sometimes, but it's worth it.

Re:OK (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263649)

But if we encourage them to go outside, they'll end up on your lawn, and then where will you be?

Texting is a key component to being sociable these days among young people. Social skills are developed and used through texting just as they were over the phone in our generation and over at the soda fountain or wherever the hell they went in our grandparents' generation. The old ways may be best for us because it's what we're used to, but expecting the kids today to socialize in the same way we did is just as silly as our grandparents expecting us to follow some elaborate courtship ritual involving handkerchiefs and whatnot like they did.

As long as the kids are only permitted to text certain trusted people (close family members, for example) and have limits set on their time, just like we had limits set on our phone time, I don't see any issue.

Re:OK (1)

DigitalJer (1132981) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264769)

I'd agree to that, and don't have much more to add, actually. Very well put. Stick 'em outside and let kids be kids. Too much tech at a young age can just confuse them, unless they have an unusual aptitude or something. And frankly, I don't use txt at all - had my phone company disable it. Don't want it, don't need it, too expensive. "Oh", I hear you say, "but you can just get an unlimited txt plan". Yep - for more money. Once again, you have to SPEND money to SAVE money. Just doesn't make sense to me :) When someone asks me if I got their txt message, I just say "Sorry, you'll have to actually CALL me".

Skill Development (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263487)

I guess if you're OK trading off spelling and penmanship for early development of skills that they'll learn soon enough anyway, then sure. Get your toddler a Leapberry, or whatever-yacallit. (I did rtfa, but my retention is poor. I started using a web browser at an early age.)

Just don't blame anybody else when they start running around speaking in acronymese like "ell-oh-ell" and "eff-oh-ay-dee," and their handwriting looks worse than your physician's.

Re:Skill Development (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264053)

Teach your kid that it's important to maintain a high degree of accuracy when typing and you won't have these problems. FOaD and ESaD were favorites when I was in Jr. high, and we certainly didn't have texting or IM.

Of course, my handwriting is terrible, and though I used computers most of my life I didn't learn to type quickly (and with more than 2 fingers per hand) until I was in my twenties. Both my handwriting and my typing are better than my father's, though.

Re:Skill Development (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264539)

I guess if you're OK trading off spelling and penmanship for early development of skills that they'll learn soon enough anyway, then sure.

Spelling is a matter of expectations, not medium.

And having great penmanship isn't exactly critical for success in the modern world; I got an early start on tech skills and have always had fairly poor penmanship. I wouldn't trade even the tiniest bit of the comfort and proficiency with technology for better penmanship.

Re:Skill Development (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264779)

Wait, people still pronounce lol as an acronym?

No such thing as 'too young' (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263499)

If the kid wants to text, then let em text. Just as long as it doesn't take such ridiculous amounts of time that it starts to negatively affect other area's, like school, playing with friends, socializing, sleeping, growing up, learning how to walk, etc.

toddlers sexting? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263519)

When is that too young? What if they send naked bath pictures of themselves to unsuspecting recipients? Will they be marked forever as a sex offender?

First, learn to spell and write properly. (5, Insightful)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263537)

This sounds like a load of trouble to me. I will certainly teach my children to spell and write properly before allowing them to own any texting-enabled device. Imagine a generation of people who learned texting before proper spelling and grammar. The horrors!

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (2, Insightful)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263657)

Well that's just 'natural evolution' of the language. Language is not something that is fixed in stone for all etermity, rather, it is a continuously changing entity.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263735)

Well that's just 'natural evolution' of the language. Language is not something that is fixed in stone for all etermity, rather, it is a continuously changing entity.

That's traditionally due to poor literacy rates and it's not a good thing. Linguistic drift is the reason much of the written works of the English language are opaque to most current English speakers. I want people in 300 years to be able to easily and intuitively understand my papers. I don't want them having to do a running translation of "too" to "2" and so forth.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263845)

Well sadly, human beings and the language they use to express themselves in is not static, no matter how much you would want it to be. the reason you can't comfortably read a 300 years old text is bevause 300 years ago, not only the language but also the people and their mindsets were very different from today. The language is just a reflection of those social and environmental changes.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264025)

On the topic of language "reflecting" the social and environmental changes.

