Updated on September 28, 2011
H.R. asks from Fairbanks, AK
26 answers

I have a 14 year old girl who I foolishly gave a cell phone to. The only reason I gave it to her was so that if I needed to reach her, I could. Her siblings who have cell phones do Not have this same problem.
Whenever I call her, she can't seem to get my calls (maybe she selectively doesn't answer?). Yet she can always be reached by her friends. She seems to be texting ALL the time. It is getting nuts. I saw a few times she had it hidden under her leg at the dinner table texting, until I took her phone away. She can't stop, I think she is addicted. I saw the phone bill and almost had a heart attack, 1584 texts in one month !!?? This is insane. I can't understand why kids cannot just TALK on the phone like we used to - why the fascination with texting ? You could speak what you want to say 1,000 times faster then typing it. I personally feel it makes teens more withdrawn; not even able to have real conversations when they do come face to face (well thats another discussion in itself).

I would like to know what you have tried/used - some method/idea to control the texting. Do you let them do it only during certain hours of the day ? Do you let them only do a certain amount of texts daily ? Currently I take her phone away at 9:00 PM, so its not in her room, but that hasn't deterred her - she was texting from 3:30 PM (after school) till 8:30 PM until I ripped the phone away from her. This is seriously a problem - I need some ideas on how to control it without taking it away entirely (since I know she has friends she wants to stay in touch with, yet there has to be some limits here).

Thanks for any ideas and things that have worked for you.....

Just to add: She is a 9th grader (in high school, first year) has straight A's so far. Not involved in any extracurricular activities at the moment. We have T-Mobile (and I have the unlimited texting on the phones, 3,000 minutes for all four cell phones 'Family EMPlus3000TT' - my bill this month is $ 129.91, not too happy about that) and I think the coverage of T-mobile is awful, so I am looking for something else. I heard about Virgin Mobile, may look into that. Anyways, I don't know what an 'average' amount of texts are, but it seems that she is always doing it and nothing else, so therefore I see it as a problem.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

Texting is what teens do. Talking is not "cool". You're not going to get her to stop unless you take the phone away. What I did was I got my daughter a T-mobile pre-paid phone with an unlimited texting plan. It cost $15.00 a month and she can text her little heart out. Calls are 10 cents a minute, but she is only allowed to call immediate family and only when she absolutely needs to. She's fully aware that she is not to text in school, and if she does and gets caught I will back the administration with whatever the consequences are. She is also not allowed to have the phone anywhere that a phone call would be inappropriate for anyone, including the dinner table. If she doesn't follow the rules I can have the phone blocked so she can't use it. I have only had to do that once, and she got the message loud and clear. If you want to research pre-paid plans, I would recommend T-mobile or Virgin mobile. We've had both and I find the T-mobile plan better, but it's worth looking into. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My 13 yo has over 5000 text per month. I think this is pretty typical. I worry more about carpal tunnel though. Sorry I have no suggestions but I would not appreciate it at all if my daughter did not answer my calls either.

My daughter must maintain at least a B average or the texting is shut off. She really doesn't like this... Very motivating:).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

I would let her have it for 30min-1hr in the evening, whatever you feel comfortable with and then take it from her. So set it up at a certain time everyday AFTER homework is done........maybe from 7-7:30 or 8pm every night then that's it.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

1584 texts in 1 month?

That's nothing. I alone had 2500+ incoming/outgoing this past month, hubby had about 1100, our 16 yr old had 7800+ incoming/outgoing. That was low for our 16 yr old. She's usually around 10,000+

This is how they communicate now vs talking on the phone for hours like we did as teens.

We have 1 rule, if hubby or myself calls or texts her, ,she must respond in a reasonable time period, as in NOW...... unless she is driving or in class.

We keep our lines of communication wide open with her. She is very responsible and thrives on independence. We do not take the phone from her, she knows where she is supposed to be and when.

As long as our daughter maintains her great grades, honors classes, AP classes and her cheer at school, we don't complain.

Our schools are no longer banning the phones because they know the kids will use them. They are free to use the phones during passing periods between classes and lunch. They are not allowed to use them during class... they will be taken up if caught in class.

