20 Emergencies When Your Teen MUST Text: A Case for Teens and Cell Phones

Jun 26 2014

So many articles about teenagers and entitlement and so little time, you know?

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Also, blah, blah, blah, because my teen is as entitled as I was 25 years ago, by which I mean she is kind, and funny, and smart, and totally self-absorbed, and deeply concerned about others, and constantly confused about why she can’t have all the things she wants when she wants them.

She’s a hard worker and just amazingly lazy. Frugal and extravagant. Charming and annoying. And learning – constantly learning – about life and the people around her and her place in it all. So she’s human, really. And the same as I am now, at age 40, if I’m going to be honest.

My teenager has a cell phone which she half earned and half was given, about which I feel fine. I use it as an apron string, one she seems happy to cling to, and I make her text me with every new destination, plan and time change. She uses it appropriately and inappropriately; again, like her mama, sometimes with good boundaries about screen time and sometimes without. She uses it to stare at when she’s in social situations that make her feel uncomfortable, like how I used her in her infancy at parties and groups as a distraction from feeling scared and lonely and not knowing what to say. She puts the phone away – all the way away and on silent – at doctor appointments and guidance counselor meetings and not always in class. She’s an expert at high-speed car chase games and she makes a mean virtual cupcake. 

And the rest of the time, she texts. She texts and texts and texts like it’s oxygen and salvation. But that’s OK because the main reason we let her have a phone was for emergencies. And that’s how she uses it. For EMERGENCIES. Lots and lots of emergencies. Like these:

  1. To say, “Mom.”
  2. When I haven’t responded in 3 seconds, to say, “MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
  3. 3 seconds after that to say, “TEXT ME BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
  4. 2 seconds after that to say, “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
  5. To say, “fine”
  6. To say, “MOM! I CAN’T FIND THE THING!!!!!!”
  7. To say, “found it. bring me coffee on ur way home?”
  8. To say, “Coffee?????!!!”
  9. To say, “PLZ BRING ME COFFEE”
  10. To say, “Can u get coffee??”
  11. When I say, “Not planning to,” to say, “:( but can you? I’ll help w the kids. And manage there jobs! ;)”
  12. To say, “?”
  13. To say, “I NEED COFFEE PLZ I’ll do anything”
  14. When I write back, “Can’t right now,” to say, “Ugggghh kay. :(“
  15. To say, “But why????”
  16. When I write back, “Working,” to say, “:( alright…………………:(“
  17. To say, “K”
  18. To say, “miss u”
  19. To say, “Come snuggle me soon”
  20. To say, “come home. luv u”

In conclusion, I wish we’d put away those silly cultural arguments that we overindulge our teens and they don’t really need phones. CLEARLY they do need them. And use them. For emergencies. It’s a safety issue, folks. Case closed.

P.S. My teen approved this message.

P.P.S. I don’t text anything irritating. I am awesome all the time, and Abby’s never, ever annoyed by me.

P.P.P.S. My teen did not approve the P.P.S.

BethAbby3