I would rather suggest that the social and environmental changes affected the language. By using the word "reflection" you imply that we can find the social and environmental changes by looking at the language. Im sorry, if i see a reflection of a tree in a mirror, I can tell what it is. If i look at the trends of the language (say on a time scale), independent of my historical knowledge (on the same time scale), I would not be able to say "all the yew trees were suddenly cut down" or "temperature went up 1 degree C for a year ", or "first factory set up". Slang takes time to develop. 15 years ago you wouldn't have understood "pwned, mofo". If we look at these two "words": it would correspond to some technological changes, yes, but that doesn't let us find these technological changes without further, different, evidence.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264185)

Im sorry, but I completely missed what you said there. I guess that is because 'language reflecting the social and environmental changes' and 'social and environmental changes affecting the language' mean pretty much the same to me, or are at least two sides of the same coin. Oh well... perhaps that just is because English is not my native language, which, silly me, I never should have learned in the first place in order to keep my native language 'pure' and 'static'.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264403)

Are there any thriving languages that are static?

It seems to me that languages evolve for quick and accurate communication with others close in time and space. You say it is hard to read a 300 year old text and I agree. I would also say that it can be difficult to understand someone from 300 kilometers away, both ostensibly speaking the same language.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264445)

Actually most West European languages have solidified since 1500. The pronunciations have changed such that Shakespeare would have said "toe bay orrr note toe bay," but the words are still the same. This is thanks to the rise of prescriptive education that defines what is acceptable (night) and what is not acceptable (nacht) for standardized English. Prior to that there was no definitive words, so things evolved rapidly from Old English to Middle English to Modern English in just 400 years.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263959)

Are you actually writing on paper, or typing on a computer? The former will need translation in 300 years, but the latter will be lost forever by then.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264409)

Language is for communication. When most of the world is illiterate, that's just how things will remain. It's not good or bad because it really doesn't matter to language at all.

Don't confuse what you don't like with something being "bad".

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264817)

Sorry, Socrates, but it's our ability to communicate with one another that protects us from the wild. We don't spit spit poison or fly or run 40 mph. Illiteracy is bad.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264587)

While what you say is true, we need spelling standards. Yes, English spelling is misleading — that is, unless you're French and have spent a great deal of time studying diachronic linguistics —, but without these standards, communication will be even more hindered than it already is by the people who disregard spelling rules. Think of it as "it sucks, but that's the best we got."

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263695)

When my youngest was in kindergarten, the stupid school district came up with having the pre-readers write diaries, with what they called "invented spelling".

She still can't spell. Thanks, "educators".

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263917)

I actually don't think that there's anything wrong with the district plan. There's definitely a place for allowing kids to express themselves without being overloaded with corrections. If kids are encouraged to read and continue to write, they'll learn how to spell.

My parents read to me every day when I was a baby, and so I could read pretty well before kindergarten. But I'm sure my written grammar and spelling skills had not progressed to their current state. I am equally certain that everything I wrote did not come back covered in red ink. Didn't matter, though, since I love reading, I figured the stuff out myself.

Maybe it wasn't bad schooling; maybe your daughter's priorities lie elsewhere. Maybe she's musical or artistic. Or a mathematician or a physicist. Or an Olympian-class athlete. If her spelling bugs you, work with her on it; don't point fingers and call an organizational entity stupid. It's silly.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264807)

She is musical and artistic, but so am I. I was afraid when thay started that, that it would have kids not know how to spell. They quietly dropped that program a few years later, and I'm sure the spelling problems the kids had contributed to it.

My parents read to me every day, and my grandmother thought I knew how to read, when actually I'd just had the books read to me so many times I knew them by heart and knew when to turn the pages. I couldn't read going into the 1st grade, but by the 2nd I was reading 6th grade level books easily. That astounded my teachers.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264589)

Nothing turns a kid off to reading and writing like a bunch of teachers who red mark all your work. While the person next to you gets a gold star. In kindergarden they usually just cover the alphabet and writing letters. The Invented Spelling at least gets them in the mind set that writing is a fun activity. Later on you can more quietly work on the issues and teach them the rules for spelling.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263719)

You must be new to Slashdot.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263827)

I agree that it would be horrible to allow a child to learn and use texting lingo before they learned to spell or use proper grammar, but perhaps there is a way to harmonize the two? A gaming handheld with a keyboard that enforces proper grammar, spelling and texting speed would provide children with an opportunity to start learning the QWERTY keyboard and proper (insert language of choice).

The comment by Cat Schwartz on that blog is interesting. I am newly married and will not be having children for another 3 to 4 years, but it puts into perspective, for me at least, the growing number of avenues and outlets that parents will need to be aware of for designing proper boundaries and structure. To which the children will likely retort, "How is my texting until midnight worse than when you were in college and used to steal music and cruise 4chan all day?" ... err, well, let's hope they never find that out.

