Teenagers & cell phones

This is a hot topic in our house, has been for about two years now.  Claire is on her third or fourth phone, having gotten a brand new one the first time around but it was a smart phone (but the dumbest of the smart phones, meaning the cheapest, because I’m cheap) so we had to pay the data fee of $30 a month, on top of the fee for her line.  Even though she wasn’t allowed to go online on her phone (my rules), and had zero activity every month, our cellular carrier still made us pay.  So we dumbed her phone down even further to a not-smart phone.  You know, or do you know – has it been too long?  The kind that you can only text or make calls on?  Yes, dinosaurs.  We didn’t actually own one of these, except for the little Nokia that was my very first cell phone at the age of 27, and practically all the numbers had rubbed off (I know what you’re thinking, and yes you are right, I was really slow to get one and now I can’t imagine ever not having one).  But we did have three or four models of smart phones that have been passed on to us by Mark’s cousin George.  (He likes to have all the latest gadgets, so this means that we get his hand-me-downs – which I LOVE).  But since they were all smart, they wouldn’t work for her purpose either.  So she had to buy one.  You would think being so not-technologically-advanced would make these phones super cheap.  That isn’t the case though, so she ended up using her own money on a $79 model from the mall.

But she is still young, and not completely mature enough to handle such responsibility without having proper boundaries set.  So we set some.  Here are some of them, and every one is exempt if it’s a parent or grandparent:

* No cell phone after 8pm.

* The phone stays downstairs when it’s bedtime.

* All contacts have to be listed with first and last names, not nicknames.

* No messages can be deleted by anyone but Mom or Mark (this way we can go on the account and make sure there aren’t any missing, which would imply she has something to hide).

* No friends can borrow the phone unless it is to be used for calling a parent.

* Cell phone is a privilege, not a right and can be taken away at any time as punishment for bad behavior.

Obviously, I am not fooling around here.

Text messaging is not helping the children learn to spell though.  Thankfully Claire has always been a very bright child, so she is an awesome speller.  So when I read her texts that say “OMG ima hungry! hbu? kk, i lhove yhu!” I don’t worry so much.

Translation:  “Oh my gosh, I am hungry! how about you? Ok, I love you!”

The “h” being added to love and you is thanks to Lady Gaga – (sing it) “I’ve got a reason that yu-huu should take me home!”

Lately though, there have been times where I worry that I am the only parent still making rules for their teenager in this world.  Please reassure me I am wrong!

Most of Claire’s friends have a facebook account – I’m not sure I’ll be allowing that before she turns 18, and I’m totally serious.

Claire’s friends text and call at all hours of the day and night – She is only allowed to text between the hours of 7am and 8pm.  (7am might sound early but you have no idea how many texts it takes between 3 or 4 friends in the morning to decide what they are all wearing that day, they have to start early!).

The other night, a friend called her at 9:15 right as she was heading upstairs to go to bed.  Of course she wasn’t allowed to answer but I was like, “Geez, am I the only parent that has rules anymore?” and Claire responded, “Pretty much!”.  Well, I am fine with that.  I mean, being the rulemaker.  But I am not fine with other parents letting their kids have full reign of their young lives, when they are nowhere near ready for that kind of responsibility.  If they are too young to fully comprehend the consequences of each decision they make, then they need to be guided toward making the RIGHT decision.


Okay, enough, I will climb down off my soap box now.  Besides, Enzo just threw all the toys on the floor that he was playing with in his high chair.  So I need to go see how else I can make my sweet baby happy!  Maybe we’ll turn on some Christmas music and dance around the living room, he likes to dance.

Happy Friday!


(P.S. Have you seen the previews for that new sitcom called “I hate my teenage daughter“?  Besides the horrible title, it looks like it will be pretty hilarious.  Might be hulu’ing that one.)

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