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‘Multi-talk’ seems disrespectful

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Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013 12:00 am

Dear Teens: My daughter is on her phone all the time and I see it as a sign of disrespect when myself or another adult is talking to her. Even though we have discussed this, she doesn’t seem to understand where I am coming from. Personally, I feel that if someone (anyone, even another teen) is speaking to her, she should set the phone aside and give them her full attention. She thinks I am old fashioned and says that she can multi-talk. What do you think about this? What compromise can you suggest? — Wanting eye contact

Response No. 1:

As a fellow teenager I can understand how our phones make us feel connected to the world around us and make us feel almost empowered about our own life. However, when it comes to the matter of ignoring the people around that is not right. I can say that I agree with what you’re saying because it is all just a matter of respect and it is disrespectful to ignore your parents or your peers with your social life. Also, it is not possible to ‘multi-talk’ when you are focused on your tweets or your Tumblr, or whatever else your daughter may have accounts to. Also in my own opinion I believe that family comes first so the disrespect she is showing should not be tolerated but can be compromised. Just sit her down once more and simply explain to her some limits she will have with her phone if she continues to show the disrespect that she does. One way to go about doing this is by explaining how when she is with her family that it is wrong to ignore them but also that if this continues that you may have to set some ground rules on her phone usage as not a punishment but a simple way to coax her into putting her phone away when she is not only around you but hopefully when around other people as well. If she continues to constantly ignore her peers and the adults around her then maybe she needs a more strict limit on her phone usage but it hopefully will not have to go that far because she will realize after the first set of rules that she needs to be more interactive with the people around her. Thank you for coming to us with your issue and we really hope our advice has helped and we also wish the best with your relationship with your daughter.

Response No. 2:

As a teen, I understand the want to be in contact with your friends 24/7, but I also understand an adult’s point of view. Although parents may see it as a sign of disrespect, us teens are not attempting to be rude or ignore you. Try putting yourself in her shoes; while she is attempting to talk to you, grab your phone and start ignoring her. Eventually, she will realize what adults go through when teens are texting while trying to carry on a conversation. Explain to her how you feel; but don’t make it feel like your targeting her. Ask her how she would feel if people were trying to talk to her but they felt is if they were being ignored.  It might take a while for her to get it because some of it is a maturity thing. I went through this same situation with my mom and I didn’t improve until I was mentally older. Another thing to think about is that as a teenager, we constantly are multitasking. Depending on the seriousness of the  conversation, texting during the conversation may be appropriate. Tell her in the beginning of the conversation what you expect. I really hope this helps!


Response No. 3:

As teenagers ourselves, we understand the desire to constantly be on our cell phones. With social medias, access to internet, and texting, staying away from our cell phones can be hard to resist. On the other side of it, though, there is an appropriate time and place for everything. It is extremely disrespectful to stay looking down at your phone while others, especially elders, are speaking to you. It shows that you are not interested and the other person may take offense to it. Since you two have already discussed this issue before, now would be a good time to put your foot down and have your daughter suffer some consequences. We suggest that you tell her that if she doesn’t stop using her phone constantly, she will be punished. Maybe you should take her phone when you guys are out so she isn’t tempted. When she finally shows that she can be more responsible with this matter, then you could be more lenient and she’ll be able to have her phone again like usual. If this doesn’t work, you should confiscate her cell phone all together. Eventually, she’ll learn from it and won’t keep defying you. Hopefully, our advice will help you, and your daughter will learn from it. As teens we understand where she is coming from, but there is an appropriate time and place for everything.

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