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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 5 December 2021

13 brilliant rules for Mams and Dads (and grannys and grandads) who text

Beware autocorrect.

Image: Older Man Texting via Shutterstock

WE’VE ALL ENJOYED those articles about Mammy texts.

Or granny texts.

Those of us who were brought up with Nokias and Motorolas (if you’re reading this and your first phone was of the smart variety, then go away) may mock but the people behind a new educational resource for older people say that “texting can be tricky for people who are still wondering why faxes went out of fashion”.

SilverStudies.com, which is due to launch later this month, want to help those of the fax generation get to grips with all things Apple (or Samsung, if that’s what you’re into).

The people behind the site have put together a list of text etiquette guidelines. Again, to some, the rules may seem condescending but if you think about it, there’d probably be far fewer ‘look at what my mam* just sent me’ moments if she following these rules.

1. Text Back.


If someone texts you, they expect you to text back unless they particularly ask you to call them. If someone wants to talk to you on the phone, they’ll ring you. It’s good to acknowledge that you have received and read their message – even a short “Ok” or “thanks” would suffice.

2. Keep it short. Keep it simple.

Get to the point. If you want to have a longer conversation, just call them – you have their number after all.

3. Beware autocorrect!


This is when the phone makes or suggests corrections for mistakes in spelling or grammar. One word or even one letter can change the whole sentence and bring totally embarrassment to the texter. Some classics include:

  • “I’m eating your grandma out for dinner this evening” instead of “I’m bringing…”
  • “I fondled myself at the computer last night” instead of “I googled myself…”
  • “One more drink, then we’re lesbian” instead of “leaving”.

4. Think Before You Act


If someone leaves their phone in your house, don’t text them to tell them they left it behind. Think about it… And yes, we’ve done it.

5. Who’s There?

Before sending the text, double check that you are sending it to the right recipient. A common mistake is to accidentally send a text to the person you are texting about. For example, you don’t want Frank to receive a text about the surprise party you’re arranging for him.

(TheJournal.ie editor: Or something much worse than a surprise party)

6. Txt Spk

Don’t do it. We believe there are certain things in life that are best left to the kids. One of them is text lingo. Avoid words like Chillaxing, What’cha doin’?, crib (for ‘house’), ‘d’ (for ‘the’) or ‘sup’ (for ‘What’s up’).  If you do, the text receiver will be m-o-r-t-i-f-i-e-d (especially the younger ones). Let’s not compete with the teenagers: Use full words and complete sentences where possible, and try to use punctuation (this of course, does not mean that you have to lose your sense of humour).


CAPS MAKE YOU LOOK REALLY ANGRY, SO AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Unless of course, you are really angry, then go ahead and use them to make your point.

8. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeeeep.

Keep the volume down on your phone while texting. Lots of us are guilty of this one. We’ve noticed that the hearing has started to deteriorate as we are getting older, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the vicinity needs to hear every key that is pressed.  If you are in a no-phone zone, lower the volume or keep your phone on silent.

9. Period.

If you’re using voice text, such as Siri on iPhones, don’t treat your text like a telegraph. You don’t need to put in punctuation when you dictate the text – just dictate the message as you would read it. If you add punctuation, the text could look something like this:

Capital H I Carole comma would space you space like space to space come space out space to space the space cinema space this space evening question mark” (Ouch) instead of “Hi Carole, would you like to come out to the cinema this evening?”

10. Lolling Around

LOL means “Laugh out Loud”, not “Lots of Love”.  For example if you send the text “Your great aunt Maud just passed away, LOL, Grandma”, you could be in a lot of trouble. Also, we kind of like LMDO (Laughing my Dentures Out).

Also see:


IDK – I don’t know

LY – Love Your

TTYL – Talk to you later

11. Bedtime

Don’t forget that some people use their phones as alarms so have them by their bedside when asleep, so don’t text any later than you would normally call.

12. Put it Away

Probably the most important tip is to prioritise people’s company over text messaging. If you are with someone or a group of people, try to ignore text messages as much as possible. If the text is important, apologise and respond with a short text. Let’s not follow the kids down the complete-obsession-with-our-phone route and remember that face-to-face company matters most.

13. It’s a baker’s dozen….


So finally, if all else fails and you muddle up your text, you can always blame it on old age. Just a brief FWIW (Forgot where I was) should be enough to receive total forgiveness.

*Mam, I’m not talking about you. Your texts are great.

Read: A car crash caused by texting while driving caught on camera

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