To be worried sick about my 14 year old and his phone.

(176 Posts)
fairycakes1234 Mon 14-Jun-21 10:01:31

My 14 year old son started secondary school last year. We got him a phone when he was 12 but he never used it apart from making the odd phone call now and again and he was more interested in doing things with his dad, walking the dog, fishing, playing cards. Anyway, he started the new school and has a new set of friends and now hes like a different person, i know it could be his age as well, but he is literally obsessed with his phone, cant leave it out of his hand, if we ask for it, there is huge rows. When we take it off him he sulks, he cries, he shouts, he doesnt want to do anything or interact with the family. We had a huge row last night and i took it off him and hes not getting it back today but hes literally down here now almost crying telling me his friends will be on and hes missing out. I actually think hes addicted to it, and Im really sad that we let it get to this stage. We have decided to limit his use to hour in the morning, and hour at night. Can anyone tell me if you are experiencing this and how do you handle it. Thanks, im so sad about this. He really was such a happy kid and loved being wiht us and now hes sulky, and cheeky if we dont give him the phone. By the way he goes out with his friends, he plays hurling and football so its not like he has nothing to do but it seems like hes doing all this and is happy when hes doing all this but then when activites are over its straight back to the phone. I have an older daughter and she wasnt like this when she was 14 but then i know times are different now. Thanks for reading

OP’s posts: |
Zebraaa Mon 14-Jun-21 11:02:30

This sounds like totally normal teenager behaviour.

Flidina Mon 14-Jun-21 11:09:34

Yep, normal teen, we want out for the day yesterday, which was great, then as soon as an activity was finished, they were both straight back on their phones, till the next activity, the meltdowns are epic when they are removed!

Seeline Mon 14-Jun-21 11:10:03

It does sound normal. And yes he will be missing out if limited to an hour in the evening. My DD does everything via her phone - checking on homework, chatting with friends, arranging her social life etc. I think particularly over the last year with face to face contact so limited, they have become even more reliant on it.

I think it's reasonable to say phones must be left downstairs overnight for charging, but if he is still going out for activities, doing school work etc it all sounds completely normal.

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Mon 14-Jun-21 11:12:53

I think his behaviour is normal too.
What's he like about you checking the content of his messages etc?
Maybe just phone downstairs at bedtime overnight.

PostmanPatandhiscat Mon 14-Jun-21 11:13:49

Yep I have a 14 year old and she’s on facetime or social media for the majority of the time she’s awake . Taking selfie’s for Instagram or Snapchat too but then I’m the same . I’m addicted to my phone and I feel like I have lost my right arm if my battery goes flat !

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Mon 14-Jun-21 11:16:05

Totally normal. Ds had to leave his phone downstairs from 9pm until he was 16.

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namechange30455 Mon 14-Jun-21 11:16:44

I think you're being unreasonable to only let a 14 year old only have his phone for an hour in the evening tbh.

He's a teenager. Most teenagers go through a moody phase where they don't want to do stuff as a family. Stop blaming the phone for it.

ZeroFuchsGiven Mon 14-Jun-21 11:18:47

Why on earth are you taking his phone off him? This is totally normal behaviour for a teenager.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep Mon 14-Jun-21 11:20:22

It's normal but it doesn't mean it's ok or healthy
You need to put some boundaries in place as you have started doing.

LeafBeetle Mon 14-Jun-21 11:20:41

I have a 13yo and a 15yo. I think an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening would be unreasonable and he will be missing out socially. The things I insist on are:
1. Phones away at mealtimes
2. They are up to date with homework and do lots of after school activities (sports, music etc)
3. Phones off at night.
Beyond that, phone use is not restricted.

Maybe have a chat with him? Explain your concerns and agree on some rules that seem fair to him and you rather than just imposing them?

UserAtRandom Mon 14-Jun-21 11:22:44

You need to translate "on his phone" to what he is actually doing.

What he is doing (based on my teens) is probably a mix of:
- reading (books or news items or articles of general interest)
- school work
- listening to music
- watching a film/tv programme
- "chatting" to friends

Do you really disagree with him doing these?

