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Teaching Teens Proper Methods: A Realistic Approach to Texting and Driving

Jun 05, 2013 6:43 pm
Shayne By Shayne
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It's everywhere.

The self-righteous and santimonious have put up their "Don't Text and Drive" paraphernalia all over billboards, bumper stickers, and tv commercials. "It can wait", other self-appointed life coaches tell us. While in my expert opinion I would concur that the only way to be truly safe is to not text and drive, there is just one problem with that approach...the reality of human nature.

We humans are textual beings, and it is no more healthy or sensible to deny this urge than we would the urge to breath. The teen years are especially expressive of this facet of our being. Parents must remember that they too were once teens, and despite their best intentions, must realize that there is truly no way to stop this natural impulse.

Let's be honest, even if parents try to stop their teens from texting-and-driving, the teens are just going to do it behind their backs. All educated people must therefore agree with me when I modestly propose that the only solution is to teach our teens the proper methods.

Case in point, if teen Rosa wants to text her bff Nicki the following, 'omg lmao i changed my fb status at da last red lite', nothing is going to stop her in the heat of the moment. The only question is if she will do so with the protection of proper methods or take an unnecessary risk.

Studies have shown that texting-and-driving is the safest when Rosa enters no more than 2 characters at a time, with the exception of common acronyms such as wtf, the texting of which teens have perfected through frequent use. After the 1-2 characters or the like are entered, Rosa should then glance at the road, making sure that the person in front of her has not slammed on their brakes for a squirrel (a good behavior as well!). If all is well, Rosa may continue her careful yet steady progress toward her important text to Nicki. Most experts also recommend with every third of fourth iteration, dependent on the skill of the texter, that there should be 3-7 second observance of stop signs, traffic lights, and other drivers. The risk which these people bear is minimal if the texter is using proper methods, and after all, they chose to engage in the act themselves, but it is still good to care for others and be the change in the world that you want to see.

Having just given you a summary of some of the most basic ways to stay safe while smsing at 75 mph, don't get the silly idea that this is all there is to text-and-drive safety. The details and curriculum of this education initiative must be fleshed out by the precious interchange between teachers, concerned students, and advisory boards. Yes, this is too grave of a task to leave to individual parents, many of which are still clinging to archaic notions as previously described.

We need government programs and mandates to educate all of our teens. Studies show that for every $1 spent on texting-and-driving education, society saves $12 in a cornucopia of benefits including lower car insurance premiums, lower emergency room bills, and higher self-esteem. Given the current economic downturn resulting from too much spending and credit, it follows that we must stimulate by borrowing money and spending it on this education...then we will, on one glorious future day, rake in the total windfall of benefits!

So tell the school board in your district that you want your 5th graders to be taught proper texting-and-driving, just as they are taught math and history. Yes, we know that particular age is too young for driving, but you would be surprised how early some kids start, and they are probably already texting in their own way, just not the same as teens and adults do. It is never too early to teach them the right way to do so. Studies have proven beyond any reasonable counter-argument that even if we show them a video of people texting and driving and teach them all the vivid details, this will not increase their urge to do so. They will in fact be more likely to wait until the proper age.

If your teen already is the proper age, the only advice I can give you is, and imagine that this is texted from my phone while driving no less, 'omg u best b gettin dem sum txt n drive edecashun!'.

Shayne works as a staff writer at BOC because he wants to change the world one heart at a time through the rainbow power of social media. He does not wear shoes outdoors because he is afraid it will hurt the grass. He would like to apologize to everyone for the offenses of male gender and the caucasian race, and would like to remind everyone to "watch those slurs!".

More articles from Shayne:
Mike Rice and Men, will they ever learn?

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