Re:First, learn to spell and write properly. (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264125)

Why not teach them to text using proper spelling and grammar then?
Texting doesn't have to involve poor skills.
I have a QWERTY keyboard on my phone, and I rarely abbreviate.

can they answer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263549)

If they can answer 'ASL?' then they're not too young. ; )

Depends (5, Insightful)

d-r0ck (1365765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263569)

When they are old enough to buy their own texting device and pay their own bills then I'll let my kids text.

Re:Depends (1)

davidshewitt (1552163) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263833)

When they are old enough to buy their own texting device and pay their own bills then I'll let my kids text.

Mod parent up. Too many kids have expensive devices handed to them without having to do anything. They will be more likely to appreciate their first phone (and less likely to carelessly break it) if they have to save up their own money and buy it themselves.

Re:Depends (1, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263955)

When they are old enough to buy their own texting device and pay their own bills then I'll let my kids text.

While I agree with the sentiment (that's what I did - got a job at 15 and paid for my own cell), you're forgetting how important communication is to kids these days. In most states you can't legally work till you're 15 or so, and that's really old to just be getting a cell. It may be hard to accept, but kids are getting phones much earlier now, and although toddler might be too young, 10 or 12 probably isn't. Making your kid wait till they're 15 or 16 means making them miss out on socializing with their friends, and you risk making them more of a social outcast as a result.

Life, as people have said for generations, just gets more complicated. You can't ignore that though.
-Taylor

Re:Depends (1)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264157)

At risk of being a "social outcast"? Like some geek who hangs out on Slashdot?

How foolish of me to deny my son a phone while letting him play outside with his friends. Instead of spending that time together they could be busily texting each other about what they might have been doing.

Or worse, be like some idiot adults who have so little social skills that they spend most of their time with Person A ignoring them, and texting Person B. Only to reverse it later.

Re:Depends (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264493)

At risk of being a "social outcast"? Like some geek who hangs out on Slashdot?

How foolish of me to deny my son a phone while letting him play outside with his friends. Instead of spending that time together they could be busily texting each other about what they might have been doing.

Or worse, be like some idiot adults who have so little social skills that they spend most of their time with Person A ignoring them, and texting Person B. Only to reverse it later.

You seriously misunderstand the development of the social scene, and how tech relates to it. While i agree that kids should not just sit inside and text about what they could be doing, that's not normally what they do - that's just FUD meant to prove your point. Although some kids might do that, you can still encourage them to go out just as any parent would do in generations past when a kid was too hooked on TV. The point is that kids communicate a LOT now, and while they can still go out and hang out with someone, not being able to text other friends leaves them more out of the social circle.

There was just an article on slashdot i thought, that mentioned that when kids are hanging out texting other friends, it actually seems to make people feel more included - it's an interesting social phenomenon that should not just be ignorantly dismisses as social ineptitude. And while i can't find the article right now, just realize that this is all more complex that older people want to make it out to be. And either way, its the future.
-Taylor

Re:Depends (4, Insightful)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264359)

In the swankier part of town, I saw some kid (16 tops) drive into the Target parking lot yesterday in a Z3. That car is as good as wrecked, my friends, because there is no way that kid treats that car with the same respect that some single mom does her 1993 Taurus that is her only means of transportation and thus survival.

Lord knows if I had enough income/cash to buy a Z3 my 16 year old kid would still be getting the beater with his own job money.

Re:Depends (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264473)

One of my biggest fears as a relatively new father is that teenage cell phone use is going to be so prevalent by the time she's 13, all the other parents are going to think she's neglected or deprived because she doesn't have a cell phone strapped to her face all the time.

It's a practical matter (4, Funny)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263675)

If they're going to drool into the keys and ruin it, they're too young.

If they're going to type at me all day, they're too young.

If they're going to type at their father all day instead of me, not only are they not too young, I fully expect a call saying "Dad? Remember when you first got that Apple II and were learning to program, and I kept trying to help you? I just wanted to say I'm sorry." THEN if I get that phone call, and they keep pestering him, they're too young. But I'll still laugh. In fact, I may go buy it. They got any with drool proof keys?

Re:It's a practical matter (2, Funny)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263907)

If they're going to drool into the keys and ruin it, they're too young.

If they're going to type at me all day, they're too young.

