The 5-Second Rule and teen texting: What you need to know

Teens and tweens need to understand that there is never a reason for their text messages and behaviour to turn crass, rude, mean, or risqué.

 If your kids have ventured into the world of texting with peers they should know about the five second rule.

It’s a frightening fact: Some of our teenagers send as many as 50 (or even more!) text messages each day!

This is concerning because, as we all know, a text can lose or misinterpret a lot of information. There are no faces to recognise, no eyes to gaze into, no crying to hear. Kids need guidance and lots of supervision as they learn what is appropriate via text, and what isn’t.

It is our responsibility as parents to teach our teens and tweens skills that will make their preferred mode of communication easier, safer, and more likely to be understood correctly.

The ‘Five-Second Rule’ is a concept that has been around for a long time. Here’s  how it works:

  1. Teens should take a five-second break before hitting “send” to reread a message they’ve typed. They might notice a tone or wording that could be misconstrued.
  2. They can use these five seconds to see if their feelings last that long when responding to a negative text.
  3. They can double-check that the text is being sent to the correct person in five seconds.
  4. They can choose an emoticon to help clarify the tone of their message during these five seconds.
  5. They can use these five seconds to think about whether the message should be delivered by phone or in-person rather than by text.