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20-40-60 Etiquette---What are "texting" hours?

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YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!

 

By Calllie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: In the past, most people observed appropriate hours when making phone calls (i.e. not before 7:30 a.m. or after 9 p.m.). I recently received text messages at 5:30 a.m. The text was nothing urgent, but I was irked to be awakened so early in the day. I realize a simple solution is adjusting the volume or setting it to vibrate. Yet, there are times when it really can be an emergency. Do you think more courteous "texting" hours should be observed?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: If you have an iPhone, you can put your phone on "sleep" mode. You would only hear the sounds of your favorites. Or tell that person who texted you at 5:30 a.m. to respect the "texting hours" you gave.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: My answer today will start with what I teach my kids, especially since it isn't easy to determine what is appropriate or not. My general rule for my kids is no texting or calling for them on phones after around 9 p.m. on school nights and 10 p.m. on weekends.

Also, they need to think about the other person on the end of the phone: Would they be up at 8 a.m.? Asleep at 10 p.m.? That's how I measure my own activity -- some people I know are night owls regularly and some are early risers. I don't think I'd text at strange hours, but I do call if I know they'll be up and I have a specific reason. Before 8 a.m. is too early, and on weekends, I don't think I'd call before 9 a.m.

There are exceptions to the timing I set for my kids, however. Sometimes my older two, especially, have to connect with friends or go online for homework information, assignments or some kind of meeting coordination for the next day. But if it's after those times, they ask me if they can, and I am usually OK with it for good reasons as long as they know the person with whom they are communicating is awake. (Of course, we're about talking teens -- what are the odds that any of them will be asleep by 9 p.m.?) As they are getting older, my kids don't seem to be abusing the privilege so I have loosened a bit and am letting them decide within reason what's appropriate. When they were in middle school, I noticed some teens who were posting to Instagram at 2 a.m. or texting in those earlymorning hours, and I set those guidelines to stop that before it started. (In my own teens, we got in trouble for talking on our landline phones late into the night.) One teacher suggested that children put all their devices in a basket in the parents' room by a certain time each night, and if the devices weren't in there by then, the kids would be grounded from using them for awhile.

As for receiving bizarrely timed texts, I think you can ask the offenders not to send you anything unless it's an emergency, or turn off your phone. It does cause quite a bit of panic when your phone buzzes in the middle of the night. It is all a bit murky, but before you try to connect, think about the person on the other end of the line.

HELEN'S ANSWER: Charge your iPads and iPhones in another room if you don't want to hear the night calls coming in. Or set them on silent mode. If it is a text marketing message, you can usually "unsubscribe" so you don't get those 4 a.m. messages.

It is respectful to figure out when people might be available to read your texts and wait until that time to text them -- not too early in the morning or not too late at night. Consider the times that people might be on their phones the most.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Alan Herzberger, NewsOK Digital Managing Editor: Common sense and common courtesy should apply. I have two answers.

(1) Professionally: We had a group discussion about this in recent years when deciding how early is too early to send breaking news text message alerts to customers who request those alerts on NewsOK. We decided that sending anything prior to 8 a.m. was too early and anything after 10 p.m. was too late. We had that discussion after sending an early morning alert that was deemed as "worthy of an alert" but not "worthy of an alert before 8 a.m."

But those times are just guidelines for our NewsOK editors. We break those rules if the news is big enough. And we break the rules if it's specific enough -- a late Thunder game score for those who want Thunder alerts, for example.

(2) Personally: The same logic applies, but the timing is different. We don't let the children call a home before 10 a.m. on a weekend day or after 9 p.m. on any day. Those are our guidelines, but just like the professional world, rules/guidelines are allowed to be broken in special circumstances. Just be sure to have solid logic to break the rule.

For example, I know my parents are up and around by 8 a.m., so I think it's OK to call or text them that early.

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Helen Ford Wallace

Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›

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