I really don't see a huge issue for your daughter but that means nothing...... because it is your family and you have to choose what you do in your family.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Time to teach her phone etiquette!
1. If she doesn't answer your call, the phone is no longer hers for a set period of time. You're paying the bill, so she MUST answer your calls. She'll only pull this one once!
2. No texting during "family time". In fact, everyone should have to turn in their electronics during dinner or other family times. Literally put them in a basket and they can have them back after. Set a good example here.
3. No texting or calling after a "reasonable hour" and no texting until ALL homework is finished.

Bottom line- this is how they communicate. I know it seems strange, but it's a different generation- they instant message, Facebook, text and tweet. They don't talk face-to-face. It's becoming outdated. Sad, but true.

If you want to put reasonable limits around her texting, then do it. What kind of limits did you have with the phone as a teen? I know that we didn't make/receive ANY non-homework related phone calls until after dinner. Then, we were allowed to talk on the phone for a set period of time before bed. It's not any different- just a different communication mode.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Is she making good grades? Is she a good child over all? Is she involved in some activities? If yes, then I would not worry. But you do need to teach her the manners for cell phones.

No texting or accepting or making calls during meals. It is rude.
No Texting after 10:00pm or whatever time you do not allow calls in your home at night.

No use of the phone during school hours. At our daughters schools, if you are caught with your cell phone out on campus during school hours, it will be confiscated until the parent and student meet with the assit. Principal.

No cell phones at all while driving. Pull over to make or accept a call. NO texting ever while driving.

No cell phone use in a movie theater at a play or a symphony.. Yes, texting is just like talking. Here is Austin if you use your phone during any of the above, you will be asked to leave with no refund.

Make sure you have unlimited texts.

Texting takes seconds and can be done quietly.. A phone cal takes time to get the person to answer and if the answer is only "yes" or "No" why make a call?

Each 1 word response is counted as a text. So it can be a little deceiving when you see 2000 text per month.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Who is your provider? AT&T offers or an additional cost a plan that allows you to micromanage your child's cell. You can give distinct hours where they can and cannot make calls, when they can text, how much they can text, even wha numbers they can call and text. Lots of people have unlimited text included in their plans but limited talk time so it makes more sense to text sometimes especially when it's the end of the month and you are low on minutes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

You have unlimited texting, so she is using it. However, with phones comes responsibility. In my opinion, you have a few choices:
1) no more unlimited texting. Get a limit, and if she goes over that, she pays for it.
2) take the texting plan OFF the phone completely so that she CAN use it to talk on the phone "like we used to."
3) compromise. Answer immediately if you call, maintain an A or B average, and no texting during family time, but leave the unlimited texting on the phone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Check out Kajeet.com . They have phone destined for kids. The software on them is set up so that you can have only certain phone numbers allowed as well as blocking specific numbers. Also, you can set a schedule for usage, making it unusable at night or during school, but still allow emergency numbers (911 and your cell, for instance) to have access and be accessible. Good prices too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Thank you for bringing up this topic. We are just now moving into this uncharted territory at my house. I have the same concerns you do. Keep your answers coming ladies, I'm also soaking in all your wisdom!

My 12 year old does not get her phone in the morning until she is 100% done with her getting ready for the day responsibilities and ready to walk out the door to catch the bus. I am starting to get irritated when she gives me attitude about my asking her to turn off lights througout the morning (seriously she CANNOT remember to do this!) or find her socks/shoes before she can get her phone. Organization is not her strength. I have a feeling at some point I'm just going to not give it to her for the day if she gets too sassy. We may have that little chat tonight.

Typically, the walk to, bus stop, and bus ride to/from school is hers to talk and text all she wants.

At school, phones must be locked in lockers and turned off, or they are confiscated for a MINIMUM of one week. They cannot use them between classes or at lunch. If they are heard or even seen, they're taken. No problems with this rule so far, she is VERY motivated to not have that consequence. She knows we back the school rule 100%.

After school she has less than an hour before dinner, so it is her free time. I don't mind if she texts during this time.

We have a no phones at the home dinner table rule. When we go to a restaurant, my kids can have their electronics in the car on the drive there and while waiting for a table if there is a wait. Once we are seated, they hand them over. I sometimes hand them back if we have to wait a long time for the bill when we are finished.

