No Cell Phone Sucks: Tips For Teen Cell Phone Users

text message

Cole’s two-week high school service trips are cell phone and computer free, except for a few hours on the weekend. I don’t disagree with this policy in theory, but in reality, I hate it.

The no cell phone policy is announced at the class meeting prior to the trip. Phones can be taken on the trip, but are collected when the group reach’s their destination.  My favorite parents are the ones who make it a point to vocally agree with how good the rule is for the kids; the same parents that haven’t stopped texting since they walked into the room. Oh my, I’m judging. I accept the policy, quietly. If I voiced my thoughts, “Don’t take my kids phone away!” I would be starred at as though I was one of those women who talks to her mother almost every day! Oh, wait. I am one of those women.

Instead of confiscating the phones, couldn’t we just teach kids to use their phone appropriately?  No, not rules—rules have to be enforced. Step away from the rules. Teach them to use their phones, just like you teach them the multiplication tables, to chew with their mouths closed, or to turn out the lights. Below are some cell phone manners, and tips I’ve shared with Cole over the years.

~ Always answer your mother’s phone call or text. Hell has no fury like a mother whose phone call or text goes unanswered.

~ The excuse “I was driving” isn’t valid. Pull over and answer your mother’s call or text.

~ If your phone takes a ride through the washer, it’s your fault.

~ Don’t ignore the people you are with to talk on the phone. It’s just plain rude.

~ If you say you will call someone or text someone back, DO IT. Just DO IT. No, of course you don’t have to answer or return every call immediately, but if your message says, “I’ll get back to you,” you are obligated to get back to the person.

~ Turn your phone off during class, services, and events. Not silencing your phone during these times really riles up the cell phone haters. If you are bored out of your mind and must text learn to do it discretely —under a coat or behind your program; and make sure you dim the light on the phone. (Come on grown-ups we have all been there)

~ Make sure your outgoing voice mail identifies you, either by name or phone number. You’re not in the witness protection program.

~ Speaking of voice mail, most prospective employers respond negatively when asked to leave a message on a voicemail that claims the person is too drunk to find his phone. Just sayin’.

~ Don’t answer or use your phone or text during meals (unless everyone else is doing it)

~ If you are driving with your mom and someone keeps texting you and your mom asks, “Who keeps texting?” Just tell her. Or if this is an invasion of your privacy, make up a name (I don’t really care who is texting unless you don’t tell me). Can you believe that I actually had to tell Cole this? Kids these days!

Teach kids a few cell phone facts and tips, and they can talk for life; take away the phones, and they can’t call their mothers.

Good news…while I was writing this, Cole called and told me he was having a great time; but when we hung up, I felt as though something might be wrong.  His voice sounded a little funny. I hope he is warm enough, people are nice, his pillow is fluffy, his clothes are clean, the food is good . . . . Maybe,  I should call back and ask him what he really meant when he said everything was “great?”  WAIT! You don’t suppose the no cell rule is more about the parents than the students? No. Couldn’t be!

Odd Loves Company!

11 thoughts on “No Cell Phone Sucks: Tips For Teen Cell Phone Users

  1. Ben often violates tip #1. He says it’s because he doesn’t respond to my text unless I ask a direct question. So when he was at college I learned to end every text with a question mark. Finally we just agreed to forget texting and had a weekly phone call instead. Worked for us.
    Glad to hear Cole is doing great. He’ll be back before you know it.

    • A do what works plaque should be handed to every parent before they leave the hospital with their bundle of joy. If they are smart they will hang the plaque where they can see it every single day.
      I use texting to avoid tone when making an unpopular request, and for reminders. Facebook private messages for things I think might be relevant to Cole or something he might like and phone calls to clarify. And then there are those moments when the world stops, you stop breathing, moving, and slowly silence the ringer on your phone because they are in the same room talking with you :-D.

  2. unfortunately, there are parents out there who have not modeled nor explained appropriate phone behavior to their kids, hence, rules. i applaud you for stepping up & doing the right thing!
    i’m sure cole is doing well in the great state of pa!

    • Valley Forge this weekend, and some other historical sites including the bell, of-course. But really, what he wants the most is an authentic Philly Cheesesteak! It’s in the plans!

  3. No, it is most definitely not you! But don’t call. 😀 I gave my son a cell phone when he started having after school activities. My daughter will have one before school starts next year. I love how handy they are and that my kids and I can reach each other. Much different than when I was a kid, but times have changed. I agree cell phones don’t have to be a big issue.We haven’t had any problems, and really haven’t set up any rules other than common courtesy. My son is teaching his grandmother to text. Recently he had to tell her LOL did not mean Lots of Love he explained it this way, “….it could mean lots of love too if the other person knew what you were talking about, but if they didn’t it could be confusing like if they tell you their dog died or something.” Grandmother and Grandson bonding at its finest! Glad you head from your boy.

    • Funny story! Great example of when something might be inappropriate. I had a friend that was using LOL the same way, and I had to tell her for much the same reason. Cell phones are a great tool, kids just need to be shown (perhaps by example :-D) how to use them.
      I’m glad I heard from him too and he really is having a great time!

  4. I heard from Elijah today as well. First question I asked was are you too hot? He is hot but his sleeping conditions are very good. Glad cole is good. Not much longer. This weel will go by fast.

    • Glad you had a chance to talk to Elijah and things are GREAT. I knew Cole was doing fine today because he hit my Starbucks card (we share the app on the I-phone). You’re right next week will go fast and then we are almost free, free at last for the summer!

  5. It might have been at the request from the kids. 😉 They might have had a meeting with the adults in charge before the one with the parents. 🙄 Glad all are doing great and soon they will be home having missed you so much cause of that rule. 😀

    • Good point Kathy, and very funny. Maybe it is a student conspiracy. Something to think about.

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