Teenager cell phone topics - questions and a rant

mmiller2002February 15, 2007

I thought I'd ask this while I'm asking teenager questions.

We seem to be the only parents in both our teenage daughters' circles that view our responsibility to provide them with a cell phone to use as a tool for convenience instead of an entertainment device.

I completely see the need to supply them with the phone as a tool for convenience and safety. That is why we currently use a prepaid service. We give the kids $15 in their accounts (~80 min equivalent). This limits their use and they have to budget their time well. But, as they put it, its such a lame plan and a cause of emabrrassment.

I do not understand how so many parents have been duped into supplying their child with an unlimited minute/text phone plan, using the latest fancy phone. Where is it written that parents need to provide this type of 24/7 entertainment device?

Even the stupid TV commercials portray the poor helpless parents trying to control the kids' overages! How insulting!

Furthermore, these kids know that they can hide in their rooms and chat on the phone well into the night when their parents unklnowingly think they are getting a good night's sleep.

How have we parents been so conned by the phone companies?

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I agree, parents have been conned and it takes a very brave parent to put in controls, when "EVERYBODY ELSE'S PARENTS LET THEM DO IT".

It is a source of much arguments, the phone, and it should not be.

I think for my two, I have been fortunate that they would rather talk on msn, than phone and my DS was shocked the other day, when his phone actually rang ! That was very funny.

Perhaps your children could put their phone on the kitchen bench when they go to bed at night.

The whole cell phone thing is a crock, I can see they are useful, but I resent being in contact night and day, who cares, if I go out and can't be contacted. If I am at the shops, I dont want to be phoned up, and talked to.

Its the age of instant gratification, young people are not taught to wait for things, they find it hard to be patient. It a real worry in my mind.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 4:19PM
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"How have we parents been so conned by the phone companies?"

The phone companies are not the cons... the teens are! And parents should not fall for it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 5:26PM
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I am glad my daughter has a cell phone. It is an added layer of security in this highly screwed up society we live in. Look at it from the perspective of a parent with a child in a Columbine or other school hostage situation.

When she is out with her friends she can communicate with me, or I can call her in the event I need to speak with her. She does not have unlimited use and she doesn't use the cell phone in our home.

I am not conned at all, I wanted to equip her with a phone just as I have one for emergencies.

What I hate to see (and is illegal in our State) are people (mostly women) driving down the road talking away on the cell phone. I feel like screaming at them, can't you just concentrate on the road. What is it about the need to be on the phone? I also see it in the stores when I shop, it is out of hand. I think that the adult women I see are more of a problem than the teens I know.

My biggest rant is the different cell phone rings that I hear people have. Do people have nothing better to do than to download Hawaii 5-O theme song to their cell phone?

I hate the phone and certainly would not spend my travel time in the car talking on the phone. I prefer to spend my travel time listening to a good CD!

Just my $.02

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Many parents with more than 2 teemagers find that buying a plan with unlimited minutes and hooking their kids onto the program is a lot cheaper than buying 80 minutes at a time.
Both my kids ( the parents of my teen age grandkids) need their phones for their jobs...and want their kids to have that phone with them and turned when ever they are not in class. I am all for it.
As for kids using a phone all hours into the night? Who's fault is that?
I love my phone....and when making a long trip alone, I love to be able to find some company....5 hours alone in the car is a long time....CD's are good for a while...but I love a live voice.
And Blue Tooth does a good job.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 8:04PM
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I agree with lindac about it possibly being cheaper to do the unlimited thing.
However,i also think it is a ridculous abuse of technology. Everything is focused on convience and entertainment these days. Why cant a kid read a book instead of playing on the phone?
I think cells are great for emergencies,but as a use of entertainment it is an insult to be conned into them by cell companies and by teens.
I think it is good you stand your ground. My daughter isnt a teen yet,but when the time comes I will be the same as you.She will have one for emergencies and to check in,not to be involved in a popularity contest.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 8:30PM
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Good comemnts, but some missed my point.

Regarding western_pa_luann: "The phone companies are not the cons... the teens are! And parents should not fall for it."

I see the parents set the example a lot of the time. Phone, phone, phone, bla, bla, bla. All the time.

Regarding labmomma: I'm also glad my kids have the phone for safety and convenience. But, since most parents like to justify the expense of the phone for those reasons, what percentage of their phone use is actually used for parent-teen communication? I'd say typically less than 10%.

Regarding unlimited family plans, I ran the numbers. My wife and I also use prepaid, only paying $15 every 3 months. So with the kids' $30 + our $10 = $40/month. Any family plan would be a minimum of $80/month. That may include more minutes, but my point is the we don't NEED more minutes for safety or parent-teen coordination. But the kids can certainly use them. I think most parents have somehow become resigned that they need to provide their teen with a phone as a basic "right." It baffles me.

A lot of it is also the single or 2 working parents subliminal guilt thing. Can't give 'em my time, but I can give 'em stuff. The phones are a HUGE status item.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 11:20PM
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I have heard of kids getting jumped for their expensive stuff though,so it actually is safer not to flash it around.Around here those IPODS are the big thing.
I would just want my daughter to have a cell in case something ever happend. I dont personally dont want any poor excuses like,"there was no phone".
However,she can either talk to people in our same plan (which is free,mobil to mobil) or talk on a landline. You got me thinking about it now and I hopefully have at least another 4 years before we even start this faze.
It is outlandish for teens to even think it's a given right though.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 5:46AM
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mmiller - you hit the nail on the head. The parents are glued to their cell phone and the kids see it. I can tell which of my daughter's friends have learned this lesson as I know which parents are guilty of having the phone glued to their when out of the house.