The key to us for restricting phone use was for the child to do other activities - so if he's going to school, doing homework, meeting his friends in person, doing out of school activities and doing jobs round the house, that's probably already taking up a chunk of his time. Why is restricting what he does with the rest of his time such an issue? How do you spend your free time?
Taking the phone from him overnight is sensible at this age, but the rest is very restrictive and will set him apart from his peers.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 14-Jun-21 11:24:56

Normal: phone
Normal: stroppy teenager
Normal: less interested in activities

All normal, all rubbish.
Equally look at us as adults, ashamed to say I’m never hours off my phone, we’re all addicted.

EmeliaKate Mon 14-Jun-21 11:25:28

Phone addiction is so worrying in our teens. I caught my 14 year old DD trying to wash her hands the other day, while holding her phone hmm.

I have no answers..but I wish I did...

arethereanyleftatall Mon 14-Jun-21 11:27:27

Thing is, phones are, basically, their friends. Especially in covid times. We might not like it, because we grew up outside, but it's how they interact nowadays, it just is. It's not fair to take away his phone so much, yes he is missing out.
Dd has to put her phone in the kitchen at 9pm at night, and she does an extra curricular sport every day after school, but other than that, I don't take her phone away. I don't think it me fair.

Iggi999 Mon 14-Jun-21 11:29:37

It is developmentally normal for him to be less interested in his parents at this age and more in his friends

Tal45 Mon 14-Jun-21 11:32:47

Being on a phone for hours at a time isn't sociable, it's antisocial. When I was at uni I had friends who were on their phone all the time and I found it just plain rude, unnecessary and complete FOMO (even though they were rarely missing out on anything - well apart from everything that was happening around them). Get him to put his phone away for an hour and then ask him what he's actually missed out on - I bet it's nothing. You'll always get people who say it's fine - generally because it's what they do themselves. I think it's awful and I think it's great to set some boundaries.

Scarlettpixie Mon 14-Jun-21 11:33:33

I don’t restrict my 14 yos phone use. He has to do school work without it but that’s about it. He uses it for music, you tube, talking to / messaging friends, looking at the internet etc.

If someone restricted my phone use to a couple of hours a day I would be grumpy too!

arethereanyleftatall Mon 14-Jun-21 11:35:30

It depends what they're doing on their phone though @Tal45 I think.
Scrolling mindlessly through stupid you tube videos, or simply chatting and interacting with their friends who don't live within walking distance.

Regularsizedrudy Mon 14-Jun-21 11:37:40

Let the poor boy have his phone. Maybe just take it off him overnight

Goldenbear Mon 14-Jun-21 11:39:48

I think it's pretty normal, I have a 14 year old and he will check his phone regularly for social life, social media and school work but he's also an avid reader of political philosophy at the moment so I am not too concerned as he seems to hit a balance. I think it is a tool that you must be equipped with for modern life. If he's getting outside to play sport there is obviously a balance to some extent.

PinkG0ld Mon 14-Jun-21 11:40:07

You can’t compare a 14 year old to a 12 year old. You change a lot during that time? You say your older DD wasn’t like this at 14… was she a teen when smartphones weren’t really a thing? Just encourage him to study and do sports/extracurricular/meet friends in person and ask him to leave his phone downstairs when he’s off to bed so he’s not on it all night.

Goldenbear Mon 14-Jun-21 11:40:43

Oh yes music inspiration although he wants vinyl now.

Kapalika Mon 14-Jun-21 11:45:00

I have 13.5 year old boy. Seems normal to me, along with the extreme stroppiness. I would take it off him at night though and hand it back in the morning.
No looking at it during meals.

Thefaceofboe Mon 14-Jun-21 11:45:26

My phone was my life at 14 so I could keep in touch with my friends. My mum used to argue we had nothing to talk about as we’d seen each other at school. I think YABU taking his phone off him unless it’s punishment for something else, like bad behaviour, not just being attached to it.

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