I was visiting a friend a couple of Saturdays ago, the same day that the Texas Tech Raiders were hosting the Rice Owls in a football game. My friend’s teen-aged son is a freshman at Tech and throughout the day he sent text messages to his father describing what was going on, how he and his friends dressed and painted themselves, who was sneaking flasks into the game, where they sat, how pretty the girls were, etc., etc., etc.
Not having any children myself, I didn’t get it. “Why is your kid wasting his time texting his dad while partying and carousing with friends at a college football game?”
My friend looked hurt. “He always texts us and lets us know what’s going on. We’re a close family and that’s how we communicate a lot of the times.”
Not only am I childless, I’ve never owned a cell phone or sent anyone a text message. I’ve got better things to do than write “wassup?” and “chilling” and “LMAO” every three seconds, which basically makes me a caveman who’s merely learned to shave and stand up straight.
But Enid Borden, the president and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America, sees something wonderful in all those kiddos with their noses stuck in their texting thinga-majiggies. A recent study (Volunteering in America 2009) conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that the number of young adult volunteers rose from 7.8 million in 2007 to 8.2 million in 2008.
Borden gives at least some credit to all the high-tech gadgetry that’s become standard equipment today.
“Today’s youth thrives on social networking. They blog, vlog, tweet, text, g-chat, post status updates on their Facebook, share photos on Flickr, upload videos on YouTube, and on and on. In their day-to-day lives, they are on their PCs and Macs constantly.”
Charities, she said, have caught on to the trend and tapped into the teens through their preferred methods.
“Noticing that the younger population is frequently on the web, organizations in need of volunteer help began examining the demographics of this age group,” she said. “Through research, they found that young people are interested in ‘episodic’ and short-term volunteer opportunities that will fit their school and work schedules.”
From now I’ll just assume that every kid I see peering into his hands is either texting his dad to say how drunk he and his friends are getting at a college football game, or contacting a nonprofit organization and volunteering to do charity work.