Juniors - Cell Phones at Night /Weekends

Updated on October 12, 2019
M.P. asks from Ashland, OR
12 answers

We have 16 yo twin boys. We still make them turn their phones in at 10 on school nights later on weekends. We still don’t let them have them all the time. Is it time to loosen that stance?

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answers from Washington DC on

My question is why do you need to monitor them at this point?

My oldest is in college. He doesn't like to keep his cell phone next to his bed. But he's in a dorm room - so he doesn't get much else other than his desk or closet. He uses an alarm clock because he doesn't like keeping his phone charging too long......

My baby is 17. He keeps his phone on his desk in the family room.

I don't keep my cell phone near me. My husband has a flip phone and could care less if he has it near him. If he puts more than 5 minutes a month on his phone? I'd be concerned!! LOL!!! He charges his phone maybe once a month because that's how little he uses it.

Is this about cell phones or what? Are they doing inappropriate stuff on it or what?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Springfield on

I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. Overall, we all want to give are kids the perfect amount of freedom with the perfect amount of rules to guide them into adulthood. Sometimes we don't let them grow because we are too strict. Other times we set them up to fall because we give them too much freedom.

It's just not always easy to know how much freedom to give them. But I do think it's great that you're asking!!!

I don't think anyone is going to be able to tell you exactly what you should do with your sons, but hopefully by hearing other people's stories you can begin to zero in on what you think is best for your family.

ETA - I just read your other question. I don't think it matters who pays for the phones. As the parent, it is still your job to decide what the parameters are for phone use.

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answers from Atlanta on

Mary - welcome back - you've been gone a long time.

I don't know your kids and I don't know what they do with their phones.

We don't keep our cell phones in our bedrooms. They are charging overnight. We don't use them as alarms either.

Since I don't know your kids? I really can't say. Like I said, as an adult, I don't keep my cell phone in my bedroom unless there is something going on in my life (like when we thought my dad was dying) that needs my immediate attention.

Why would they need them all the time?
Why would you want them in their bedrooms with them?


Personally? I would keep with the no cell phones in bedrooms. That's MY preference.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My kids have theirs in their rooms and all the time. They have learned (trial and error) how to handle it themselves at around your kids' ages.

They've made mistakes and learned the hard way - but have learned. They also pay for their phones (work) and so it's all been a part of it. They have stayed up too late, and been exhausted before. They were on too much and didn't do test review. It's only happened a handful of times.

I'd rather they figured this out now before it really matters - and when they can catch up. That's just the way we've handled it. Small mistakes, and we go over it. Mine are not addicted to them though. I think it would depend on your child(ren). If they show responsibility and can handle it, try it. You can always do a test run.

ETA - for us, there's also Netflix, tablets, computers, .. other devices .. so more important they learned they have to be responsible to get up for their early morning hockey practices, and work shifts (fast food), etc. That's on them. We won't call their managers.

When hubby gets in (sometimes works late) or goes to bed last, or I'm up - those devices are all off - for us, it was more when they were younger (like junior high) that we had to worry about them being up all night, and we did monitor it then.

ETA 2 - I saw your new question (which I agree, you'd do better to add as SWH here and add that to your title of question so people know you've added one).
As for as renegotiating - I don't think you need to, especially if they aren't asking. When my kids were young, I didn't do 'limits' on devices. I just knew when they needed outside time, or time to call up friends .. much as my mom did when we were growing up and were watching too much TV. Sometimes I think we overcomplicate this stuff.

If your kids don't have them in their rooms at night, that's absolutely fine. Here's what happened to us when our kids first had them in their rooms at night - their friends who had absolutely NO control, were texting them all night long. They were up at 2 am playing games and would want my kids to go on and play Clash of Clans or something. So my kids learned to put on Do Not Disturb.

The kids who were up at 2 am playing Clash of Clans? Were the kids who had a 1 hour screen time limit and were up sneaking their phones in the middle of the night.

I just let my kids have some responsibility in spurts. I don't think you need to overthink. If this is working, and they are not asking, I would not overcomplicate.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

at 16 i wasn't riding that tight herd on my boys. but my family and yours are probably different in a bunch of ways. how does it fit in with your overall family philosophy? are your boys sensible overall? do they display evidence of internet addiction? do they get their schoolwork, chores, family duties and extracurricular activities accomplished without too much pushing? do they have friends? hobbies and interests? ways of spending their downtime that's not all about screens?

every family has to find their own answer to these questions. what works for others may not be right for you.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sounds like you're doing fine. I agree it depends on the kids, but I do like Margie's response if you have generally responsible kids. So what you have to decide is when/if you change the current policies.