Actually, in our situtation, my daughter's phone use is limited to quick calls when she is out of the house. I would say at least 50 percent or more of the calls are to my home or my cell phone if I were, say out to dinner, and she wanted to let me know what time to pick her up.

I am a big proponent of keep your cell on silent and my daughter only uses the ring feature when she and I are out shopping and I want her to be able to hear the phone when I call her from another location. Everyone in my house who has a cell sets it on silent. I think the ring alone is annoying.

Phones are a common thing where we live. The kids no longer consider them a luxury. Everyone has equipped their middle school age and above child with one. I don't know of one child that doesn't have one. So, in our area, it isn't a can't spend time, so I will spend money insofar as the phone goes. It is more of a practical matter - a way to be in touch with where your teen is, and being able to communicate with them while they are out.

The days of being given a quarter and being told to "call from a payphone if you need me" are long gone.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 5:02PM
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The unlimited minutes deals you get better rates with whole family plans. We just signed for one, but we put my inlaws on instead of my kids (9 and 6, who don't need cell phones yet for sure.)

There are a lot of people who are addicted to their cell phones. My pet peeve, people who DON'T turn off the phones while they are at Sunday mass. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? And even worse, there are people who answer it. Totally disrespectful to the priest, and the entire congregation.

And some people's brains shut off while driving them. As there are people who are in the car and are immediately always on the phone when they are in the car. Period. Get a handsfree device people, they aren't that expensive.

My kids will only carry their cell phones (when I give them to them) when they require them, not as an all the time accessory. Like when they go somewhere alone, like the mall, movies, etc. And if I find they are being abused, end of cell phone. I would think you should check your minute usage, as a good parent, to see who is calling whom on occasion, to check out your child's contacts.

I have a young relative who met with a very violent end, and my son knows and understands about it, so I am getting them conditioned early to be very overprotected. I have a good reason... and they know it. So they will have cell phones when they reach their teen years.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:33AM
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Just a funny story about cell phones, that happened to me, last year.

I was a supervisor in an examination at my DS school.

It was a serious exam and about 100 students where in the school hall, nervous and anxious. They had all been told they must leave there cell phones (in Australia we call them mobile phones) on a table near the door. They where also told they must be turned off.

Well half way through the exam one of the phones on the table starting playing a stupid song, ringing. I rushed over to the table and frantically looked through all the phones, trying to stop the noise. I finally did that, but students where restless. Then to my horror I realized about half the phones where switched on ! There must have been about 90 of them.

So I spent ages, and ages, turning them off, all these different phones. Some I just could not work out how to do it, as I am technologically challenged to say the least.

So next exam, I made sure, I stood near that table and said in a big lound voice "make sure they are turned off, please!".

Phones, stressing me out !


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 7:32PM
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Re: Posted by klimkm (My Page) on Mon, Feb 19, 07 at 10:33

"The unlimited minutes deals you get better rates with whole family plans. "

The unlimited family plans rates are only really better if you intend to talk for hundreds of minutes per month. i.e. if you use up most all of your included minutes.

My wife likes the idea of limiting our teens' use because she thinks that the jury is still out on the safety of cell phones. The industry seems to act like the tobacco industry did many years ago. If a sponsored study starts have any negative results, they find a way to steer the study so the results become "inconclusive" (i.e. cut funding, move the study to another facility, etc.). That way they can say that there has been no valid study that has proven harmful effects on people. We had a college engineering professor friend who researched this a bit when his campus was going wireless.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 7:08PM
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"My wife likes the idea of limiting our teens' use because she thinks that the jury is still out on the safety of cell phones."

In regards to what??? Talking while driving? Something else?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 7:15PM
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"My wife likes the idea of limiting our teens' use because she thinks that the jury is still out on the safety of cell phones."

I'm guessing he is referring to the idea that they can cause brain tumors...which was never completely ruled out I dont think because they havent been out long enough to conduct long term studies.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 9:14PM
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Basically right coolmama.

The effects of RF radiation on human cells. I don't really think that there's any harm, but we are guinea pigs. We are both electrical engineers, and we do know that there's nothing good about RF radiation exposure. At best, it's neutral. Moderation is good.

I am just astonished at how much people seem to need to talk on the phone. Its like they can't just be with their own thoughts anymore, even while driving. Society has such a short attention span.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:15PM
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Personally,I HATE talking on the phone...but I know what you mean.Everywhere you go you see people constantly talking on them. I think part of this is some kind of fashion statement too. People like Paris Hilton made carrying your bejeweled cell phone around a fashion accessory.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 11:35PM
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DH is a radiation physicist (with extensive oncology experience), and he tells me there is not credible evidence... just scare tactics.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 8:55AM
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What's "DS" and "DH"?

I'm sure its mostly scare tactics, but we are the ones being tested real time. 20+ years will tell because our young kids wil have been exposed for most of their life.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 9:21AM
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DH = Dear (if your on speaking terms) Dumb (or worse if not) husband

DS= Dear Son
DD= Dear Daughter
MIL= Mother in Law.
DSis= Dear Sister. Etc.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 10:27PM
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LOL,dont feel bad mmiller I didnt know either for the longest time!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 6:05PM
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