Julie Zingeser texts at home, at school, in the car while her mother is driving. She texts during homework, after pompon practice and as she walks the family dog. She takes her cellphone with her to bed.
Every so often, the hum of a new message rouses the Rockville teen from sleep. “I would die without it,” Julie, 15, says of her text life.
This does not surprise her mother, Pam, who on one recent afternoon scans the phone bill for the eye-popping number that puts an exclamation point on how growing up has changed in the digital age. In one busy month, Pam finds, her youngest daughter sent and received 6,473 text messages.
For Pam Zingeser, the big issue is not cost — it’s $30 a month for the family’s unlimited texting plan — but the effects of so much messaging. Pam wonders: What will this generation learn and what will they lose in the relentless stream of sentence fragments, abbreviations and emoticons? “Life’s issues are not always settled in sound bites,” Pam says.