Typing with both thumbs on a 2-inch-wide keyboard, my friends and I condense an entire relationship into 160 characters. Words are abbreviated: "OK" becomes "K," "school" is "skl" and "ROFL " stands for "rolling on the floor laughing." For us, texting has two purposes: to help friends connect and to introduce acquaintances.
The downside? The short length of a text message is often at odds with a teenager's complicated existence. Two of my friends, recently comparing their parents' punishments for staying out too late, grasped the gist through texting of what had happened, but couldn't really convey their misery until the next day when they met in person.
Here's the thing: While texting removes boundaries between friends, my friends and I feel it only enforces boundaries with our parents, who are beginning to become as dependent on texting as we are. It is not so much the act of texting itself, but how often they text that can be overwhelming. It feels like our parents are attempting to rein us in at all times and have another way to keep tabs on us. It erodes our relationship because it feels like they don't trust our judgment. Now that the texting phenomenon has been absorbed by our parents, it may soon have to be replaced by a new mania we teens can call our own. In the meantime, our message to parents: Connecting with your teen is a long-term process that a daily barrage of texts will not replace. We prefer face time and real conversations.