Friday, July 24, 2009

My daughter is the Queen of texting

I bought my 6th grader a cell phone a couple of months ago. She is a very good student. She is in the A-B honor roll every year. I wanted to buy her a cell phone and add her to my plan. I figured this was a good reward for her passing all of her Texas mandated Taks tests this past year. She had also been asking me when she could have a cell phone.
I sat her down and told her with a cell phone comes responsibility. Not all kids are mature enough to handle their first cell phone. I believe my daughter can handle this responsibility with ease. I'm sure all of you parents have had the same talk with your daughters that cover some of the basics. Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Texting boys not allowed. Always answer when a parent calls .Always reply when a parent sends a text or email. After all , having a cell phone means there better be a prompt reply from your child. I also bought her a cell phone in case there is an emergency. She can contact me or my wife at work. She can also contact any one of her many aunts and uncles should something come up.

These kids are setting the world on fire with texting. At least my daughter is. We are talking Guinness book. For the first month my daughter racked up over 6,000 texts. Is this possible? I have not even come close to 6,000 texts. I don't think I ever will. I started asking myself who is she texting ? What can they be texting about?

I want to believe that middle school kids are pretty much texting about the latest 'Twilight," or "Harry Potter" movie. I want to believe that kids are also texting about TV shows like Hannah Montana or the latest Jonas Brothers song. I have witnessed my two older daughters texting each other while in the same room! They can't talk to each other across the room. They have to text each other? I have not received my cell phone bill this month but I'm thinking that my daughter will top out over 7,000 texts for the month of July.

OK. So how am I going to decrease and monitor my daughter's texting? Good question. I know my cell phone carrier offers parental controls to monitor not only the minutes used but also who can text my daughter. A parent can go on to your cell phone carrier's website and block unwanted incoming text messages from selected phone numbers. So parents are in the drivers seat when it comes to total control of your child's cell phone. Why not use this feature. Its free and it will probably save a parent heartache. I'm not sure if all parents actually go through their child's cell phone but all parents should be doing this. We should be going through the texts. I try to do this at least once a week. I also try and familiarize myself with the latest texting shortcuts that kids might be using.

I knew right off the bat that I did not want my daughter to have picture mail or the Internet. I did not want to mess with these two options. I have read so many horror stories about teens sending nude pictures to each other. I knew going in that picture mail was not going to be an option for my daughter. After a month of getting used to her cell phone my daughter asked me if I can fix her picture mail. I trust my daughter with her picture mail but I'm not sure I trust some of the kids at her Junior High. I think parents should also disable the Internet from their teens cell phones. Why would a teenager need the Internet on their cell phone? If my daughter needs the Internet she can come home and use it on the home computer where I can monitor.
I think all parents should encourage kids to put the phones away at some point during the day and just talk to their parents. Put the cell phones away and interact with your brothers and sisters. I think that if both parents are home the cell phones should be off. I think if the entire family is home nobody should have a cell phone on including parents. The home is for family. After a hard day at the office I want to know about my daughter's day. I want to tell her about my day. I want to find out about my wife's day. I know when I am driving my family around I'm pretty sure I hear some buttons getting pushed on somebody's cell phone. I have a new rule that there is to be no texting in the car . I also advise my daughter to turn off her cell phone before bedtime. I do not need anyone texting her during the night.

So far so good. I think I am getting my daughter's texting under control. I'm hoping to get her texting levels under 5,000 texts a month. I have a unlimited texting plan but that is not the point. I know we will need to take baby steps. Do I sound controlling? Probably. But as a parents we have to be. I don't want to be a parent that gives his child a cell phone and lets the cell phone become the baby sitter. I do not want that. What is funny is that I have a four and a six year old and I'm sure that they are watching very closely. They have their little toy phones that they play with. They can text on those all they want! They are watching to see how my older daughter uses and handles her cell phone. They are studying every movement. They are checking to see what she gets away with. I'm sure my younger ones can't wait to get their hands on their own cell phones. I'm sure the cell phones of the future will allow them to reach the 10,000 text a month level with ease. I think parent's will have their work cut out for them with these high tech phones of the future. My daughter is already asking me when she can have a Facebook account. The saga continues.

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