The mobile phone has become the favored communication toy for the majority of American adolescents. Cell-phone texting has become the preferred method of basic communication between adolescents and their peers, with cell calling a close second.
Some 75% of 12-17 year-olds now own cell phones. Some 72% of all adolescents -- or 88% of adolescent cell phone users -- are text-messagers. More than half of adolescents (54%) are daily texters. Among all adolescents, their frequency of use of texting has now overtaken the frequency of every other common form of interaction with their peers. Among these adolescent texters:
- 14-17 year-old texters typically send and receive 60 text messages a day
- 15% of adolescents who are texters send more than 200 texts a day, or more than 6,000 texts a month
- Males typically send and receive 30 texts a day; females typically send and receive 80 messages per day
- Half of adolescents send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month
- Older females who text are the most active, with 14-17 year-old females typically sending 100 or more messages a day or more than 3,000 texts a month
- Adolescent texters ages 12-13 typically send and receive 20 texts a day
Cell Phone Abuse—
One major cost incurred with a cell phone bill is downloading music and ringtones. This uses megabytes and access to websites, which adds up over time. In fact, depending on the cell phone service you have, one or two downloads and you can be looking at an additional $20 a month on your bill. Aside from cell phones, an adolescent's next love is music. If she can combine the two, she won't give that additional cost a second thought.
Nearly 60 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 text while driving. This poses quite a danger on America's roads. If it distracts you from giving your full attention to the road, it increases your risk of having a motor vehicle collision. And if a teenager has a wreck, who picks up the tab? Usually the parent!
For moms and dads who have their adolescents on their cell phone plans with a specified number of minutes per month, going over those minutes results in an excessive bill to pay. An adolescent may not think about the monthly minute restriction when that all-important call from her BFF comes in about the boy who has a possible crush on her.
A large problem today has been the use of cell phones in school. Many adolescents are easily distracted in class as their friends send them a text message and they attempt to reply under their desks. This can’t only lead to trouble in school, but a decline in grades and overall performance.
If your teen is abusing cell phone privileges, here are some things you can do:
1. Buy your youngster a prepaid cell phone and make him buy his own minutes.
2. Have your teenager go over the bill with you when it comes in. Adolescents need to see things in order to know that they are "real". Make them a part of the cell phone bill process! This is a valuable learning tool for the future anyway!
3. If you insist on keeping your teenager on your plan to avoid early-cancellation fees, call the company and have it place blocks on her phone. This will disable her from downloading anything and only allow her to place calls or text at certain times of the day.
4. Make your youngster responsible for helping out with the bill. This doesn't necessarily mean that they have to pay the entire bill, but make them responsible in some way (e.g., paying for the texting, paying for half, doing things around the house in exchange for the phone bill, etc).
5. Talk together as a family about when it is - or isn't - appropriate to use the cell phone (e.g., no cell phone after 9pm; no cell phone until your homework is completed; no cell phone during class time, etc.).
6. Check your teenager’s book bag in the morning to ensure that she isn't taking her phone to school with her (if she isn’t supposed to be taking it).
7. Have your teenager pay for any extra charges she has incurred on your cell phone bill.
8. As a last resort to remedy cell phone abuse, take the phone away until she proves herself more responsible.
Discipline for Defiant Teens: Parenting Course