Keeping in touch in the 21st century

MSN messenger says, “Greece in five days; what is the point of university, somehow napping just seems.”
I watch the messages that are put on by young people that I worry about at school. It helps a parent follow the feelings and worries of their children.
I know I am not the only one watching the messages. A friend of mine whose son is off at art college told me she watches her son’s messages, too. My sister watches her sons’ messages and those of their girlfriends.
When our children are away at school and carrying on their busy lives, we often find it difficult to call and touch base with each other on a daily basis. MSN tells us what is happening just by glancing at the messages.
My youngest very seldom calls home, we do most of the calling. But his message on MSN changes almost daily and that is a way of knowing that he is alive.
Our older son is more likely to call. His name can change more than once in a day on the messenger.
Sometimes the names or feelings our children are using that day can set parents back. They may cause us to worry. But, I suspect that by putting those messages up, they are being more candid with us than we were with our parents.
The important thing is that those messages light up from their computers the first thing in the morning. Students seem to boot up their computers in the morning before they brush their teeth.
The messenger watches the key strokes and lets people logging on know whether or not someone is on the other end to talk to.
In my case, the boys seem to log on and shortly after I am told that they are busy or away. Other parents share similar stories. But they have left a message for me each day.
About once a week, I connect with either of my sons by MSN messenger, often in late afternoon on a Thursday or Friday. And although I would much rather be talking to them on the phone at the time, the fact that we are sharing ideas and talking over computer lines is comforting.
It is a trend of the present and future. It allows one to carry on multiple conversations at the same time. As I wrote this column, for instance, I found myself talking to both my youngest son and his girlfriend simultaneously on MSN.

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