Premium Podcast Help Contact Dr. Laura Dr. Laura Designs Return to
Join Family Premium Login Family

Email of the Day

Cell Phones Create Unnecessary Drama

We bought our daughter a cell phone for her 13th birthday. Thirteen seemed like the right age; she's mature, responsible and desires more of a social life. We established rules: Mother will check your text messages any time; the phone must be turned off and placed in the kitchen when you go to bed; no phone calls or texts from anyone who is not a personal friend.

At first, the text messages were fine. They consisted mostly of mundane exchanges with girlfriends, such as, "Hi, what are you doing?" "Nothing." She has a mutual crush on a boy and they were texting the same mundane lines to one another.

But imagine my surprise when I checked her phone to discover a message written by my daughter to said boy that mentioned something about "watching his cute butt."  I explained this was inappropriate and watched as she texted the boy and said her mom had read her phone and she couldn't talk that way. I lectured her and said this would not be tolerated. She seemed remorseful and seemed to understand why this was unacceptable.

Fast-forward a few weeks: I received a phone call from the mother of the boy, who said she was concerned about the texting going on between the two kids. Her son also turns in his phone at night. She discovered the phone was missing when she awoke. Her son had sneaked the phone to his room and texted my daughter at 4 a.m. The two were texting such messages as, "Good morning, beautiful. It's time to wake up," and, "Hi, my little lover,"  and "I love you so much.”

When I checked my daughter's phone, I discovered she had erased the offending texts the other mom read to me. We agreed this is too much for these junior high kids and that both kids would be without a phone for a while. I am appreciative she called me.

Fast-forward again and today, I discovered the boy is using a friend's phone to text my daughter!  My husband and I have decided my daughter won't have a phone at all. We debated putting more restrictions on her usage, blocking the boy's number, putting the phone in my name, etc., but concluded that the amount of navigation needed to ensure proper use was too time-consuming.

Parents: heed my advice! Do NOT let your junior-high kid have a cell phone. They text messages that they would never speak. My child only had a phone for a month and the drama that it brought to our home will linger for a long time.


Tags: Parenting, Read On-Air, Teenagers, Teens, Values
< Back to Email of the Day Archives