K.E. asks from Manlius, NY on March 25, 2008
Need Texting Rules for 14 Year Old, Please....
My 14 year old son has become obsessed with texting. We have a plan that allows unlimited text messaging, and he seems to take that seriously. So far, we've imposed the rules that no phones can be brought to the table and that he must leave his phone charging downstairs when he goes to bed (after we discovered that he was texting an hour past his bedtime). We will go to Florida to visit his grandparents soon, and go to a theme park while we are there. I want him to enjoy the moments that he would miss if we don't limit his texting. In general, though, I need to provide guidance in uncharted territory for me. I would love to know what is acceptable and unacceptable regarding text messaging. (Having monitored who he is texting with....it's several of the 14 year old girls who he is friends with..."No really, UR not ____" insert whatever self esteem issue she is dealing with...very innocent, but very late)
1 mom found this helpful
L.P. answers from New York on March 26, 2008
K....I would allow the cell phone after visiting with his grandparents and after the park....he is not allowed to take it with him when you go to either place. As far as moitoring the texting...they do become smart and simply erase the messages, however, I see nothing wrong with reading the texts in order to know what he is saying....good luck.
B.C. answers from New York on March 26, 2008
I can relate. I have two girls, 17 and 21 and have faced the same problem. I insist that there are no phones at the table, and here's what I suggest for you at the theme park.
He needs to leave the phone in the hotel, or wherever you are staying. If he is there with his family, he does not need to be communicating with his friends. The time for that can be when you are back taking showers, watching tv, or even by the pool would be ok for me. No phones at mealtime or other family time, which includes while he's supposed to be interacting with his family and enjoying new experiences. - B.
C.F. answers from New York on March 25, 2008
I know this is not exactly what you were asking for but, if there is any way to print out the texts, I would look into that. I know so many people between 12-17 whose text messages would cause danger, harm or just trouble in general. Maybe that's why he's using it all the time and always wants it on him. I don't even know if that's possible but it's just a suggestion (especially if he is using it late at night) Other then that I don't think there's anything wrong with texting, You definitely have the right to tell him when and where he can have it though (especially on vacation). Why don't you say you don't want to bring anything valuable to the theme park just in case it gets lost or stolen (I've had that happen to my cell phone at a zoo) This is something he may understand. And as far as visiting his grandparents: tell him that you know the the people on the other end of the phone are important to him, but that he is important to his family and that you want his attention as much as his friends do. I hope that helps a little. Hope you all have fun on vacation
G.P. answers from Utica on March 25, 2008
My husband works for Verizon Wireless - there is no way to print out text messages but I am not sure about other companies. You should be able to block text messaging - either online or by calling customer service.
As far as rules or guidelines - it is all up to you - what you are comfortable with. If it was me - and I was going on a vacation - I would only allow it at certain times of day. I would make him leave the phone in a desiganted spot. I would only allow him to use it during "down time". That way he wouldn't be worried about sending messages instead of spending time with the grandparents or enjoying the beautiful Florida weather or having fun at the theme park.
Texting can be fun - I use text messaging all the time. But as a parent - it can also be frustrating. There is no way to know what they are saying on texts unless they haven't deleted them off the phone yet. I can at least go into the online billing and view the date, time and number of the phones any of us are texting with. You can at least check that he's not sneaking to use his phone late at night that way.
If you need help with that I would be glad to help you.
T.S. answers from Elmira on March 26, 2008
I have a 13 year old daughter and can relate to what your going through. I learned that I could lock her texting, so that is what I did. I also learned that was a way I could monitor what was being text to her at least. In order for her to receive her text she would come to me to unlock it. We just came back from a vacation and I was shocked when she hardly used her phone at all. I guess the busier you keep them the harder it is for them to find time to use it. Also with a lock on the texting it also frustrates them and they tend to leave the phone behind then.
T.M. answers from Utica on March 26, 2008
you can make an agreement with your teen that everyone leaves their cells at home while doing family fun activities. Only one phone be taken for emergency purposes, and that when you get back from the outing or function that the phone can be retrieved. Or call your carrier and have the texting blocked while on vacation. even with unlimited texting you can still block the texting abilities from one line.
Of course you could also make him make choices of texting and missing the activities or not texting and participating.
different options. alot depends on the child and what your priorities are.
N.K. answers from New York on March 26, 2008
First , lower his texting plan. there are plans that have a limited amoputn of texting. Second, he Does Not need to have his phone with him while on vacation!!! What is he going to miss? Third, if he abuses phone priviliges, take it away! As for the night calls, take the phone away at a certain hour and give it back in the am My son is 11 and the second I see overuse of calls or texts made ---which has only happened once, the phone gets taken away for a week. A cell phone at this age is not a necessity but a privilige.
M.K. answers from New York on March 25, 2008
I would say that you lay down the LAW, if he doesn't obey he loses his phone privlidges,
What that means for you is, assigning a Pick up time,
making sure he has quarters for the phone booth,
making sure to monitor him more closely, and realizing that you cannot get intouch with him when ever you'd like
For him it means not being in constant contact with friends,
and the inconvience of having to do it the old fashioned way.
WHAT i do is give my son MY cell phone, so that i can reach him, if i need to,
He has a pre paid phone which limits the incoming and outgoing calls. this really makes my son limit who is being called, and who he gives his number too.
I really find that its in everyones best intrest,
because I don't have the constant calls, and interuptions.Or distractions.
and I still have the access to my child when i need it, as he has the phone for Emergencies only,
The really key is making sure they know how to limit phone calls and manage their time.
ITs very helpful in many ways,
M.S. answers from Elmira on March 26, 2008
Does he help pay for the plan such as giving money or doing chores to help with this bill? I would give him a time limit on being on the phone like you would with tv watching or playing wii.Tell him he is lucky-as my 14 year old doesn't have a cell phone since it's not a neccessity for her.Why would he need a cell phone at the grandparents or a theme park? Leave it in the hotel for sure.If he is "sneaking" texting-explain that there are consequences to all of our actions.I think that is some of what is wrong with the world today.Noone holds people accountable for their actions or blame someone/something for their behavior without taking any personal responsibiltiy. Give him life examples on how you and your husband have to obey rules whether you like them or not. Such as the speed limit or work related issues. Sometimes it helps when we give true examples instead of just saying "because I said so". Not that we all don't say that-as a mother of 5 children, I have my time or two. You seem to have a supportive husband which some don't have-consider yourself blessed. Good luck and asking for help is a good start.
S.H. answers from Albany on March 26, 2008
Cell phones have become a real plague. Think about the health aspect of what these phones are doing to our children and anyone else around them. 30 seconds with the phone next to the head and the brain starts to heat up. Not good for anyone but especially not children and teens since they're still in a development stage. Hope he has some EMF protection on it. We all have cell phones but we all have protectors on them and although this doesn't answer your question, it's something to think about. If you've never heard of it, email me and I'll send you some info about that. I damaged myself by talking on a cordless phone too long.
You're not out of line to make him leave his phone behind on a family outing to a theme park. Of course it might fall out of his pocket and break when he's upside down on a ride and your problem will be solved.