My mobile teenage kid

Dear Bloggers,

Today I am going to write about my “mobile hooked” teenage daughter. A few years ago we gave her a mobiole phone so she could reach us whenever it was needed. And yes stupid us (the parents) did not change her account as she was not using it for anything else yet. When I got the last phone bill I nearly got a heart attack. I explained to her that everything she does is costing us money and yes she could have asked us if it was ok that she was using internet on her phone and that she was texting a lot with her friends.

We had a tough conversation with the three of us. (my daughter, my wife and me) I explained to her that she had been using her phone so much the last month and in cash she used what I would be doing in a whole year. We agreed that we should look for a more suitable contract and a different phone that can log on to the modem at home. Further the phone will be used only during the day and at bedtime it will not go to the bedroom. I will not have a teenager in my house who is on call 24/7. As I have met already several teens that are completely hooked to their cell phones. And yes I understand that living in the countryside as a teenager is bloody boring. Is there anything that you can do in their empty life?

Lack of sleep gives this effect

Teenagers! Always on call. Especially here in this small towns with “nothing to do”, where many of them—we’ve come to discover thanks to the good old fashioned local newspapers —sleep with mobile phones under their pillow. Important texts (“Seeing if you’re awake”) simply cannot be missed!

Teenagers are texting all the live long day and continue to do so even when they enter their Twilight-covered sleeping chambers for what sounds like the most restless, unproductive, vibration-under-the-pillow sleep I’ve ever heard of:

At home my nearly twelve year old daughter did the same she slept with her mobile phone under her pillow so she doesn’t miss “emergency” texts – “like if a friend broke up with her boyfriend.” Her schoolfriend is doing the same and is also available for urgent overnight correspondence, such as, “Hey, seeing if you’re awake.” My daughter produced and got as many as 100 texts while in bed. “I just don’t feel like myself if I don’t have my phone near me or I’m not on it,” she said. (We did not know it and explained her that there is more in real life.)

This semi-sleep is being dubbed “on call” by teens, parents and doctors at the local Hospital in Heerenveen, where they are seeing an alarming number of inexplicably exhausted children admitted for evaluation. Yes, you read that correctly! Kids these days are texting so often they’re actually disrupting Stage 4 REM sleep. This is the same stage of sleep that’s important for processing the day’s learning experiences so, yes, in this case mobile phones literally are affecting children’s brains and making them dumber.

And lest you think this is just that I am trying to create a trend out and that I am a grumpy old and irritated bus driver than I can tell you, it’s not! The Central Bureau for Statistics, which is an organisation in the Netherlands that researches things, reports that in a 2010 study on teen mobile phone usage, four in five teens reported sleeping with their bedazzled Blackberrys and iPhones or other kind of Smartphones next to their beds. Some even reported falling asleep with the device still in their hand. Can you imagine how that last one went down?

Application called Data Counter

“Dear Jenny, it’s Kelly. Can you believe Rob? I mean OMG WTF!1!. Did you see how he was looking at…” Zzzz…

Holy crap, Kelly! Wake the fuck up! We need to know what Rob did with what’s her face! Stop sleeping! That’s a sign of weakness! And yes, weakness was purposefully chosen, by me, for that sentence, for this reason:

Sometimes teens answer late-night calls and messages less out of excitement than fear. In focus groups convened by the CBS, some teens related stories of friends or acquaintances who became angry or insulted when text messages or phone calls weren’t immediately returned. “As a result, many teens we heard from said they feel obligated to return texts and calls as quickly as possible, to avoid such tensions and misunderstandings,” the report said.

Application Kiwi to keep track of mobile usage for € 0.99

The data only gets worse from there. A medical centre study found that teens average 33.5 emails and texts per night and are often woken from a sound sleep by a message.They discovered that teens sending more than 120 texts per day were more likely to get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night and doze off in class.

I’l end this little tirade with what must be the saddest quote from a teenager I’ve read in a long, long while, take it away:

“When I’m texting someone I don’t feel alone. When you don’t have your phone, you feel incomplete.”

OMG (omg means Oh My God) what the hell is happening. You know another way you can not be alone? By standing next to a real, live person and talking to them. Also, where the heck are the parents?

The names I used are fictive just to give you an idea of what teens are chatting about, as I do not like to see anyone being harmed by their parents as they might read this blog. And that is absolutely not the plan. I think that we as parents should learn and read more about how our kids are growing up in a fast and dangerous mobile and internet world. Our lives were in that case a lot simpler those days. At least try to keep track of what your kids are doing and try to keep track of their costs. I made a plan with provider KPN to keep track of data and text usage with some simple to install Android apps and of course we have changed her contract which can be adjusted every month.

Try to be a good mobile parent and explain to your teenager kid that things you do cost money. In Dutch we would say: “De zon komt op voor niks en gaat zinloos onder.” I will try to translate The Sun rises for nothing and will go down useless.

The Old Sailor,


  1. Goedenavond Old Sailor,

    Wowww heftig, ik wist dat veel pubers niet zonder hun mobieltje kunnen,
    maar dat het zo erg was niet,
    mijn zoon vergeet z'n mobieltje vaak mee te nemen of kan 'm in huis nergens vinden,
    hij is boos als ie naar school gaat en ik zeg dat ie 'm mee moet nemen,
    hij vindt het ook niet nodig om een abbo'tje te nemen,
    heeft nog gewoon prepaid en verbruikt mss €15,- per jaar.

    fijne avond,
    groetjes que.


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