Middle Schoolers, Letting Their Fingers Do the Talking
A shy 10-year-old girl who has trouble talking face-to-face with other kids has dozens of online friends and spends hours every day sending them instant messages. A 10-year-old boy communicates with his cousins across the country through regular IMs, never even considering a phone call. An 11-year-old girl, looking for a friend to take to the movies, goes first to the computer to see who's free, and only later -- reluctantly -- agrees to pick up the phone to find someone. Parents of children this age say they have been waiting for their preteens to talk over the phone line and buzz away, but it's not happening and it looks as if it may not happen at all. The land line, it seems, is just so last century.