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Dear Abby advice - Poor? Very poor!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Dear Abby advice - Poor? Very poor!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 29, 2009


Does "Abby" (Dear Abby, syndicated column by Jeanne Phillips) always provide good advice to readers? Either her own or by publishing letters purportedly written by readers?

Recently "Abby" published a letter from a woman who was worried about her adult daughter's cell phone use and texting while driving with her (the daughter's) children in the car.

The mother or "Abby" referred to it as "multi-tasking." "Abby" comparing texting-while-driving to drunk driving. Now there is a stretch for you...

Few will disagree that the daughter's actions could be dangerous.

For me, I draw a thick line between cell phone use and texting while driving. Often, cell phones can be used safely while driving. The driver must, of course, give primary attention to the operation of the vehicle and not allow himself to be distracted by the intensity of the conversation or the operation of the phone.

Texting is a different story.

Today's "Dear Abby" from "N.H.T.S.A. Mom" urged the grandmother to report her daughter "to the authorities for child endangerment."

Does that woman live on this planet? Does she have a clue what ball she will start rolling downhill, if she sics Child Protective Services (CPS) on her daughter? Hopefully, no one will follow that advice without first carefully investigating just what does happen when you sic CPS on someone.

I don't recall reading that the daughter seemed to be operating her vehicle in an unsafe manner. I didn't read that she had run off the road or sailed through red lights. Not that she couldn't, of course, while texting or phoning.

Some schools teach students to "Stop. Think. Act." That will work for adults, too.

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