22 answers

13 Year Old Texting - What's Realistic?

Earlier this year we took away our daughter's texting due to issues with grades and behavior. She was up to 10,000-11,000 texts per month, and she isn't allowed to text at school, sports practice, dinner, or after 9 pm weekdays. We were floored when we saw how many texts she had each month even with these restrictions. Before we consider reinstating her texting (her grades made a comeback in the 4th quarter, and we're making improvements on respectful and responsible behavior) I'm curious as to how many texts per month your teens are doing and what rules you have around texting. As I've read from many others, we're told by our teen that we're WAY more restrictive than ANY of her friends' parents.....I'd love to hear what others do regarding rules, and what the volume of texts is in other homes. Thanks!

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Our teens text CONSTANTLY. It's the new normal.

In my opinion, if they are doing well in the important areas of their life, let them text as much as they want. They all do it. Just get an unlimited texting plan or you are in for a whopper of a phone bill.

Reading other posts: Why does everyone think texting is so bad? 40 years ago, parents thought rock and roll was bad. Things change. It's just their way of communicating with each other. When we were teens, we spent hours on the phone. Texting replaces the phone.

If some of you moms don't lighten up, you are in for a lot of battles.

However, you can use taking away texting as leverage to get her to do better in school, as you are doing.

6 moms found this helpful

Ha! My niece and nephew have huge amounts of time on their texts.. so their parents just got unlimited for them..

These texts include received texts including one word texts?

I can believe it.. I think when they figured out the actual minutes per month it was not as bad as it seemed, especially when I reminded my sister that when she was their age, she got on the Princess phone the moment she got home from school, till 11:00pm or later on weekdays and all weekend if my mom let her!

My mother likes to say "Justice!"

5 moms found this helpful

I have a sister 10 years younger than me and she can text like the wind. They can be having multiple texting conversations at one time and some texts are only one word or set of symbols.

I would be more worried about the conversations going on IN the texts than the NUMBER of texts. Get unlimited texts and save your pocket the money.

Then just limit the times she can text. I would spend HOURS on the phone as a teen...and when we got 3 way calling it was paradise. So there was a time limit on calls and phone time.

So what maybe after school until time to prep and eat dinner. Then after dinner until bedtime...you can always put the phone on the charger in your room so there is no sneak texting. Maybe all day on weekends, except during certain activities: sports, church, dinner, etc and then cut it off bit later time Friday and Sat nights?

But there is certainly no need to text round the clock.

5 moms found this helpful

I have three texting teenagers and an unlimited texting/internet access plan for all their phones. Yes they are often texting many people at once. No they do not use it irresponsibly, they follow the rules at school and other activies regarding cell phone use...they do not break/lose their phones either. They are all very good students and here's the clincher, I text as much as they do! And I love it! It is an easy low commitment way of communicating with friends and family.......I supose the phone would be the first thing to go if they had grade/behavioral problems, but the main rule is, if they get a text from ME, they had better answer it right away! I find it a very useful tool for keeping them close. I'm sure my mother would've thanked God every day for the cell phones when she was a single working mother with 5 kids spread out all over the place everyday! I certainly do!

5 moms found this helpful

Ok, my son is a boy and is a year younger than your daughter, but I just checked and he had 4,973 last month (in & out combined). He is a quiet kid too. He does not have a grade percentage under 93% in any class. He is into traveling sports and school sports and he has a lot too. He is not allowed to text at school, at sports, practice or at dinner either. He goes to bed at 9:00 so not then either. So I think it is GREAT you have put parent restrictions on her, but I want you to know it is possible. I use to read through ALL of his text, now it is only about 3 times a week; but there are so many because they text things like "K" for ok. "Yep" for yes. "IDK" for I don't know. "THXS" for thanks. So those take up a lot real quick. Believe it or not.... She appreciates those limits, so keep them and know the number is about average for her age. My friends 12 year old daughter goes through 6-8 thousand a month.

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Well it sounds like I am in the minority - my answer is zero :) I cannot think of a SINGLE reason a 13 yr old needs to text. For us, it isn't about good grades or excelling in sports or rewarding good behavior. We expect that no matter what. I understand that some folks really think that their child should have a phone for safety reason - I don't agree, but I don't live in your house so maybe for those people there is a safety reason that I wouldn't have. However, there simply isn't one single safety reason I can think of that a child should have texting on their phone or have data access.

Just my two cents :)

5 moms found this helpful

I don't have a teen but my 16 year old sister sends about 30,000 per month. I think when we figured it out it was something like 150+ per hour!!! But she doesn't talk on the phone to her friends - they text, even to say "Okay" or "Thanks" which is weird and comical to me. I'm like "Just call!" But that being said, she is allowed to use her phone as late as she wants but not during school/sports/dinner.