After dinner, she does homework. Her grades are good. So far, I've not taken her phone while she is doing homework, but I will if I notice a problem with it. I'm liking what some of you had said about linking phone privileges to grades, in case hers ever start to slip. Her attitude on math is starting to turn ugly, as she was placed in a advanced class and now is challenged. I just want to see her best effort.

We have a no TV, movie, computer or video games rule after dinner rule on school nights, so other evening distraction is minimal.

At 9PM each school night, her phone is taken into our bedroom for the night.

Weekends are trickier. We've argued about her having the phone in her room all night on weekend nights. Haven't yet decided on this. She's active, always involved in at least one extra ciricular activity per season during the week and she is all about getting out and doing activities (like indoor rock climbing when her phone is locked in a locker) a good portion of the weekend, but still the texting is pervasive in her down time at home. I'd like to see her take better care of her room and clothes, and things. But we had these issues before the phone too, so I can't really blame it on texting.

Last Saturday she went to a cooking class her grandpa invited her to. Her Dad went too and he did say she was constantly checking back to her phone. I was livid because I TOLD her this would be rude, and yet I was not there, so she did it anyway. If grandpa invites her next time, she will be leaving the phone at home. Ettiquette is a work in progress. And a challenge to teach the values you want to your child, when so many adults and peers have a lack of technology manners, which all seems so normal in their world.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The minute she gets home from school & is home to stay you get the phone back & if she misses any of your calls it's gone for three days. She is allowed 10 texts a day so she needs to use them wisely, if she goes over even by 1 it's gone for three days.Type a contract & have her sign it. Be firm & consistent or she will never learn it's not a toy. Maybe have her help pay for the phone or do chores to earn the privilege of using it. Be creative make this phone work for you. If she doesn't keep her room clean & better care of her clothes. I would let her earn the privilege of using the phone from 8-8:30pm by keeping her room clean & clothes put away. Make a list of chores you think she could do. Have her earn phone time &/or texts by doing chores. Fifteen minute increments should do it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

my 15 yr old can easily put out 5000 messages a month thank god it is free.
He can hold three conversations at the same time. Here is the deal I have with him- Since I pay for your phone
1- You answer when I call if you don't answer you have exactly 3 minutes to get back to me or the phone is mine I pay for you to have this privilege you respect that- yes I have taken it for this
2- No cell phones, iPods, during dinner there is a shelf in the entry way where all electrical devices go they are turned off and left there until dinner/and the mess are all done- If not it is mine- yes it has been taken away.
3. B average or above if your grades fall your phone is gone

I have parental controls on his phone it is turned off at certain times of day- during school he can call 4 numbers- mine/office/dad/grandma that is it. 10:30pm phone shuts off nothing in nothing out but those 4 numbers.

Kids do become sort of addicted to this I dont understand it- set guidelines with everyone with phones- the first time she breaks the rules take the phone honestly make her "survive" a week without it. if she wont physically give you the phone talk to your provider about the parental controls you can suspend service honestly on mine I can log in and shut if off within minutes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Only 1584 texts a month? I'm in my 30s and I send over 5000 a month. My youngest sister (who is 19) sends, on average, 22k a month. My youngest sister and my mother live in SC. My other sister and her husband live in VA. My best friend and her husband now live in WA. In addition, hubby and I text each other.

1584 texts a month isn't bad at all. You have unlimited texting on the phone...why would get that if you didn't want her to text much, but rather talk more? We did the same thing with our family plan and we prefer if the kids text more than chat.

Other than her not answering your calls, which you need to address, I don't see the issue. Texting is quick and easy and can be done during times when you can't really sit and talk.

Our kids were only allowed to have their phone from the time their homework was done until bed time. And anytime they got up on weekends until they went to bed. We ended up cutting back on their phones because of other reasons, but they do still have one universal phone for all of them to use that stays here at the house.

BTW: My kids are 3rd, 7th, 7th and 8th. Total they text 2600+ per month.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Sorry--can't get away from texting altogether. I suggest you adjust your plan to include it at a lower rate. I actually prefer texting to calling because I don't always want to go through the whole talking thing or await a return phone call. It is more efficient to put it all in writing and let the person respond when it's convenient. Also, texting is way more convenient when sitting in meetings or sending private messages (even when sitting right next to each other in a crowded waiting room).