If we ride herd on our teens too closely, we send them off to college or their first apartments with no skills at self-management. So I'm a big believer in letting them negotiate life with teachers & assignments without parental micro-management, and also with social relationships and technology. Tell them up front that they have certain freedoms afforded to adults (or adults-in-training!) and it's up to them to learn to manage those things. You're there for help if they need it (and we did not penalize our teen for asking for advice or help). We did the same thing when he got his permit and then his license. When he put his electronics through the laundry because he didn't check his pockets, he paid. If he screwed up with the car (my mother gave up driving and gave him hers), then he had to (gasp!) ride the bus for a week. If he mouthed off with disrespect, it turned into 2 weeks. Same with not going to bed - he still had to get up and be exhausted all day, then need extra help for stuff he didn't understand because he wasn't focused. And HE had to explain to the track coach why he was "off" from not being well rested. And so on.

When he went off to college, he was reasonably well prepared to manage his own time and studies. I think that's your goal.We saw a lot of kids who were coddled too much and regulated too much, and the parent orientation folks laid that out for us all, saying our job was done and these first few months would show if we prepared our kids well. Lay out the road map for them, and check their mileage periodically. Give them a chance to make mistakes now, when you're there to prevent major damage.

If they're totally irresponsible, then take away the phones entirely. But if they're doing fairly well, set out a timeline of privileges they can earn on a gradual basis.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

A lot depends on your boys' temperaments, the way they've treated the rules and their personal property, and their grades at school.

To a certain extent, kids who never have the rules loosened a little might not have as many opportunities to prove that they've developed a sense of responsibility. If your boys are showing that they have proven themselves to be trustworthy and reliable (on time for school, homework done to the best of their ability, polite to their family, willing to do chores, for example), then you might try relaxing one part of the rule. Make sure that they know (in clear language) that because you can trust them in their various duties (home, school, curfew, etc), you're recognizing that and allowing them to, say, keep the phones on weekends. And of course, make sure they know you will still monitor usage, history, the bill, etc.

But, if you have to continually tell them to get that homework done, if they neglect chores, if they said they were going to be at friend X's house but they were somewhere else, if you have to prod them until they finally get out of bed and getting to school is a chore that makes the whole family on edge, if they treat you with disrespect, then you don't relax any rules. You tell them that until they can monitor their own behavior and earn your trust, they won't earn more phone privileges.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Why would they need their phones after 10 anyway? They should be going to bed at 10. I think you are doing the right thing. If you want to give it a trial to see how they do, try letting them keep their phones in their rooms on the weekends for now...to use as an alarm clock.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

You can't expect your young men to learn independence unless you give them some.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

16 yr old kids do not need cell phones in their rooms at night. Good for you for taking the cell phone at 10 pm. This is guiding / parenting!!! I would say 90 percent of the high schoolers I know text most of the night. I know because I ask them. Education is the priority now, not a cell phone.

I have a friend who is a HS guidance counselor in a nice middle class town and says that the phone should ALWAYS be monitored by the parent starting on the date the child gets the phone - through gr 12. She also says that most parents would fall over if they really knew what their kids watch and say on the worldwide web/social media.
One student was in a chat room with kids who were cutters. This child came from a gd home with 2 parents and pretty good parenting. When the Mom noticed the cuts on her arms, she did fall over. Every kid and in the chat room convinced her to cut herself. (Too many hurried kids)!!!

Furthermore, when I was in HS nobody that I hung out with had a tv in the bedroom.
If one of us asked for a tv in our room- The reply was a simple on "No"

The parent owns and pays for the phone, therefore, the parent must set the guidelines.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Good morning!

You know, hubby and I have been discussing this a lot. Our boys are a little bit younger 13 and 12 ( we have 2 more but they are still babies)

You know your kids better than anyone. If they are good responsible boys, straight As, sport or extra activities ( what ever they are into) and overall trustworthy.. you might want to give them a “reward”.

My 2nd born is responsible so he takes his phone to school.. he is allowed to play ( after homework, practice, reports and projects are done) and I let him play till 8 pm. All electronics are off at 8 pm and iPhones/pads etc gets to put on charge in my bedroom. When our 1st born had same Privileges.. he messed up. His grades slipped he got 2 Cs, he was almost kicked off the team and overall became a difficult child ( attitude, talking back, eye rolling etc) after he became a teenager. His phone was taken away and done! Finally something kicked in and his worst grade now is 92.. keeping fingers crossed!

My point is you know best. What works with them and how much freedom to give them. I say it sounds like you are doing a great job!...your boys are well balanced and giving them a little more freedom might be a great reward. Lots of luck!


answers from Norfolk on

You are doing fine.
While they are at home and in high school continue on as you have been.
Teens still need sleep and they will stay up all night on phones if you let them.
When they are in college they can self regulate their device use.

None of us had smart phones till our son went to college - he's a junior now and still maintaining mostly A s.
He has no difficulty in turning do not disturb mode on when he needs to sleep.
While he will pull an all nighter to get a project done or study for a test - he values sleep because we taught him to value it.
You know your kids - we don't.
I have no idea if access to phones all night will be a problem for your kids.
Access to the internet 24/7 can be a huge problem for some.
Do you want to open that can of worms right now?

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