Teens and cell phones

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    How do you guys handle your teens with cell phones? What rules do you establish before they get them, etc? Do you start with parental controls, or add them "as needed"?

    Cgfg is here for half the summer. While I am not ok with her having a cell phone to use at her discretion day in and day out (especially during school), all of her few friends do have cell phones, and they all text and facebook each other, and it leaves her out. None of them talk on the phone anymore.

    Cgfg's mother, while ok with buying her a switchblade, won't let her use the computer for anything social such as email or facebook, she never allows cgfg to go spend time with friends, and even more rarely lets someone spend time at their house, and they don't even have a landline phone, so she's even further isolated.

    I recently upgraded to an Iphone, and difficult child 1's number has been "suspended" on our account since he left for the military 4 years ago. I had my old phone activated on difficult child 1's number so she can call and text friends, at least while she's at our house. The phone is actually broken, so she can not send any type of media message or picture, and it will not access the internet. Actually kind of perfect for her.

    We have a landline for the internet and for me to use when I work from home. We get about 8 calls on it a day from bill collector's for my ex. No kidding. So unless I'm actively using it for work or we're expecting a call, we don't even turn the ringer on. I'd actually like to look into just getting rid of it, but I wont until the kids have some other way to call if we aren't around.

    For now, the plan is for it to stay at our house, and she can use it when she's there. I guess I'm sort of hoping her mom will let her have it at her house, too. While she doesn't need to be gallyvanting the countryside at 14, she barely has any friends as it is, and I think its equally as bad for her to be so isolated from the ones she does have, too. One of these days, the girl will explode, and the friends she does have are good kids.

    So...We haven't sat down with formal rules yet. I told her what it will and won't do, and that for right now, I expect her to handle it responsibly. Don't sit talking on it all day long, and no texting all night long, etc, and even if something should happen and it can send pics or get on the net, that she do the right thing and not, and for now, there are no parental controls, but don't give me reason to put them on it. That's it, pending discussion with husband and other parents on how they handle it.

    So...what do ya'll do?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I messed up the cell phone issue when easy child/difficult child was a teen. It was out of total ignorance. I had no idea that other kids used their cells 24/7 and like a dummy I just assumed it would a convenience...not a lifestyle. Honestly the teens seemed to never turn off the phones including school nights.

    So...my biggest piece of advice is to set a rule that the phone is kept in your room from bedtime til the next day. I did that with difficult child (although he is not a social person with friends) before he got his. Like alot of rules I think the very first day sets the tone. Good luck. DDD
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Shari, I think you are off to a good start.

    I also think you need to monitor the account. At least every other day. Because cgfg has had some issues in the past. And all teens push boundaries! Onyxx hated the fact that she tried going for a long time without doing anything she shouldn't, then she'd try to sneak one through. I was monitoring about every 2 days... Yeah. I finally locked the darned thing down pretty harshly... Parental controls MAY be your friend...

    I agree that it's a good idea, and she shouldn't be so isolated.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it depends on the kid myself.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I guess I also told her if she handled it responsibly, we'd look at getting one that wasn't quite such a dinosaur to use. But it was on her shoulders.

    And Step, I was logging in as I typed to check the acct! lol
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT's first phone could only call and text, and I learned very quickly that the additional $9.99 for unlimited texting was a really good deal. We also kept the phone with us after 9 pm.

    Even though she's using your old phone, have some rules about replacement. I told Miss KT we would replace the phone ONCE due to unforeseen circumstances, and after that, it was on her. She went through phones like water...deciding she wanted a new one, she would "accidentally" break the old one.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We told Onyxx the same thing. She found ways around it. She has killed, as far as I can tell, 8 phones. The only one she hasn't killed? The most recent one. She complained and complained about it, though. She had it... September to December... Then July to May. So barely over a year. But it still lasted a lot longer than the last 8.
  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My boys are 13 and they have cell phones. I am quite strict about them. The phones are off and laying on the kitchen table when they are in for the night. Ours are also basic shared minutes and shared texting. If either or both of them go over minutes or texts, THEY pay the extra. When they're grounded or have lost privileges, the phone stays off and I hide it until privileges are restored. If they break their phone, THEY pay to replace it. So far they have both been very responsible with them and follow my rules. It works for us.

