The Family Group Chat

Rebecca Stanisic

Recently, my youngest got a new phone that has data and the ability to text anyone. We’ve been texting with my eldest for some time now too. But after years of communicating this way, it finally happened: We, the parents, were invited into a family group chat.

This means that we can quickly send info to everyone, but it’s also an opportunity for all family members to meme dump.

Image of two hands holding a cell phone

I’ve written before about the generational divide between our memes and the memes our kids seem to enjoy. But I also know the value in having memes to chat and laugh and get ‘in’ on the joke together.

I don’t always understand. When I had to ask for an explanation of one image that was sent, instead of laughing uproariously the way the text was intended, I thought for sure I would get kicked out of the chat. But I didn’t.

Instead, the chat sits there, sometimes quiet for days at a time, until one of us see something we deem funny and appropriate to share with each other (although the line of appropriate is blurring a bit as the kids get older). The group chat content sometimes comes up at the dinner table to carry on information. Important topics like the new Frog and Toad television show need to be discussed.

Communicating in modern society with teens and as family has certainly changed.

I am constantly texting with my mom sending her funny things I find or links to movie trailers we are both excited about. That’s not so much about having generational ‘in jokes’ and more about the ease of communication. While neither of us always want to jump on the phone for 45 minutes, we are happy to have daily chats over text.

As for the four of us, I’m glad the group chat now exists. Even if I don’t always get the joke, I get to be included, and to be a part of my kids’ media lives. As parents with children who are growing up, there’s something special about that.

Also, I keep wanting to name the group chat. But I feel like no matter what I pick they’ll make fun of me. Am I really prepared for that dinner table conversation and all the groans? If I pick something punny or funny-to-me, will it be worth it? Maybe.

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