4 moms found this helpful

You could set time limits on when she has her phone. My friends did this with their son. They kept his phone during school and at night, he could have his phone after homework was done until 9pm with the exception of dinner time while eating with the family. On the weekends they gave him more time but if they were doing something as a family then he couldn't have it til they were done. My son does text but so far it hasn't intefered with anything. If it comes to that point then I will put time limits on him as well.

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Don't you love hearing how all the other parents allow everything and your child is so bound to home, rules, and you are just the meanest parent around.......LOL.....

I'm sure I will get slamed but here goes. You just do what is right for YOUR family. Every family is different.

Our 15 yr old is in all Honors/AP courses with no grade lower than 88, cheer captain, orchestra and active outside the school with private cheer trainer, private violin instructor, private driving instructor. She has a full plate and manages it well.

I just rechecked my 4/14-5/14 bill and she had 12,162 texts (that is 6,196 incoming and 5966 outgoing) I had a little over 2000. Thank goodness we have the unlimited texting and will be grandfathered in with our IPhones when ATT makes the change.

Her data access was 323,911 (that's Facebook mostly, You-tube, gaming), mine was 78,218 (Facebook, lots of emails with my business)

We do not take our laptops when we travel anymore, we use the IPhones instead. That accounts for some of the higher numbers.

Hope that helps you. It adds up fast.

3 moms found this helpful

T.,
Personally, I think you are right to monitor it and give her restrictions on when she can use it. There are many reasons, but a few are:
Safety -- have you checked who she is texting and more importantly who is texting her? She is only 13 after all and even though they want to be "grown-up" they aren't.
There is also a health issue with too much phone use - Kids are getting Carpal Tunnel from too much texting and that doesn't go away and can become very painful.
You are still the parent and know what's best for your kid(s). It doesn't matter what any other parent is doing - and it especially doesn't matter what you child is SAYING the other parents are doing!

Good luck and God Bless-
C.

3 moms found this helpful

Texting itself is neither good nor bad. The question is how it fits into the balance of her life. Is she happy and high-functioning in other parts of her life? If so, texting doesn't matter. (Of course, if it becomes a financial cost, that's an additional consideration.) My daughter grew up in the age before texting; with her it was a question of curfews. What worked well for us was to give her a chance to choose responsibly. As long as she was getting up easily in the morning and doing well in school, she could choose her own time to come home. It was a non-issue because we allowed her to show us she could be mature.

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My daughter will only have a phone to call me or text me for emergencies and a GPS tracker so if she's supposed to be at school, I can just look it up. Well, I can dream can't I =)

That being said, texting is just replacing talking on the phone in our day. I definitely plan to set up restrictions when my daughter is old enough and I will not allow her to text at school and sorry, but I rarely send more than 20 texts a month. There is no way my daughter is going to send thousands especially when she's supposed to be learning. Plus, she will be to tired and busy with sports, music, art, dancing, etc (again in my dreams). I hate it when people use the excuse "well everyone else does it." There are many things other people do that I would never do myself or allow my daughter to do e.g. grind up against a 40 year old man (even if he is gay) at the age of 16. Again, I may be dreaming, but I plan to start with very high expectations and then compromise only if needed - except for grinding up against another boy. Until my daughter starts paying for her own things, she can live by my "restricting" rules =)

2 moms found this helpful

As a teacher, I agree with (and love!) the moms who have told you that there should be no texting. I have found that many (not all) students who text have difficulty contributing to a conversation/discussion using actual words. I have even had to create a rule that students cannot use "text-talk" when they write paragraphs! Instead of studying at home and actually knowing how to answer questions--in class or on quizzes/tests, they are playing video games, doing who knows what on the computer, and texting till all hours of the night. (You may think you've got restrictions, but most of my students with restrictions brag about how they get around them.) I can't tell you how many times I've gotten the answer "IDK" for things that they should know. I find this unacceptable.

Hope this helps. It's just my opinion, and I know it won't be very welcomed by a few of your respondents.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm curious at the responses you will get too. I have two little ones (6 and 4) and am wondering if they should get a phone at all. There are studies out there saying that this discourages actual face to face communication... something I have even noticed in myself as a professional. I will use email and text messages instead of actually talking... so what happens to a child/teenager that does this for most of their life?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ytech_gadg/20100524/tc_ytech_gadg...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/health/26teen.html?_r=3...

According to the NY Times article -> "The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation."

2 moms found this helpful

Well if you are more strict than any other parent.. Good For You! My son would text 24/7 if allowed. But I feel you are on the right track. I personally didn't give either of my kids cell phones until they were 16 because I felt they were going to go overboard with using it. Was it difficult to hear, everyone else does, yeah it was but I stuck with my decision and I am really glad. They also lost their phone privledges on more than one occassion if their grades slips, behavior became an issue etc. The cell phone is a privledge and not a required piece of technology to live. I think you are on the right track! Good luck but don't buckle under "peer" pressure, she will survive without it.

