Parenting Tips

Friday, January 05, 2007

Communication via Handphone

With advanced technology, the use of handphones is a common sight in Singapore. I started to use one because I had to communicate with my children but how effective is it???

Just to relate an incident that happened a few nights ago . . .

My 3rd daughter attended the birthday party of her friend's mother who turned 50 on 1/1/2007. It was for dinner and I had told her to come back by 11 pm. When there was no sight of her after 11 pm, I called her using my husband's handphone which was under-used. My own handphone was set to auto shut off at 11 pm.

At about 11.30 pm, she sms to say "Coming home now, phone low batt." With that note, I switched off the phone and continued waiting. After midnight, still no daughter of mine home yet. My youngest girl and I took turns to call her using the house phone and I even sms her using my own handphone, all to no avail.

By 1 am, I felt uneasy. As we did not have her friend's number, my youngest girl and I decided to go and look for her. Her friend's house is just near by. As expected, the flat was in darkness, meaning the party had ended and she was somewhere else. Meanwhile, I continued to call her, just to get a short beep sound and the call was cut off (symptom of low batt). We just have to go home and wait.

Finally, at around 1.30 am, we heard the unlocking sound of the gate and there she was. I locked the main door and refused her entry. To me, she has disappointed me again by being irresponsible and causing the family to worry unnecessarily. She explained that she sent her friend home who happened to stay only at the next block.

I stood in silence for 5 minutes before I relented and unlock the door. As a parent, no matter what wrong my child has done, I simply cannot bring myself to shut her out (although I was angry then). In my heart, I am thankful that she is back home safe. After some reprimanding and grouding her for all future social activities, I went off to bed. I cried for a while and decided that I wanted a better resolution.

I got up and waited for her to finish her bath. Then we had another talk. I just did not understand why:

  • she took 2 hours to come home after her sms at 11.30 pm
  • she had to send her friend back when it was only a block away
  • she could not borrow her friend's phone to call back when her own hp is on low batt

She then explained that she did send another sms to my husband's hp saying that:"Hey, XXXX got bit by dog. I send her home first now ok. I'll be careful. Sorry ah don worry." I check my husband's hp and it was received at 12.22 am. By then, I just did not know what to say. I asked if she knew that after her first sms, the phone was already switched off so we never got her 2nd message. I then took out the hair dryer and told her to dry her hair before going to sleep.

The next day, I got her to check if her dog-bitten friend was all right. And yes she is.

The learning points here are:

  • If you are going out the whole day, always make sure the hp battery is full.
  • Do not assume that after you sms, the other party will get the message.
  • When your own hp cannot be used, can always BORROW one from someone else!
  • If it is something important, it is better to call and make sure that the concerned party gets the message, especially when it is so late.
  • Better to send the same message to least 2 people (each of us has a hp and she had to sms to the one who never read messages).
  • Make a habit to leave the contact number of a friend where the family can call, in case of emergency.
  • Be mindful of the time. It really is unsafe for a girl who wears mini-skirt to be walking in the street after midnight. Even the dog will come after you . . .


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