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Teenage Boy Sitting On Sofa At Home Texting On Mobile Phone

by Jean Rhodes

As the parent of a high school junior, I can’t help but worry about the impending college application process. I try to appear relaxed and good natured during the occasional moments that my son checks in with me, yet my mind is racing. “Yeah,” I casually agree, “Bradley Cooper really should win best actor.” All the while thought bubbles are frothing furiously above, “Have you begun studying for the March SAT?; Have you identified teachers to write your letters of recommendation; What about your essay?” The list goes on. But were I to broach such topics, Thomas would scurry back to his bedroom faster than a terrified rabbit to its den. Instead, like a growing number of parents, I find that the best way to reach him about deadlines and such is with a lighter touch——through texts. And, remarkably, we get a lot of business done that way. Stripped of my anxiety, and managed on his timescale, texts are a direct line of communication. In other words, with texts we can all be nudging parents without being (too) annoying.

Indeed, as our study Mentoring in the Digital Age revealed, mentors are increasingly experiencing the magic of texts for imparting information and advice about school, college deadlines, and career opportunities. That’s why an article by University of Michigan Professor, Susan Dynarski, in the New York Times about text nudges as an evidence-based means of closing the educational inequality gaps struck such a chord…

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Published by The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring January 21, 2015