539 out of 200

This post, entitled 539 out of 200, was originally published on Pragmatic Commotion on February 19, 2009.


yep. I said that right. That would be 539 text messages on a plan that allows for 200 per month. And the month wasn’t even half over.

FavoriteSon and FirstHusband went on a field trip to Washington DC last week and while the students weren’t allowed to talk to each other on their phones, they were allowed to text each other. Just for the fun of it, when they got back, I got online to check FavoriteSon’s usage.

Voice Minutes Used: 8 (and he didn’t even call his mother)
Text Messages: 539

That was February 14th and the billing cycle ends in March.

So after a little family pow wow, I got on the phone and increased his text message to 1,500 for an extra $10 per month. Back dated to include the 539 messages so he won’t have to pay 10 cents for each one over 200.

Because he’s 13. And communicating with his peers. Which he wasn’t really doing so much last year. Before the contact lenses. and the clear skin. and the cool hair. and the team sports. and he’s a good kid, who gets good grades and does his chores. most of the time. and is sweet to his baby sister. some of the time.

Besides. He’s paying for it.

The rules? We’re making them up as we go along, but so far:

1. This rule was instituted the day he got his phone: No phone in the bedroom at night.
2. We get to look at his text messages. If we ask, he allows us. (he can read mine too)
3. He promises he will not text anyone anything their parents will need to call us about.
4. No texting during homework or family meals.
5. He doesn’t forward chain texts & tells his friends to stop sending them.
6. He has to check his own minutes and self-regulate.

He is very motivated to keep these rules. He’s eligible for an upgrade.

What teenager cell phone/texting rules have worked for you?

3 thoughts on “539 out of 200

  1. You would think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be amazaed how many teens I see texting in church. It amazes me the parents don’t put their foot down.

    Don’t know if his phone has the capability, but you’ll need to address picture sending at some point.

    Linda – Yep. He’s already had a friend send him a media message and he had to pay for it. He’s already told all his friend NOT to send pictures. It’s not in his package, so it’s pay per use. Since he has to pay for it, he is very motivated to make sure he doesn’t get any media messages. And texting during church? I don’t think so. He knows better. Although I’ve texted my husband to tell him where we are sitting after he dropped us off to park the van. But that was BEFORE church started. (by JSM)

  2. Those are fantastic rules. My son is 15, but began this whole texting thing about a year ago. After my own personal struggles with why he would need to text LOL to someone when he could simply pick up the phone and talk to them like a human being (But MooooOOOOoommmm… that’s so not cool!), I realized it was an uphill battle not worth fighting. My only rules are like yours, with the exception of not using the cell phone for actual phone calls if you’re near a land line. Not that I have limited minutes, but it still kills me to see him pick up his cell to call a friend, when the “regular” phone is laying right there! 😀

    Sandra – I actually text quite a bit myself. I text FavoriteSon quite a bit. I text FirstHusband the most though. But I have a full keyboard on my phone (a Centro). When his company wanted to get him a Blackberry, my strongest advice to him was to get one with a full keyboard. He is VERY glad he did. If I had to text on a regular phone keyboard I probably wouldn’t.

    FavoriteSon uses his phone to call his friends instead of the land line, but (1) he hardly ever makes voice calls and (2) we rollover minutes nearly every month. (by JSM)

  3. Great rules, and guidelines for him. My son is 14 and has not embraced the cell phone text thing……yet. But I need to be prepared for that day.

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