Now, she couldn't NOT take my calls, and she couldn't have all the phone privileges with bad grades or bad attitude. You've got to set clear rules, though, because when you give a kid a phone, you also allow him/her the discretions that go with it, like judgment of whether or not to answer. My SS's bio mother gave him a cell phone at about 12 because she wanted to talk with him the whole time he was at our house. She would call late at night--after 10 or 11--and early in the morning--5 and 6--and we had told her not to call our phones at those times. Well, house rule was no phone for him outside of certain hours, so some of her calls were missed because of that. However, he was a kid and would not be a slave to his phone. He'd leave it in his bedroom while he was in another part of the house, etc. She would get annoyed and frantic and call every phone she could until someone would talk with her and promise to have him call...just so she could say hi. Anyway, I guess one point of this is that you also should not push your expectations onto the kid. How you manage your phone calls won't be the same. SS's bio mom is always glued to it, so she got beyond unnerved when he wasn't the same way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If you got the phone so you could reach her, then she only needs to have it when she's not with you. I guess that would have been my approach. When giving it to her I would have said "this is only for when we're not together". She gives it to you when she comes home and uses the regular telephone if she wants to talk to friends.

If she thinks that's a punishment and you don't want to punish her, then you should just say, "This is out of hand" and explain new guidelines to her. Explain how it is rude to divert your attention when you are in the presence of another person. Give her one hour of text time per afternoon. Whatever. Just don't give up control to your child!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Well, my son has a cell phone so his father and I can get in touch with him.
We have no problems with texting because he doesn't have texting service.
He turned 16 in June, he's a junior in high school, an amazing kid who has completed two law enforcement cadet programs including a para military style boot camp. He is very responsible and paving his way for a career in law enforcement.
He survives just fine with no texting.
His father and I have been divorced since he was a baby, but his father has respected my opinion that texting can lead to laziness when it comes to writing and communication skills.
I have friends who are teachers and it drives them nuts when kids turn in essays or semester research projects using digits like 2 and 4 in place of actual words. Some kids don't know the difference between to, two and too or for, four, and fore.
Even though my son doesn't text, I noticed a couple of years ago that he was writing an e-mail to an elderly aunt back East and using text lingo.
SO not going happen with me as his mother.

Anyway, enough about my opinions regarding the hazards of kids texting, if your daughter won't respect limits that you impose, she WILL live if she has no texting.
When my son gets a job and can pay for it himself and it doesn't interfere with other things, we'll discuss it.
For now, his dad and I are on the same page. Texting is not a necessary aspect of us providing him with a phone for communicating with us.

Again, just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would take the phone away all together esp. since she can't manage to answer your phone calls. If she can't be trusted to follow your rules regarding texting than she can't have a phone. I also have a 14 yr old girl and she doesn't have a cell phone. I think your right about your feelings on not wanting her to have the phone in the first place.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a 16 and 14 year old that have phones and they text a lot. Actually my daughter doesn't as much as her brother does, she's the 16 year old. My son text more with his "girlfriend" but he won't admit to that. If it wasn't for that girl, my son wouldn't too much. He had another "girlfriend" and they did a little bit but that was it. Now I have a 14 year niece, that it's like she's in a trance or something, just sits and text, maybe look up for a minute, but not too much...

It really doesn't bother me too much unless they have homework. I'm 37, so in my day, especially my sisters (3 of them), would be on the phone all night. They would talk hours to their boyfriends and friends. It was really hard for anyone to get through, before call waiting, at our house. Then call waiting came about, but that didn't mean they would click over, thank goodness for caller id, then they would know too...

It's the new fad of the times, take it away if it's a problem. I don't have too much of a problem with it. No texting at the dinner table (or lunch on the weekends). I don't make it too big either, my daughter use to text a lot more than she does now, my son is the one who does more texting, and I bet he's saying "yeah" or some one liner... I also don't think 1584 is a lot of texting, just think of how many sentences you say a month, don't you think you say more than 1584?

I also don't think it makes them more withdrawn, they actually are having more one on one conversations. I do think it sort of gives them more privacy, except when they know mom and dad are going to go through their phone... You have to take the good with the bad sometimes. Just think what our grandkids will be doing...