1 mom found this helpful

T.,

All children try the "you're so much more strict than all my friends' parents" routine. If your child would be honest about the friends' rules, chances are it would be obvious that's not the case. If your child is likely to make up what the friends' rules are or are not, talk to their parents.

Even if all the friends are given cell phones with unlimited texting and internet service, it doesn't mean you have to. Most 13 year olds don't even need cell phones unless they have something in their schedule that requires them to be alone and they need to call for a ride regularly, etc.

Now that she has the phone, does she earn the money for the service including the texting service? Is she spending quality time every day with the family, or does "home time" mean "texting time?" Is she learning to do all the chores and household responsibilities she will need to know when she leaves home in five years? Does she have face to face conversations with her friends, or do busrides and other interactions consist of texting?

Studies are being done now on the effect of texting on the upcoming generation's interpersonal skills and the initial findings are not good. Having good interpersonal skills and strong communication skills effect not only friendships and family relations now, they effect career, marriage and parenting relationships in the future. If she is texting 11,000 texts a month, that's more than 350 a day and more than 22 every hour she is awake. Sending a text every three minutes all day every day means she is missing out on something else in life. Another thing to consider is the potential of carpal tunnel syndrome or another physical effect of texting that much.

I don't think there is a magic number for what age children should be given a cell phone or how many minutes or texts they are allowed. I think the bigger question is "How much access can a child have to this technology before it interrupts their development and limits their real life experiences?"

Good luck,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

I have not read any of the responses.

My answer is NONE. Neither one of my children have texting on their phones. There is absolutely no need for it. About 1/2 of their friends do not have texting capibilities and a few don't even have cell phones. They do have laptops and so do their friends, so they can IM in the evenings and on weekends after homework and chores. I tell my kids if you want to talk to your friends give them a call, or better yet invite them over.

1 mom found this helpful

My 13 yr old daughter is not allowed to text AT ALL. Never.
It is to expensive for one . For two, it seems to contribute to illiteracy. Three, my daughters old best freind texted, and would get some pretty nasty stuff from boys on her phone. My daughter is saddened and hurt by her freind's behavior with her phone. Her fingers NEVER STOP clicking on her phone, even while my daughter is trying to have a conversation with her!

Some mom's here don't understand why some parents dont allow texting... well,...the world is sickeningly immoral and the reason why many mother's don't allow texting is because they have a sense of responsibility to guard their child. If a parent is not going to step in and screen out some of the bad things of the world- why would the child need a parent?

1 mom found this helpful

my 12 year old doesnt' go above 600. She is an outgoing popular young lady, but limits are limits. With tmobile she can check her text usage to make sure she doesn't go over. If she gets close she tells us and stops texting. She may go a little over but only be a few and its incoming that causes it, not outgoing. she tells us we are way more restrictive then any of her friends, but who cares. I personally think if they have to have a conversation on text then it means they are not wanting to say it in front of us. i respect the fact that she will have some private conversations but not 10k text worth. a friend of mine said her daughter had 3500 text last month, i was floored. my 11 year old went over 600 by about 100 more so i lowered her limit to 400. when i see a consistant 400 she can have the 600 back. I think 10k to way too much...i think 3500 is way too much, but i know i tend to be a bit conservative. i also cut them off at 8pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends. i survived no phone/text and found other things to do, so i expect my children to do the same...i think phones are a tool, not a form of entertainment. does that make sense...maybe im crazy...who knows...??? hahahaha!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 14 and she texts 500 messages a day when school is in session. She has very strict limits on when she can use her phone (not during school, meals, etc.)

I would be more worried about the content she is sending. My daughter was caught sexting with her boyfriend. We took away her phone for awhile, but now she has earned it back with the stipulation that we could check her phone at any time to check to see the content of the messages. When she first got her phone back, we checked it daily, but now we just occasionally will check.

I agree it is annoying at times, but then I remember that my husband and I used Instant Messaging to communicate when we were in college, and that really isn't any different than their texting today.

1 mom found this helpful

Our 13yo does not have a phone and won't have one til she can pay for it on her own. I think it is not a necessary thing for her, and she does have access to the home phone and the computer to chat with friends on facebook and such.

I'm with Starr B. I can't think of a good reason for a 13 year old to text. My 13 year old doesn't have a phone of her own. We have one family cell phone. It goes with her when she is out and about. She has texted her Dad once in awhile and I have asked her to text her Dad for me. My husband is a police officer and we often text him rather than call him so that we don't interrupt him at work. Tell your daughter you aren't as strict as I am.

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