    Glad you're willing to help the kid out. She needs it, especially at that age.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Good point. difficult child 1 went thru phones, also. I also need to tell her there is no trading it out for one with usable data features at this point....that can be earned and that's where she's run into trouble - dang Internet. No taking her friends' old phones etc. Course, I'll be able to see it...it doesn't have a data plan on it. Texting is unlimited and we have ee-gads of minutes.The other thing I have to navigate is two brooms. She knows Cgfg has a phone, and she's the biggest reason cgfg's mom got rid of her land line. The woman calls husband, husband's Sis, and nephew, and sometimes even me 8 or more times each per day. It will never fly with cgfg's mom if grandma starts calling her like that, too.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you are going to let her use it, set some rules before she gets used to it. I would put them in place and then loosen them as she earns the privileges instead of locking it down after she misuses it. IF you don't tell her what YOU think is reasonable, she is going to use what SHE thinks is reasonable and/or what her mom/gma/dad think is reasonable. As you are the one providing it and monitoring it, you need to tell her what you expect from her. OTherwise it won't be her fault if she does something you think is unreasonable.

    I do think it wise to do unlimited texting, esp if it is only good for text and calls. When you go to an internet phone, consider either a kajeet phone. Kajeet.com has the most parental controls and it has a wide range of plans and features. For example, you can either get a plan to check the gps on it as often as you want, or one that charges a fee each time. So if it is lost you could use that with-o having to pay a monthly fee for a year or more. Also if she isn't where she is supposed to be you can track her. Not a big deal now, but later it might be. They have gotten a LOT of awards from parent groups. Or go to a virgin mobile account that is $25 per mo unlimited everything.

    Heck, I have been with-o a phone for almost a year. Driven me nuts but couldn't find it. I hated it - an lg neon has NO battery life. If I made four short calls I couldn't text on it with-o charging. I also couldn't use it while charging it. Bunch of hooey is what it is. Just this evening I got a tracphone that has the qwerty keyboard for $30. I love it. There are a LOT of cheap options that are pretty nice in pay as you go.
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    All of 3 of mine have cell phones. They each have the parent controls at a different level due to their differing ages and abilities

    All 3 of them have internet and the ability to send/receive pictures blocked completely.

    Eeyore: can call and text from afterschool - 9pm and 10am-9pm on weekends

    Piglet: can call and text from 9am-10pm; limited to 400 talk minutes/month

    Tigger: can only call/text pre-approved numbers (so far family and 2 friends)
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I hear ya, susie...I just gotta figure out what all those parameters are! When difficult child 1 and easy child 1 got their phones, there wasn't all this "stuff" to deal with. There weren't sim cards to swap phones, and internet, and picture messages and and and and... lol

    She doesn't have any friends numbers here, so she hasn't used it much yet. That's why she can have it until we get the rest of the "rules" hammered out. But we've talked about using it, and what she can lose and what she can earn. Putting actual time limits on it is probably a good idea, tho. Nothing after 9pm or whatever.

    Gotta think on the two brooms thing. That's gonna be a roadblock, I can already see it. I guess the onus belongs on grandma to not call, and I guess I can monitor grandma, too... It shouldnt be left up to cgfg to ignore grandma's calls... but we'll see. Maybe we can just block grandma's number...not sure.

    JJJ what company do you use?
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    We use Verizon. It is just $10/month to add an extra phone onto our plan and another $5/month for the heavy duty usage controls. And we can (and do) block specific numbers too.
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I may go ahead and just block the pics and internet....but then I also won't see if she attempts to use it, either. But if its blocked, if she tries, I assume it will just appear that it never works and that will be that.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I will say something - on Verizon? IM messages - and facebook - are not subject to the time restrictions.

    Unless they've changed it?