St. Petersburg, Florida - Prom time is filled with traditions, and there's a new one catching on: getting a prom date via text message.
One study by GOGII, creator of the textPlus texting app, shows 40 percent of teens between 13 and 17 years old say they would consider asking their date to prom via text and 64 percent say they would accept the invitation by text.
North East High School senior Carlos Beltran issued a pool text to get a prom date. "I wasn't sure who to go with. I invited a couple of people. First one said yes, I invited them," says Carlos.
But the 17-year-old says he got 10 yeses and they're all going as a group. "Honestly, it doesn't matter, it's still communicating," says Carlos.
Or does it matter? Other students say some things should be done in person or at least over the phone.
"Be brave about it. Be a man, just ask her," says 17-year-old Phuc Lam.
"I feel it's like being a coward," adds 17-year-old Paula Vargas. Paula says she turns down dates sent by text. "I feel it's awkward ... At least have the decency to call them, not a text message. I doubt that's very romantic."
Text dates sometimes work. It's how Isaidys Perez and her boyfriend had their first date two years ago. Two years later, Isaidys says instead of texting, she and her boyfriend Billy leave the important topics to discuss in person, like going out on a date.
"It's not the same thing as sitting down with your partner and having a conversation with them," says Isaidys. She thinks kids who text too much don't learn social skills.
"There are other ways to communicate than pushing buttons," says Hillsborough school sociologist Chuck Jadsec. He worries about the long term effects. "Are we going to have children that can't communicate, can't talk to people or prospective employees? When you go for an interview, you have to communicate. I wonder what the ramifications will be years down the line."
Some supporters say texting allows shy teens to come out of their shell and shield them from possible rejection. But these teens say rejection is part of growing up. "Even if you get rejected, that's an experience that helps build character," says Phuc. "Instead of seeing Y-E-S, you see her smile, her blush. it's cute."
There's a text message etiquette to follow when inviting someone to the prom or on a date via text. GOGII, textPlus offers these tips.
8 TIPS FOR ASKING A DATE TO PROM OVER TEXT
- Be sure to personalize your text when you ask - you don't want it to seem like you sent a blast text to multiple potential dates.
- Don't send a blast text to multiple potential dates!
- If you don't hear back within 24 hours after you've sent the text - pick up the phone and call.
- Skip the text shortcuts - type out full, spellchecked words for this one... it's important!
- If you're inarticulate, ask a witty friend to help you wordsmith it - that's the beauty of text... you're not on the spot.
- Get creative with your cell phone camera - text a pic of yourself holding a sign saying "will you go to prom with me?"
- Get advice on your phone from fellow teens in one of textPlus's public Communities (chatrooms)
- ...And if you're asked over text, be sure to respond within a few hours.
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