Skip ongoing text conversations in the company of others.

Texting Etiquette for Teenagers

by Christina Schnell

It may seem like your teenager's hands are permanently fixed in texting position on her phone, and in on some days you might even be right. While texting can seem less intrusive than calling someone directly, it's important for your teen to realize that texting, like any other form of communication, can be inappropriate or inconsiderate. Learning basic texting etiquette gives your teen a framework for the appropriate ways to use this technology.

1. In Social Settings

Family gatherings, sit-down meals and other formal occasions aren't appropriate places for your teen to be texting messages. Even if he's just hanging out with a few friends, texting every few minutes tells those around him they're less important than the text message, according to the Psychology Today website. Having said that, if for some reason he has to handle an especially urgent text, he should excuse himself from the dinner table or group of friends and take care of the matter privately.

2. Keep it Quiet

Your teen should set her phone on vibrate when texting in a public place. This might go without saying when she's at the movies or in the library, but even when shopping or at the gym, she should be considerate of other patrons who would prefer to go about their business without hearing the constant ding of a new message alert. Setting her phone on vibrate also spares others from the incessant click-click-click that many phones make while typing texts.

3. Texting Pictures and Videos

Your teenager must understand that he loses control over who sees a picture or video once he texts it. For this reason, as well as the consideration of others' privacy, good texting etiquette means never texting or capturing images or clips of anyone without that person's consent, advises the Psychology Today site. Texting even seemingly harmless pictures of friends or total strangers without their express approval is inconsiderate and dangerous. Texting salacious, suggestive or otherwise inappropriate media, even if he's the only subject and even if it's intended as a joke, is extremely poor etiquette, not to mention potentially illegal.

4. Sensitive or Emotional Information

Texting is convenient, but it's inappropriate for communicating sensitive or serious information. Breaking up a relationship, asking someone to prom or consoling a friend who recently lost a loved one requires a human touch or voice, not abbreviations and emoticons. By the same token, your teen should refrain from texting while angry or fighting via text. It's tempting to send hurtful texts in moments of outrage or upset, and demeaning or attacking others isn't any less harmful via texting.

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