The recent LG U.S. National Texting Championship in New York required contestants to send a text in 60 seconds while running on a treadmill, translate text-message abbreviations and text the alphabet while blindfolded.

A 14-year-old Georgia girl, the youngest in the competition, came in second with her older stepsister in third place. The nimble-fingered skills come from hours and hours of sending text messages (in the hundreds) each day.

Which raises the question in my mind: Should such acclaim make a parent proud?

No, thanks. I want my daughters to see the world with their heads up on occasion.

But it is a challenge in a hi-tech culture. And no one wants to be left behind by a failure to effectively use available communication technology.

Like everything else, however, it is a matter of balance.

With school out for the summer, my daughters spend a lot more time engaged with a computer. I fear too much stimulation from simulation games.

So they often hear from me: “Off the computer” — followed by an unwelcome announcement that bikes, hikes and ballgames are on the agenda as well.

I want them to exercise more than their thumbs and to actually talk face-to-face with another human being.

Texting is a good communication tool — in moderation. But for many teens, and perhaps others, it has become an obsession 4COL (for crying out loud).

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