Yes, I edit my son’s text messages.
Earlier this year, Hal got a phone. I wasn’t sure how he would handle the responsibility of a phone, but you have to let kids earn trust sometimes. So he was given what he calls a “dinosaur.” Yes, he can make phone calls and text friends, send and receive pictures and videos. But he can’t log onto social media sites or download apps like Fruit Ninja or Shazam.
We’ve explained to him that the “dinosaur” was a whole heck of a lot more than what we had at the age of 11 (now 12) and that if he learned to use it responsibly and proved to us that he could take care of a phone, we’d consider an “upgrade” so that he could tweet, play Temple Run and take pictures of his dinner to post on Instagram.
His texts, however, are atrocious. There’s a new language, I guess, when it comes to digital communication. You don’t need to have proper grammar, you abbreviate words without any consistency, punctuation isn’t important and there’s no regard for spelling.
Of course, I insist on it. Why? Because I’m “just an old English major,” as he says. Well, maybe a little, but I think in order to effectively communicate, you need to have your message heard and understood. I waste an awful lot of time trying to decipher messages from adults. I’d like to make sure this kid starts off on the right foot.
For example, I got this message the other day:
Well be there in a min. Hell pick me up after practice
I knew what he meant. But I texted back that lack of punctuation in this case turned two words into other words and could be misinterpreted.
Let’s just say we don’t have a smartphone on our shopping list yet. As I always tell him, you have to be smart with a smartphone.
That’s the hope of a new initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia — to teach athletes about being smart with their phones. U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld has started a program called “Project Future Two A Days” in 11 county high schools with athletes inspired by the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case.
Ihlenfeld said the case “was eye opening — one night with high school students involved with alcohol, (smartphones) and social media, how that can change the lives of those involved forever.”
The project will involve 15 minutes focusing on drugs and alcohol and 15 minutes on social media each day with athletes in 11 schools.
Is it enough to have a coach or an educator telling horror stories about what happens if you post that picture or tweet about drug or alcohol use? Can we make kids (who know it, by the way, just ask them) understand that what they post online stays forever? It can affect their future and their reputation. It can ruin them, too.
Speaking of the digital world, we took that question to our readers online, who log on each week to www.timeswv.com and vote in our weekly poll question. Last week, we asked “A program launched by the U.S Attorney’s office would expose athletes in 11 counties to education about drug and alcohol use and responsible use of social media. What are your thoughts?”
And there is what you had to say:
• Kids need to take their images and reputation on social media seriously. This may help.— 13.11 percent.
• U have got 2 B kidding. This will fall on deaf ears.— 22.95 percent.
• Eleven? How about all 55 counties! — 63.95 percent.
We’re on board with expanding the project throughout the state and hope that it has success. As for my football player, I hope someone will at least talk to him about the importance of spelling one day.
This week, let’s talk about an issue that stirring up a little controversy on the local level. Marion County wants to develop the riverfront of the Mon River on Fairmont’s East Side but lacks a key piece of property the City of Fairmont owns at Palatine Park. The county wants a trade and the city wants a partnership. Where do you stand?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.
Yes, I edit my son’s text messages.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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