I am a joy to be around, I remember being reminded of every time my mother would yell upstairs to me at dinnertime. “Nikki Joy Courtney, you get your fanny down here now,” she would lovingly holler. Many of us know our middle names because our parents reminded us when they yelled.
Parents today text, says USA Today columnist Ed Baig, a father of two. “Rather than yell at them upstairs when we want them to come down for dinner or to do their homework either we text them or they text us,” he tells KTRH News.
Texting, and increasingly smart speakers, are becoming the 21st century method of the residential intercom system. It lowers the decibel level, and that’s a good thing. Baig says cutting down on potential aggression that comes with raised voices can have benefits, and while a holler might be ignored, it’s easy to know where kids have their attention generally focused. “The expectation in texting your kid is that they’re going to have their phone right there. They’re going to see that text right away.”
Texting is also a way for parents to communicate without kids overhearing. It’s just another way for us to talk and though we usually wouldn’t think of phoning someone else in the house texting has become the new norm.
If there is a downside to inner-house texting, it’s the overall loss of reading facial and body language and the human connectedness of conversation. Mental health experts say loneliness is rampant and the recognition of isolation as detrimental to health is becoming widely recognized. Talking less perhaps is not the best solution.
But there is a joy in the convenience of new types of communication technology is bringing to the palm of our hand, and a parent's heart can easily be sent a-flutter by a loving emoji sent from a child that subtly says, “You’re in my thoughts.” That’s a message none of us hear too often.