And to get them to answer your calls, take the phone away for not answering it for a week or more... and don't answer their calls when they call you. It may be a little old fashion to have to schedule a time to pick them up or whatever, but they can survive without a phone...

My kids only have one because they talked grandparents into it... I don't even have a cell phone, nor do I really want one, just every once in a blue moon... I like that people can't always get a hold of me, I like that control over my life.

Hang in there momma!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

She could not ever get away with not answering my phone call at her age! even when she is grown she had better give me a reason, shux I still give my mom & grandma one! Mom I missed your call me and the hubby was on the kitchen floor...LOL! Is it affecting her school work or chores? if so I would take it away if not I would let her text from 3:30-8:30 unless it was costing more money.


To cut our bill in half, to not spend money on your hair do, to put extra money on MY hobby instead of those brand new jeans you want to go with the ones we just bought that you hate now! give me a reasssssson!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

About the only thing you listed that was bad was her not answering your calls. Unless you have the worlds worst timing you have to hit it on the head once in a while.

My older daughter almost never answers when I call but she calls back, when she remembers. It doesn't bother me because she does the same to her friends. So to her it is her way of being I guess.

I haven't looked in a while but I would imagine their texting is more than your daughters. It isn't effecting my kids life so it is not a battle I am going to take on.

Oh they text because you can text in class but you can't call people. You can also have conversations with a mess of people at the same time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Check into what kind of controls are available for the phone. My phone seems to have all kinds of conrolls available from when texts can be received to tracking the phoen to find out it's location. Instead of turning off texting alltogether, which is an option, just limit it to certain hours, like between 3 and 5:30, leaving the rest of the evening for homework, dinner, chores, etc.
I don't know why they text either. I've read that it's the preferable way to communicte because it's quite self-serving; they don't have to deal with emotions and can ignore whatever they want. There's an emotional level they can avoid, or something like that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

How about after school chores to pay for the phone? No chores, no phone. I'm sure you can find other ways to reach her if you had to.

Also, this is the way kids communicate today - I'd talk on teh phone for hours, so texting is the same thing. You just have to roll with it.

Also, set boundaries - phone at dinner? No phone for two days. You can even call the carrier and put a hold on the phone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't have a problem with excessive texting, that's just what kids do nowadays. I do have a concern with WHAT is being texted and when.

I have Verizon and we have parental controls on my daughter's phone. I have it so our phones are on the "safe" list so she can call and receive calls from our phones whenever. Her other phone calls and texting are limited to non-school hours and I can change that at any time. If she tries to send a text or make a call during the restricted times it won't work UNLESS it's to one of the "safe" numbers. When I've grounded her from the phone she can only call and receive calls from us. Everything else is blocked.

I suggest you look into Verizon for their parental controls. I also have a limit of minutes on the phone so she can't run up our phone bill.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

if she has that much free time make her volunteer at a local soup kitchen or orphanage, thats what i did and i gined a lot from it, M. and my one friend did it together, that could be her pymt for using the phone and then lay off a little, some basic ground rules but the same u';dhave for talking on the phone, also why is she in so much? i was never in at 14, join a sport or activiity maybe

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I also have a 14 year old daughter. She can easily text 3000 messages a month. This is just the way teenagers communicate these days. Personally I don't have a problem with texting. But just like many other things in life there is a time and place. If you don't like her texting at the dinner table (which I don't either), then just say no texting during meal times. I also support the idea of no texting after a certain time of night. They can't text during class, so they are use to limitations as to when and where they can text. In my opinion texting does not make people withdrawn. We live out in the country and texting has helped my daughter develop closer relationships with her friends and has helped her make more friends because she doesn't feel as isolated from her peers. I've also come to the realization that in the old fashioned world of people just talking on the phone, there is always those awkward silence times. I don't talk on the phone much because I don't like those uncomfortable silences where you are struggling to find something or just anything to say to fill those blanks. And come on, be real, if you take the phone away from a teenager or say no texting, they just want to do it more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Remove all the texting off the phone . I would just Take it away until she earns respect for you calling . Sometimes you have to do something drastic to make change.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions