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Does your teen have a cell phone?

Updated on December 5, 2010

Teen Cell Phone Usage

Does your teen have a cell phone?

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My fifteen year old son complained to me the other day that he was the only one in his class that did not have a cell phone. I found this hard to believe at first. Then I started to look around and realized that this may be true. I have five children. Three of them have cells and two do not. My six year old is too young to have one and my fifteen year old cannot afford one yet. The other three teens have income to support the cell phone.

According to “Cell-phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends, with cell calling a close second. Some 75% of 12-17 year olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004.” One in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day, or 3000 texts a month.”

When I was fifteen cell phones were not that common and they were expensive. The problem here is I told my kids that they needed to have a part time job before I would sign for a cell contract. I am ultimately responsible for the bill; but they would pay for it themselves. I am a firm believer in teaching young adults that they need to earn things like cell phones. I still see cells as luxury; but I have since learned that parents are seeing the cell-phone as a “I know where my kids are at all times...” device. Is this accurate though?

How safe are kids who own cell phones? PEW has some interesting research on what teenagers think about mobile phone safety:

  • 58% of teens from schools that forbid cell phones use them during class anyway

  • 31% of teens that take their cell phones to school send text messages during class everyday

  • 4% of teens age 12-17 have sent a "sext message"

  • 15% of teens age 12-17 have received a "sext message"

  • 8% of older teens sent "sext messages", 30% of older teens received them

  • No gender difference in sending or receiving "sext messages"

  • 52% of teens talk while driving a car

  • 34% of teens text while driving a car

  • 26% of teens have been bullied via text message

  • Girls text message more than boys

Has the toy become the tool? Do we need this tool so much that we are spending the grocery money to obtain it? Have cell phones become status symbols?

After researching this subject I feel more empathy for my teen who is without a cell phone. Do your children have cell phones? How old are they? Or are we just victims of corporate brainwashing making us consumer zombies ready to dump our money on the latest gadget?


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for this informative article! I am employed by a Canada-wide security firmy (Commissionaires BC). I recall being required to work during a couple of strikes in 1992 or three. An official in one of the companies was given a c-phone by his firm so that he could communicate some non-strikers.

      I still recall people's amazement at it's versatility. (And it could do anything like what the current generation of these marvels can.) This is a good, informative article and certainly brings the beat cop into community life in an effective and very pleasant way.


    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      7 years ago

      No problem. :)

    • Kenneth Ray profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken McGonigal 

      7 years ago from Maple Ridge, BC

      Thanks QudsiaP1!

    • QudsiaP1 profile image


      7 years ago

      In a manner, cell phones have become a necessity. Where at one time they were a luxury, now they are required as like all technology we have become way too dependent on them.

      I like how you teach your children that having a cell phone is a luxury. It is a very positive approach.

      Your 15 year old may demand it now but believe me, it is for most of the non sense that we all do.

      So get your kid a cell phone when s/he can afford it and morn importantly when s/he realises that they have to EARN it.


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