23 answers

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)

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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.

Hi K.,

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.

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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

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.

Good luck!

On this one I'm totally the person every1 would prolly hate. Rite off the bat when she just got her new phone I told her to be very responsible with it. She promise she would guess what it was totally a lie. 1st 2nd. 3rd she messed it all up so there I locked her phone up to only family she could call and text and vice versa any time of the day. I told her that texting maybe the thing of today but ib still call it fake socialization. Now a days teens cud easily say things via texting but can't say in front of them. Its been awhile now about 3months that she don't have texting or calls. I'm suprised she's not asking for it no more. She's busy now she has taekwando classes , softball and school hw.

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.

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.

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.

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,



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.

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.


Hmmmm. First off - do you know who is texting to? What is being discussed? Might be a good idea to just monitor that a little bit. I have a 14 year old daughter and she had text messaging for a very short period of time (unlimited). I gotta tell ya, it is an excellent source of disapline (taking the text messaging away for bad grades and such).

In this new world of technology our children tend to want to comunicate with eachother 24/7. The problem is this form of communication leads to boys and girls easily having inappropriate converstaions (because things are much easier to write then they are to say). Just a word of advise... monitor monitor monitor.

Sounds fine that you make him "park" the phone when he is at dinner. It is good that he has, what we call, a "docking station" for him phone. Just because you pay for an unlimited plan doesn't mean that he has to use it without limits. Give him some guidelines - like only 500 texts a month (which is a little on the nice side). It's hard to say what will work. You either allow it or you don't. If he was up an hour after bedtime texting that would been a good time to shut the text messaging off for a week (you can do that). Then when you turn it back on tell him that there are new rules - and make rules that are suitable.

Hard to say. But i gotta tell ya. There is no way i would let me 14 year old have text messaging after what i read in instant message between her and her friends. These kids need to relax on the messaging - things are just too easy to say in "type" (in your head). Know what i mean?

Good luck.

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.

It sounds like you have a good handle on things already. He knows there are boundaries (i.e. not at the table, not at bedtime). Talk to him about the upcoming vacation and your concerns. Ask him to help you come up with some acceptable boundaries for that time. He will want to tell all his friends how much fun he is having. YOu will want him to be experiencing and sharing that fun with the whole family. Work together on a compromise. Set aside specific time that he can text all he wants. Maybe let his friends know when that will be so they might be available to text back. Good luck and have fun!

Hi K.,
I think the problem would be solved by not allowing a child to have a cell phone at all. There is no reason a 14 year old needs a cell phone. We have a "family" cell phone in our house, which is an extra cell phone. When someone goes somewhere, then they take it and can only use it for emergency reasons or calling home. It works great and you have the control, not the children. If children have too much freedom, you start losing who they communicate with and this could lead to more dangerous problems or situations.
When my children graduate from high school, they get a cell phone. I have 2 children in college, 1 boy 14 years old and 1 girl 10 years old. We have absolutely no cell phone issues.
Good luck to you.

Hey K.,

In our house family time is family time. Even the grown-ups don't answer the phone if we're doing something very specifically "family-ish." I would, because my son (13) is so prone to losing things, tell him I would hold his phone when it's not in use (that way, I get to decide when it's an appropriate time to use it).

You may want to indicate that while you're waiting in line is okay to text, but not on the rides or while you're eating. Or while you're in the hotel/house, but not in the parks. You sound like you & your husband have a perfect relationship, so maybe take a couple of suggestions to him, ask him what he thinks - maybe he'll come up with a better one or a modified version of what others suggest.

Have fun and best of luck!

Hi K. -

Lets ask this question, does your son need a cell phone? My son is also 14 and my daughter 11. They share a cell phone (prepaid minutes) that they only take with them to outings. The purpose of the cell phone is so I can get ahold of them, not their friends.

I have held of on getting them each one of their own as my daughter really wants to txt her friends. Im not sure why this is. Calling and talking would be much easier and using the computer IM when home less expensive (and easier to check messages). I think kids feel more comfortable texting then speaking face-to-face and may say things they might not say on the phone or in front of someone in a txt. Txting is not bad, but excessive anything is bad.

I would tighten up the rules. Just because its unlimited, doesnt mean you have to use it. Would you eat a whole chocolate cake because you have it and can? Go so far as to leave the cell phone at the hotel when your on vacation or in YOUR pocket so it is available if you split as a group.

Best of luck.

Hi K.,

My daughters are 17 and 13. The 17 y/o typically has over 1000 txt messages/month. The younger girl has less than 400 and half of them are to me. This is a new generation. They have this technology that we could never imagine. It makes them accessable 24/7, but too much of anything is never good.

Since your son already knows there are limits to using the phone, expand your limitations. Tell him there will be no messaging after bedtime, and have him send a mass text to all his friends. If he breaks this rule, take the phone and charger to your bedroom at night. Your son can get the phone back the next day, and read all the txts he missed.

