ATLANTA, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- During this season of ghosts and goblins, Cingular Wireless is providing tips for parents that can help them better communicate with their kids. Wireless messaging from your handset -- whether text, IM, photo or video messages -- can help parents gain peace of mind on Halloween as their children leave home in search of candy.
A recent parent survey conducted for Cingular Wireless by Mediathink indicated that text messaging continues to gain popularity among parents as a great way to stay in touch with their kids; 63 percent of the 1,175 parents surveyed said that text messaging has improved their communication with their child(ren).
"In season's past, Halloween has proven to be one of our highest network traffic days. No doubt many families and friends are not only in search of goodies, but are also in search of ways to stay in touch," said Alecia Bridgwater, marketing director, Cingular Wireless. "In addition to traditional voice calls, another great way for parents and kids to stay connected is wireless messaging."
Wireless messaging from parent to child or from child to parent is a great way to help communicate the excitement of Halloween as well as to assure parents that children are safe. A quick 'Watch out 4 gblins; where r u now?' or 'Save ur candy till I chck it!' from a parent to child and a 'Home by 9. Gr8t candy 2 share l8tr!' from a child to a parent can help dispel some concerns the parent has about the child being out without them."
On Halloween night, kids and parents can also take advantage of picture/video messaging capabilities on their handset to stay in touch. Photos taken at a specific street location or neighbor's home and sent back via multi-media messaging services (MMS) on the cell phone can validate that a trick-or-treating group has reached a check-in destination pre-determined by parents. Also, parents can take cute pictures of their little ghosts and goblins and send them to family members instantly.
Cingular recently launched a program called TXT2Connect, designed to help close the communications gap between parents and kids by teaching parents to better communicate with their children through text messaging. Text messaging -- which enables up to 160 characters of text to be sent to a wireless phone -- allows parents to get quick answers to important information such as what time their child needs to be picked up from activities after school, and enables them to enter their children's world and chat with their kids in a familiar style.
According to Dr. Ruth Peters, clinical psychologist and parenting expert, text messaging is a great option for parents and kids to stay in touch because:
- Parents get a quick answer to their questions. This is good for today's busy kids, who are often in between school and extra-curricular activities or hanging out with friends, and probably won't, or in some cases can't, take the time for a normal conversation.
- Kids are more apt to respond to text messages when they are with their friends. It is more discreet and their answers don't have to be as detailed as in a conversation.
- You, or they, don't have to worry about tone of voice. Some kids automatically get defensive when they hear their parent's tone of voice, which often results in delayed return phone calls or avoidance. Texting takes tone of voice out of the mix and can improve response times.
- Texting allows you to enter your child's world. By using text messaging, parents can communicate in the style their children are used to, and become more hip in their children's eyes. An example might be a parent who sends a text to her daughter on a blind date to ask her how the date is going. "Is he Mr. Wonderful?" or "Is he a frog or a prince?"
- Text messaging allows parents to compose and edit a message before pressing send. If there is a great deal of emotion around an issue, Dr. Peters often counsels parents to write things out before actually saying them to their kids to help edit their thoughts. By making parents think about it more, texting removes explosive emotions from potentially charged communications and situations.
- Texting vs. calling gives kids more space but allows parents to keep in touch as often as necessary. For instance, it is a good way to double check their child's whereabouts without nagging.
- Text messaging can also be used to strengthen parent-child bonds and let kids know that their parents are thinking of them. Send them a text wishing them good luck before the school play audition, or let them know you are thinking of them if there is something they were concerned about such as a difficult test or a grade.
Wireless Messaging: An Industry Trend
Cingular is the industry leader in wireless messaging. In fact, in the third quarter of 2006, Cingular had 28 million active data customers and delivered 10 billion text messages and 138 million multi-media messages (MMS). Earlier this year, the company broke its own record for a text messaging campaign during American Idol Season 5, with more than 64.5 million text messages sent throughout the season.
To download a copy of "TXT2Connect: A Parent's Text Tutorial" created by Dr. Peters and Cingular, visit prnewswire.com/mnr/cingular/25194/ .