Information » People in Your Life » Communication and When Things Go Wrong » Texting
Its become quite normal these days for almost everyone to have a phone and to be able to text each other. Texting is a short and simple way of communicating that is a lot cheaper than talking on the phone.
When texting was first invented, people and were charged for every text they sent with a limit on how many words could be sent in every text. Shortening words was a way of saying a lot in less words and saving money and time - referred to as 'text speak'. These days there are different types of deals with phones, pay-as-you-go or pay monthly contracts and with some there are free text messages offered so that you don't have to worry about the number of texts that you send.
- Texting is really useful for letting people know how and where you are and what you're doing. That could be arranging to meet up with friends or it could be a text to let parents know that you're safe or what time you're arriving home
- Texting can also be a good way of talking to someone you are just getting to know or if you feel shy talking on the phone. It’s an impersonal way of getting to know someone at a distance
- Quite often you can include pictures and 'emoticons' - these are faces or pictures that show different emotions such as a smiley or angry face, a wink, poking your tongue out etc. They are a fun way of letting someone know how you're feeling without writing or explaining it and are useful to indicate when something is a joke etc
- If you get a text from a number you don't recognise, then always ask who it is if you reply as it could be from someone you don't know and haven't given your number to. It might be a wrong number or it could be someone that you don't want to talk to or to have your number so make sure you check who you're talking to
- If you're getting bullying or abusive texts then treat it in the same way you would if you were being bullied in person - speak to someone you trust who can support you to deal with it. An immediate solution is stop the texts is to block the number
More and more these days the term ‘sexting’ is being used. It describes the exchange of sexual messages or pictures – whether wanted or unwanted.
- This could be you sending a message, picture or video to your boyfriend or girlfriend, receiving one from someone you know or can even be from a stranger
- Sometimes strangers are sending messages to people asking them sexually explicit questions or for them to send them a picture of themselves etc
- Remember whenever you send something explicit to someone else, it is out of your control as to what happens to it next
- You are risking that message, picture or video falling into the wrong hands, being spread around to different people or in the worst case scenario, ending up online for anyone to see
- If your boyfriend or girlfriend is asking you to do this, make sure that you completely trust them to respect your privacy. They might share it with their friends who might not have the same level of respect for your privacy or relationship that you do
- If you are being asked to do this by someone that you aren’t in an intimate relationship with, ask yourself why do they want it? What are they hoping to do with the message, picture or video that you send them? If you aren’t in a relationship with them, why send them something so risky that could have embarrassing consequences for you. If they are asking you because they like you, then suggest that they get to know you better
- If you are being asked to do this by a stranger then alarm bells should be ringing – they don’t know you, yet want intimate details or pictures of you for their own pleasure and you have no way of knowing who they will be passed on to or where they will end up
Don’t feel pressured to send anything with a sexual content to anyone – even your closest group of friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. You don’t have to put yourself at risk in this way and don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or pressured.
If they have any respect for you then they will respect your right not to put yourself in a vulnerable situation or put yourself on public display. In a worst case scenario, imagine that your parents or teachers came across those pictures or messages and how embarrassed you would feel.
There is nothing ‘cool’ about having your messages, pictures or videos spread amongst your friends, school or put online for anyone to see.