Hold onto his phone while in Fla. He can let his friends know that he will be on vacation, and his "rents" are limiting his phone use. You can determine when he can have phone time. His friends and he will have to deal with it.

Set limits you are comfortable with and enforce them without emotion. Don't let him suck you into a power struggle. It's simply a rule.. and treat it matter of factly.

Lastly I try to remember that this is how they communicate. I don't want to punish my daughter or cut her off socially.. but there are limits to everything in life, and being available to your friends 24/7 is not healthy. There has to be "down-time" .. personal space where they can relax and get to know themselves.. Attention needs to be given to family, school, sports, activities, and other obligations of day to day life. I think it's an important lesson to set personal limits. And an important skill for any child to learn. For me this is an excellent way to show him how to do that.

In our school district, if a kid is caught with a cell phone while in school or after school activities, the phone is confiscated, and can only be reclaimed by the parent. Once my daughter was caught texting during a class, and she didn't get her phone back for a month. That was the end of that.

Good luck. It's never easy raising a teen.


As a parent of 3 girls, ages 17,15 and 10, I know just what you are going thru with the cell phone/ texting issue. It is essential that we set limits on this stuff or else the slippery slope can be pretty steep!
I don't allow any electronics at the dinner table and no cell phones in bedrooms after 10pm. I put them in the kitchen with the chargers. If someone breaks the rule, then they lose the privilege for a day. Next time it happens, a week. Remember cell phones are a perk, not a necessity for our kids.
This may sound harsh, but the deal is as parents it is our job to set limits. Our kids/ teens might not like them, but parenting is not a popularity contest. Our kids brains ( pre frontal cortex, to be exact) are not fully developed until around age 21. This part of the brain has to do with decision making and common sense! It's our job to make the wise decisions and use common sense- be the reality check!

good luck!
S. :)

Texting is not asa bad as you are presenting. I have a 15 year old and a 13 year old. My husband also travels a great deal and I am a teacher. My rules are exactly the same as phone rules - No communiction after 10PM - all phones go off. NO texting during school. No phones allowed at the dinner table. No phones during HW. When the bill arrives each month, I sit with th ekids and review what their usage has been. If they exceed what they are allowed the phone is placed on a time out and they may only communicate with family. If they exceed their bill they must pay for the expenses.

We eat dinner together every night and since my husband is away so much, I rely on my kids to help maintain the house, help cook dinner, clean up with me and straighten our home. The together time works - I trust them completely and they never violate my requests. We check up on eachother and a mistake is a mistake. Oh - try texting your son - you'll see the convenience and it wil stress you out less

Hi K.,
I'd give him a choice when it comes to using his cell for texting. Option 1 would be to leave the cell home - after all, this is a vacation!! Option 2 would be that he may text only when the 4 of you are alone together - in the car or at the hotel/house where you're staying, and after he's politely excused himself from the rest of the family. Texting is a huge addiction among young teens, and I feel it's the parent's responsibility to curb that. Good for you for already establishing and enforcing guidelines! I'm sure you'll all have a wonderful time in FL!

Hi K.. Just so you know, this is an issue for most parents I know with children ages 10 and up. I do believe that limits need to be set with the cell phone and text messaging in particular. You are 100% correct with not allowing the cell phone at the table and the phone should be completely shut off at bed time. We just came back from a trip to Disney and we made our son aware that we were on vacation and that the texting needed to be put to a halt. We allowed him to keep his phone with him mainly due to safety issues. Although he was with us the whole time, we wanted him to have it available in case, for instance, he came out of the restroom and couldn't locate us immediately (the park was crowded), etc. It actually gave me peace of mind. Texting has taken over for email but the kids need to understand that there is a time and a place for the texting. Setting ground rules is a great way to keep it under control and if he does continue to text at times where you don't feel that it is appropriate, taking the privilege away is always and option. I know a friend of mine who has a 13 year old daughter who was obsessed with the phone and texting and had her privileges taken away for a month. They told the phone company to block the texting on her phone and now she respects it more now that she knows what it is like to be without it. I hope this helps you out somewhat!


Hi K.,

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.

Tell him there will be no texting during the day. Let him have it after dinner for maybe an hour while you are on vacation. That sounds fair. It would be extreme to cut off all communication with his friends while he's away, but limiting it is not bad. Have fun!

Dear K.,
I would definitely limit his texting as it sounds like it has become an obsession. I would put a limit on how many he was allowed per week. Let's say 35 which is 5 per day, or 70 would be 10 per day. Let him know that you can monitor this when the bill comes as they are listed. Should he succeed the limit, then he will lose the phone for one month and stick by it.
When my kids were that age it was instant messaging. I allowed one hour per day, otherwise they would have spent the entire afternoon messaging.
Good Luck, W.

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