I'm sorry grandpa; you're just too young to have a cellphone. You keep drooling on it, and you won't stop texting me about Matlock.

when they are old enough to be unsupervised (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263711)

I see many kids with cell phones not because they are old enough to text their friends, but because the parent don't think they are old enough to be on their own. Kids today don't get any alone time. They are at their parents beck and call. When I was growing up, I ran out of the house to play in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on. There was nothing to get me back home, or to micromanage my day. I was on my on to play and create. Now kids have an hourly reminder of where one is to be,and need to check in frequently from school. What is the point. No wonder we have kids graduating from college with no job prospects. They never learned to manage their own time, or complete a task on their own inititative.

Re:when they are old enough to be unsupervised (-1, Flamebait)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263801)

When I was growing up, I ran out of the house to play in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on.

Yeah, that's fantastic parenting.

Re:when they are old enough to be unsupervised (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263943)

In some places, it is just fine. Obviously it isn't appropriate in New York City or Chicago, but in BFE, North Dakota, theres nothing wrong with it.

We parents are raising future adults, not perpetual children. When I was 10, you could often find me 5 or 10 miles from my house, in the woods, with a .22 rifle. My daughter is one, and in 2018, you'll find her in the same places.

Re:when they are old enough to be unsupervised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263951)

Yes, it is. Consider yourself a successful parent if your offspring can find something to do for a whole day without seriously hurting himself or someone else, without getting into trouble and without requiring a big budget.

Re:when they are old enough to be unsupervised (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263979)

"When I was growing up, I ran out of the house to play in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on.

Yeah, that's fantastic parenting."

Actually, it is great parenting...and it was the norm when I was growing up too. Heck, I was out all day during the days with my friends when I was a kid. We ALL were out and about playing every day. We built forts, built our first skateboards before buying them...built our own ramps at the end of the street. Later, we had a neighborhood pool we all went to. And yes, we were pretty much all unsupervised. When I was really young, like in 5th grade or so, I was to call in to home from a neighbors house every couple hours or so. No big deal, whoever's house was the closest...we went in and called a quick call.

My parents both worked...most of the kids in my neighborhood's parents both worked. But we were good kids, and had fun. sure, we got into some mischief...but nothing terribly harmful and no one got hurt.

And...amazingly enough, we all turned out ok...successful businessmen, lawyers, bankers...etc. And we didn't have a cell phone on any of us probably till we were ALL in our upper 20's or low 30's.

Active kids KNOW how to manage their time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264175)

>They never learned to manage their own time, or complete a task on their own inititative.

I found that kids who do many activities and sports are very good at managing their time as opposed to those that can sit for hours with no responsability.

our neighbour's daughter is an elite figure skater and spends hours training each day. ALL her friends in that program are excellent at managing school work with skating and still managing a small social life. They are still in grade school.

I dont think free time is a bd thing and I think kids are too structured but if you want you kid to play competitive sports, learn music and still do all the rest of the things kids do, then the kid that wants to succeed will learn to manage his time.

i love little girl tits! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263795)

yummy

Same as instant messaging (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263803)

When I was in 5th grade and discovered girls, was about the same time I discovered instant messaging on AOL (back then it was v. 2.5, which only supported plain text - get off my lawn!) and got along just fine. I always wished I had a handheld IM client/device I could use while in front of the TV - with unlimited SMS that's basically what a cell phone is, and the iPhone even displays sms messages in a chat format. Age 11 might be a little late to be introducing your kid to instant messaging/sms (is there really a difference anymore with unlimited sms plans?). Sometime after 1st but well before 5th.

Re:Same as instant messaging (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264325)

When I was in 5th grade... on AOL (back then it was v. 2.5, which only supported plain text - get off my lawn!)

Don't you mean "get off grandpa's lawn", son? I was 12 before I ever SAW a computer. [kuro5hin.org]

Kids should move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263829)

Learning to move, fall and coordinate with physical moving objects is important at that age. There's hardly enough time in a day for kids to run around, learn to ride a bike or swim, skate, catch a ball, throw a ball and play with actual people. They'll sit in front of a screen to communicate with people who are somewhere else soon enough.

Maybe not as bad as we might expect? (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263863)

I'll start by saying that I genreally despise texting. It is too expensive and too time consuming for my life, and it is extremely distracting. However, there is something that toddlers with cell phones could be good for.

