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  1. #1
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    Default Rules for texting?

    What are your family's rules for texting in the middle school crowd?

    DD got a new phone at Christmas, and her friends (6th graders) have been getting phones as well. DD is excited to start texting with friends, and we agree it's about time to let her (she's texted us and her sisters for months now). But, we're stuck on "appropriate" limit setting and rules. Phone is in the living room generally, and only allowed in her bedroom if the 2/4/5yos are here. It's not password protected, except to buy/download things, and only I know the password.

    So, the current "what to do about" is who she is allowed to text. We told her to get her <specifically named> BFF's phone number, so that they could text. She's a good kid, they like to hang out, they are equally socially awkward, not concerned about them texting inappropriate things. (While interested in boys, neither has enough interest to actually talk/hang-out/"date" a boy yet, so I'm not worried about pressure to sext or such.) However, DD then gave her phone number to another child (whose name we hear, but who we have never met), and DD got her number (though, it turns out, it had too many digits). Then this "unknown-to-us" friend texted DD last night. DD lied about who it was ("It's my best friend!" but refused to say it was specifically named friend above), and if we (DH or I) gave permission to text with this person.

    Are we ridiculous expecting her to only text with kids we know? She's got 4-5 good friends, 3 whom we've met, and allow texting with anyone of them that we've met except for 1 (because she's seriously boy crazy with zero parental involvement and seeks adult male attention).

    What are your family's rules for texting, especially when the child is pretty oblivious re: social situations and new to texting?
    --Mimi
    Mom to Lala (2004), Bonus Mom to Big Sis 1 (1991) and Big Sis 2 (1992)
    Grammy to Big Kindy Kid (2011), Big Pre-K Kid (2012),
    Grandbaby Appendage (2014), and New Baby Grandboy (summer 2017)

  2. #2
    jren is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    My DD is 12 and just graduated 6th. Texting really picked up this past school year. The kids all text each other, group texts as well. Everyone has everyone's number. She knows I am allowed to read all texts as they are coming in and at any time at my discretion. The texts are pretty much just a bunch of "hi"s. Not a lot happening. She has a boy who regularly texts her and she gives quick yes no responses and doesn't engage at all. We've talked about appropriate use of texting and social media (she just got Instagram). If she posts something even slightly questionable, I make her delete it and we discuss why it was borderline. This is the teaching age. In a few years, they'll be too good at hiding stuff. So I hope she learns why things are and aren't okay now.

    I would put a password on her phone. We had an instance where a school friend got a hold of DD's phone at a school lock-in and texted a friend of DD's some stuff. My DD handled it, made the girl apologize to her friend. But after that we put a passcode on the phone.


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  3. #3
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Phone is password protected and we know the password. A year ago, someone got a hold of ds1's iPad and used ds1's account to harass someone. Caused oodles of trouble though everyone involved knew my kiddo didn't do it. It was passwords protected but the other kid got to it before the pw kicked on. Anyway, passwords are good. Rule is parents need to know them.
    Phone gets charged in the kitchen over night.
    We can access his phone whenever we want and look at whatever we want.
    We don't limit his contacts if they're kids from school. Other situations haven't come up.


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  4. #4
    erosenst is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    DD just ended 6th grade. Phone is password protected. Wide circle of people that she texts with - school, camp friends , other friends etc. Lots of silly group chats as well. All social plans made via text whether one friend coming over, a bday party, etc.

    We know her password but pretty rarely check it. Deal is that as long as we don't have a reason to not trust her we will only check very rarely. Phone has a 10p curfew on school nights but otherwise allowed in her room.

    Having said that - every kid is different and you know her best. If you really think he lack of social awareness can lead to issues I'd probably make a "daily phone check" rule. For most (not all, and you're best judge) kids, limiting to 3 kids at end of 6th isn't realistic or reasonable if you want her social skills to develop.


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  5. #5
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    JBaxter is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    DS3 is in 6th Texting is a way of life with is friends. His phone is also password protected but I have his password and he asks permission to change it. To me texting is an extension of talking. I randomly check his phone every couple days to see whats going on with his friends. I actually got alerted by one of DS3s friends mom that he was having a problem with a bullying situation.
    Jeana, Momma to 4 fantastic sons

    Everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions

  6. #6
    toby is offline Gold level (500+ posts)
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    There is so much good advice here... lalasmama -let us know how it goes!

    I'm sorry for hijacking, but how did your kids' react when you told them that you would or might look at their texts? We haven't quite gotten to the texting stage, but DS has told us that reading texts is like looking at someone's diary. I see what he is saying, but I think that it is important to keep track...

  7. #7
    SAHMIL is offline Silver level (200+ posts)
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    My son is not of texting age yet, but here are two things I have learned. I believe for droids there is a web site called my mobile watchdog and you an see every text your kid sends by registering phone. Apple products don't have this yet but you can hook up your phone to their cloud or install your cloud on their phone. I did this with my sons iPad so I see what he sends me me and my husband


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby View Post
    I'm sorry for hijacking, but how did your kids' react when you told them that you would or might look at their texts? We haven't quite gotten to the texting stage, but DS has told us that reading texts is like looking at someone's diary. I see what he is saying, but I think that it is important to keep track...
    "That is so UNFAIR! That's my own personal business!" And then I pointed out that she has an iPhone 6 with a killer plan, and if she'd like to have her own private phone where we aren't monitoring it, she's welcome to give us the $85/mo that her phone costs (between leasing the phone and 1/4 of the service plan) when she's 18. She continued to fuss about it a little more, however, once we pointed out that we weren't arguing, and it was a safety issue, she relented. She still grumbles about it, but has accepted that we have the final say if she wants to have a phone and texting plan.
    --Mimi
    Mom to Lala (2004), Bonus Mom to Big Sis 1 (1991) and Big Sis 2 (1992)
    Grammy to Big Kindy Kid (2011), Big Pre-K Kid (2012),
    Grandbaby Appendage (2014), and New Baby Grandboy (summer 2017)

  9. #9
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby View Post
    There is so much good advice here... lalasmama -let us know how it goes!

    I'm sorry for hijacking, but how did your kids' react when you told them that you would or might look at their texts? We haven't quite gotten to the texting stage, but DS has told us that reading texts is like looking at someone's diary. I see what he is saying, but I think that it is important to keep track...
    I was just reading through my ds1's earlier and he asked what I was doing. I reminded him that I could check when and he didn't complain.


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  10. #10
    boolady is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default Rules for texting?

    Quote Originally Posted by toby View Post
    There is so much good advice here... lalasmama -let us know how it goes!

    I'm sorry for hijacking, but how did your kids' react when you told them that you would or might look at their texts? We haven't quite gotten to the texting stage, but DS has told us that reading texts is like looking at someone's diary. I see what he is saying, but I think that it is important to keep track...
    Well, I don't agree with your DS that text messages are equivalent to a diary. A diary contains a person's private thoughts and the things he chooses to record for his own reflection. I think of a diary as a place someone records things he doesn't want to share with anyone. And I respect that and would not read my child's diary unless I thought she was in crisis or some other extraordinary situation.

    Texting is the opposite. Text messages are communications to and from the outside world, and can include links, photos, etc. I want to read my DD's texts as much to see what she's receiving as what she's sending, if not more so. In our house, it's very simple. If you want the privilege of communicating with your friends that way using a device and/or carrier I pay for, you accept that the terms of use include my monitoring your texts.
    Last edited by boolady; 05-30-2016 at 10:43 PM.
    Jen, mom to my silly monkey, 10/06

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