Ways Kids Outsmart Parents When Their Phones Are Taken

Taking away Cell Phone Privileges Is a Common Punishment

Well, it's finally happened. As a parent, you have decided that the most effective punishment for poor grades, bad behavior, a rotten attitude, lying, cheating, or whatever is to take away your child's cell phone. In addition to grounding, taking the phone for a specified period of time is a fairly common punishment. After all, you figuratively want to hit them where it hurts.

After begging for any other punishment, your child complies and proceeds to sulk in his or her room for the next few days—or so you think. If you're not tech savvy, then you may not realize that your child has found a way to get around your punishment. You see, your kids are inseparable from their phones, just like peanut butter is inseparable from jelly or, to my friends in the U.K., fish is inseparable from chips. They think that they simply cannot exist without their cellular devices.

What's a Parent to Do?

Ultimately, your goal in doling out a punishment is to make your child change their behavior. But that will only happen if the punishment is effective, and it's not if they outsmart you. In order for the loss of cell phone privileges to work, then your child must lose privileges for all electronics. But brace yourself—the punishment may be worse for you than them!

Three Clever Ways Kids Text and Message Their Friends When They Don't Have Phones

1. Put His or Her Sim Card in Another Phone

Before handing over their phones, children may covertly remove their sim card*. Then they simply put the sim card into an older phone from the same carrier (either from your home or a friend's) and they're up and running again. They may have to "suffer" and use an older model for awhile, but they still can text and talk to their heart's desire and will even have all their contacts.

*The sim card is a small, rectangular card which is usually located behind the battery. It stores your phone number and contacts. Not all cell phone carriers use sim cards, though. Sprint and Verizon are the two main carriers that do not use this technology. If your phone does use a sim card and you want to switch phones, then you will probably need to just open the battery cover, remove the battery, pop out the sim card and then put it in a different handset from the same carrier.

How to Check to See If The Sim Card Has Been Removed on an iPhone 5

2. Use a Free Texting App on an iPod Touch, iPad, Android, or Web

There seem to be apps for everything, and free texting is no exception. After about a minute of downloading the app (if they don't already own it), they can text from their iPod touch or iPad. These apps also work on phones, but remember, you took that away. When they use a free text app, their friends will see some strange phone number, but that's really the only oddity. After they have gotten a few friends' phone numbers, unbeknownst to you, they can send and receive free texts without actually having their phone or sim card in their possession.

Two popular texting apps are TextNow by Enflick, Inc. and TextFree Unlimited by Pinger, Inc.

Kids May Use the TextFree App to Text on Devices Other Than Phones

3. Communicate Through Instant Messages

There are many ways to instantly message friends. For example, in 2008 Facebook launched Facebook Chat, a real-time chat system to communicate with other Facebook friends who are online. If your child has a Facebook account, then they can message from anything that can get on the Internet. Facebook Chat even has an app, so it's easy to use on any device. Instant messages may not be quite as mobile as texting from a cell phone, and they can only message if their friend is online too, but it still gives them a sense of outsmarting your punishment and helps them keep in the loop.

Kids May Use Facebook Chat to Message a Friend Without a Phone

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Comments 31 comments

MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

I rated this "Useful" - interesting thoughts "Put their phone's sim card in another phone" - We have to be smarter than our kids! :)


Reena J 5 years ago

see, today's kids are more smart; that too especially in using the electronic items..parents should be careful in what they do with their child and points stated in this hub is true..


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

Brilliant. I have often taken away my eldest daughters phone as a punishment. The thing is that I would never have thought to check if the sim card was still in it. It makes me wonder if she has outsmarted me in the past, but I will certainly be checking in the future. Great hub and great information. Definitely deserving of a vote up and awesome. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for all your input. It seems kids, especially as they get older, are usually one step ahead of us when it comes to technology and communication. Keeping up with their "creativity" can become a real cat and mouse game. I cannot begin to fathom what parents 20 years from now will have to deal with.


stestifie profile image

stestifie 5 years ago from Sin City

This hub was really interesting and useful! I know my kids will do this, I can't wait to "one up" them! I will be sure to get the sim card too =) Thanks for this, I vote UP!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks stestifie. Your comment made me laugh. It seems as if you're looking forward to the chance to "one up" them!


stestifie profile image

stestifie 5 years ago from Sin City

=P HAHA! When I was younger my step dad was always "one up" on me and I can't wait to show my kids how tech-savvy I am. Not that that's the only way to do it, but kids almost always think us parents are stupid when it comes to "new stuff" I mean, I did it. Sometimes they figured it out and sometimes they didn't but It was almost like a game. You knew sooner or later you would get caught!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

"Let the games begin" stestfie!


MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

"Let the games begin" - that was hilarious! :)


stestifie profile image

stestifie 5 years ago from Sin City

Nice Ktrapp, that is exactly what I was thinking-awesome! =)


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Glad to make you laugh Marlo. Sometimes as parents, if we don't laugh then we cry. So as of today, I am going to try to regain that attitude that has escaped me for awhile!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

stestifie - I think I may work on another hub with other ways our kids try to outsmart us, I have a lot churning in my head.


stestifie profile image

stestifie 5 years ago from Sin City

OOOOHHHHH! I can't wait to read it! I will need all the advice I can get. They're gonna be thinking, "Dang, how'd she know?" LOL


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

I'll let you know then when I get it done.


stestifie profile image

stestifie 5 years ago from Sin City

Thanks a bunch!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Excellent hub. Voted up. Do keep writing on this topic. Parents need all the help they can get from good, concise hubs.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks RTalloni. I am outlining an additional hub right now with other sneaky things kids do that I've heard of from my kids and their friends over the years. It may just turn into a series on ways kids try to outsmart parents.


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

Technology is becoming more of a nightmare than a friend.Good hub.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

It's definitely a nightmare for parents to monitor. I'm glad my kids are older now. Thanks for commenting.


lisabeaman profile image

lisabeaman 5 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Great hub! I realized a while ago that taking cell phones away was more of a hassle for me than them, so I usually try something else. But I have noticed a lot of my kids' friends on facebook saying things like, "Got my phone taken away, chat with me instead" in their status. You're right in the fact that they will not learn anything from the punishment if they find a way around it.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Lisa. Those kids think they're so sneaky, don't they? It usually works though.

It just sort of occurred to me that our parents didn't have all this stuff available to take away from us for a punishment, but I don't remember kids doing as many bad things making the need for a punishment. So, do cell phones, video games, facebook, etc. lead kids to do things they shouldn't or not do things they should? HaHa - That thought could cause an uproar among certain age groups.

I am sort of kidding, but those things definitely affect grades in an indirect way - which I bet is a very popular reason for the cell phone punishment.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


lisabeaman profile image

lisabeaman 5 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Ktrapp... you're right about out parents not having this stuff available to take away, but they also didn't have this stuff to tax their brains and challenge their parenting skills! Technology adds a whole new layer to parenting. I think all these extra things really do cause more distractions for kids and gives them much easier access to temptations. Parents need to be aware of the dangers and make sure they communicate and talk with their kids about the technology they use. We can't afford to live in denial.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois Author

That's very true Lisa; a new layer of parenting is a good way to put it.


Kim Cammaro profile image

Kim Cammaro 4 years ago from NY

Thankfully I'm not at this age yet (mine are 6 and 8) but I never ever thought of the sim card in another phone. I will now! We have old cell phones lying around so it would be simple. Thanks!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Kim - In a few years I'm am sure there will be even more clever ways kids outsmart parents' punishments of taking cell phones or other technology away. Unfortunately for a lot of parents, the kids usually are one step ahead :)


kelleyward 4 years ago

Very interesting hub. Those kids are always one step ahead of us in technology it seems. I don't have kids old enough to have a cell phone yet but this is valuable information. Thanks!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Kelleyward - Thanks. I couldn't agree more; when it comes to technology kids are always one step ahead of parents, and teachers too! Since your kids are not old enough to have cell phones yet, my best advice to you, would be to not give them one until they really need it - which is usually a lot older than when their peers get one. Thanks for stopping by.


marisa 3 years ago

my parents always yell at me calls me really bad names and takes my i pad and i pod away and canceled my phone should they do that because its wrong


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Marisa - I think it's bad to call bad names, but there's nothing wrong with taking your iPad, iPod and phone away as a punishment. Those things are privileges and I'm guessing you can earn them back.


Esther  Strong profile image

Esther Strong 3 years ago from UK

Most interesting. Well done for finding this stuff out and for sharing. Voted up and more.


Morgan Payne 22 months ago

I'm 14 and I realize I'm turning a lot of kids in. Kids my age find where the phone is by calling it when the parents aren't nearby, and leaving the case in the room and taking the phone! Also, you can access every social media app from a computer. I can post on Instagram from my desktop! Sorry kids

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