The US currently has a dismal literacy rate amongst children entering kindergarten. I don't know when or how it happened, but a significant portion of children in this country today enter kindergarten without even a basic understanding of the alphabet, yet alone any ability to read or write. In comparison I and every child in my kindergarten class (so many years ago) were all able to read at least Dr. Susus books.

So if giving cell phones to kids gets them reading sooner, then I guess it isn't all bad.

Re:Maybe not as bad as we might expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264049)

I and every child in my kindergarten class (so many years ago) were all able to read at least Dr. Susus books.
were all able to read at least Dr. Susus books.
at least Dr. Susus books.
Dr. Susus

-Grammar and spelling police

Re:Maybe not as bad as we might expect? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264417)

We didn't have kindergarten when I started school, and in the 1st grade I was the only one in class who knew the alphabet and how to tell time (clocks were analog back then).

Now they're starting preschool at age 3 (both my daughters did), and I don't consider it a good thing at all. The one thing schools seem to teach best is to hate learning.

I don't text, even though its free (Boost Mobile). Well, once in a while I'll text "call me" to one of my daughters.

Young Kids shouldnt text (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263869)

They shouldnt text, or even have phones. They shouldnt be going somewhere where there arent any land-lines by themselves. If they are going somewhere without land-lines or even on their way to a place with land-lines, they should have an adult with them, which would negate the need of a cell phone. That adult would more than likely have one. I didnt get a cell phone until I was old enough to drive and had a car, and I managed fine. When I see middle school- and elementary school-aged kids with cell phones, I cringe. When you get something like that at an early age, you get to where you depend on it. Texting is already becoming a huge issue in schools, this would only make it worse.

Re:Young Kids shouldnt text (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264001)

They shouldnt text, or even have phones. They shouldnt be going somewhere where there arent any land-lines by themselves. If they are going somewhere without land-lines or even on their way to a place with land-lines, they should have an adult with them, which would negate the need of a cell phone. That adult would more than likely have one. I didnt get a cell phone until I was old enough to drive and had a car, and I managed fine. When I see middle school- and elementary school-aged kids with cell phones, I cringe. When you get something like that at an early age, you get to where you depend on it. Texting is already becoming a huge issue in schools, this would only make it worse.

Even if an adult is around, kids have cells now to text with their friends, not to call for help. Tech is making the world more social and a kid who is well-behaved should have a cell-phone as a privilege. Communicating with your friends is becoming more important to our youth and taking that away from them at the level that cells provide will just make them more of an outcast. The world is changing, and you shouldn't just ignore that - some people got along fine without a cell their whole life, but that doesn't mean you weren't thrilled to get one at 16. I'm 24 and 16 was a good age to get one back then, but that just keeps getting younger, and if a kid is left out of that social circle, he's going to resent it.
-Taylor

Toddler Texting (1)

sebkul (1628615) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263891)

"Sup dog, you in your crib? Think I'm getting a tooth, my milk hole is killing me"

in MY day! (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29263921)

In my day, if we wanted to send a text message to a friend, we used an instant messenger! Or we even wrote out an email. It took time to sit down and put some thought into composing that message. None of this Twitter Trotter Twatter flim-flarn-flith. We had more than 140 characters to work with and could take the time to say something that was worth taking the time to say! And we sat at a keyboard. With a chair. Typed with our fingers instead of with our thumbs like savages.

If the little ankle-biters offer you any lip, send 'em to their rooms with nothing but bread, water, and 56k dial-up.

Re:in MY day! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264075)

In my day, if we wanted to send a text message to a friend, we used an instant messenger! Or we even wrote out an email. It took time to sit down and put some thought into composing that message. None of this Twitter Trotter Twatter flim-flarn-flith. We had more than 140 characters to work with and could take the time to say something that was worth taking the time to say! And we sat at a keyboard. With a chair. Typed with our fingers instead of with our thumbs like savages.

Puh...what? You had whole boards with keys? Lucky, that. Instant messengers? Huh.

We had one key. A code key! And we had to learn something to use it: Morse code!

Now you kids get off of my lawn with your twaddle about "keyboards" and "instant messengers!"

*rolls eyes*

Of course kids don't know how lucky they had it... (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264305)

You were lucky to have instant messenger. Back in my day, we were typing on our hand-me down PCs, logged onto Prodigy and waited minutes for typed responses on a bulletin board to return, day in, day out. We praised the day we got our 33.6 modem and signed on to Compuserve.

In case for the humor impaired, I'm riffing on the Four Yorkshiremen [youtube.com] sketch.

Consumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29263967)

With this current economic mess, you'd think the conspicuous consumption, such as this, would have come to an end. I mean, please! do toddlers really need this?!? WTF are they going to text? And to whom? Their pre-school buddies?!

Jesus Christ! PT Barnum was right.

Nothing is too young (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264011)

I have 2 nephews and 1 niece and they were introduced to a desktop computer right when they were a year and a half . Of course for them it was just something they could do while we fed them. But they picked up typing and mouse skills which I found my parents had a hard time picking up. My 3 year old nephew plays Mortal Kombat 4 and GTA ( yes yes I know it is too violent and I am not proud of that) I even got them cell phones when they were 4. According to me its a safety thing. If the question is technology at what age, I would say there is no such thing as an age to introduce technology. What we should always remind/warn them of is the misuse of technology. Introduce them to the dangers, make them responsible. In my case - viruses and porn at some later age. The same is the argument for texting. Dont text while driving, but I dont want any kid with a cellphone not able to text and inform in case he is lost or there is an emergency and lack of cellphone signal. Ignoring technology is a crime.

Re:Nothing is too young (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264093)

I even got them cell phones when they were 4

The same is the argument for texting. Dont text while driving,

As a parent, I send my six year old to his room when I catch him texting while driving.

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264117)

Off the cuff, because I'm too lazy to track down any citations, there's some evidence and theory gaining traction that we speak with an accent as well as think with an accent. The window for learning one's mother tongue may be coeval with the window for acquiring our social values and thus our prejudices. Young brains seem to abstract a subset of rules for speech, and, possibly for social values and manners of thought, from a universal set of rules, or, perhaps from a universal potential limited only by physical constraints. Much as most parents miss a golden opportunity to let their children easily acquire foreign languages during their most plastic years they may also miss the opportunity to let their children gain a broad range of ways to investigate the world. There's a innate urge to protect one's children from harmful outside influences, but it's also necessary to allow them to acquire a broad potential before the window for acquiring life long habits closes. There's no reason most children can't acquire at least 3 or 4 languages instinctively, as language is an instinct. Literacy is a very different thing and, even today, the world illiteracy rate is disgusting. It's worth remembering that a child's destruction and discarding of a new toy may mask a learning process that works at a rate most adults can only keep pace with (if at all) by having acquire "tricks of the trade". just my loose change

Hi Tech Mommy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29264155)

'Our 13-year-old got a phone with an unlimited plan as a reward for good grades,' says HiTechMommy.com blogger Cat Schwartz.

I'd tap that, for sure.

Check it out [hitechmommy.com]

Re:Hi Tech Mommy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264353)

I just hope you're talking about Cat, not the 13-year-old.

frakking ri-frakking-diculous. (5, Funny)

scratchpaper (1175477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264335)

The day my toddler texts me from the other room to tell me he wants some "gam cackers n apple joose" is the day I climb the clocktower.

Re:frakking ri-frakking-diculous. (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264511)

You keep your gam cackers n apple joose at the top of a clocktower? Isn't that terribly inconvenient?

This is great for the status quo. (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264617)

The problem is that current ideas will not be the status quo when kids get to be a little older. The more we cram ideas of today into kids heads, the more they seem ... well, "un-absurd" to them.

Texting is stupid. Thumb typing is stupid. Tiny little plastic dohickies with tiny screens and keyboards are stupid. Making them seem normal to children so they can grow up to accept this silliness is good for industry, but not good for the future.

Kids need exposure to these technologies so that they can form other ideas, but they don't need to USE them on a day to day basis. Let you kid play with one one day. Then make it clear that it's an unpleasant work-thing not a fun play-thing. Then wait a decade or two, and maybe your children will help free you from this crap.

Any age is fine as long as parents do their job (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264865)

It's not the technology that's the problem. As with anything it's lazy parenting and the technology being used to replace something a parent should be doing. With proper parenting, a child learning how to text will have a head start over his friends and not being a spoiled little twat.

My 18 month old has real linux laptop and... (1, Insightful)

CyrusHellborg (1609057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29264871)

(I didn't read the article. I've got my own opinions and agenda) We gave our son a disabled Blackberry at 6 months, and a OLPC laptop at 14 months. He hasn't gotten bored with the laptop at all. It stays on at a workstation area he chose and arranged, and he is the only one who gets to use it. I am proud of him and certain he is better for having these gadgets in daily use.
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