Phone Confiscation – Please tell me it gets easier!

(14 Posts)
blueskysmiling Tue 30-Jul-19 11:27:39

We bought my daughter a mobile for her 11th birthday last November as she was walking to and from school and it was reassuring to know when she had arrived. In the last few months since SATS ended and they all became a bit giddy/emotional over leaving primary, it’s become like razorblades in the hands of monkeys.

She is getting into trouble by posting dodgy stories on Instagram and thoughtless comments on the class Watsapp group. I had spoken to her about this and asked her not to post anything she would not be happy for me to see. And we had a deal that I would be able to check it was being used responsibly at any time – she is starting at a girls school some distance away from her friends and was keen to still keep in touch with her old primary classmates AND make arrangements to meet up/chat with the girls she met on her high school open days so despite the fact them come from other towns, they won’t be strangers when they start in September.

But yesterday alone she posted ‘I’M PREGNANT…?’ on an Insta story, told the y6 class Watsapp group she wants to be a Gynocologist and to go and look up what it is, then messaged a friend accusing her of damaging make-up in her room and said that I was furious with the friend and would take it further. I actually spoke at length with my daughter over this immediately after it happened, allowed her to feel sad and disappointed but suggested that the friend had been thoughtless perhaps, but not evil and maybe just to put valuables out of sight and not leave friends alone in her room.

I do lots with my daughter - run, play tennis, watch films, facilitate playdate/activities with friends etc so she has a varied life away from her phone, but it’s not enough. She will take herself off when I’m cooking dinner and go on her phone, and while she can use it for the good, generally it’s a source of trouble.

Even for a bright girl, she doesn’t have the emotional intelligence at 11 to use it sensibly and her hormones are raging. I can’t stand over her 24/7 or occupy her every moment of the day, I feel like I'm Woody from Toy Story trying to stop Sporky from chucking himself in the bin.

So I have taken it away from her. She’s distraught and says she doesn’t want feel so desperate but she feels isolated and won’t have the opportunity to make conversation with her new classmates. I don’t want to return the phone to her as I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I’m torn as to what to do for the best.

OP’s posts: |
FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 30-Jul-19 11:45:02

If she can't use a smart phone responsibly then she shouldn't have one

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 30-Jul-19 11:46:42

Sorry posted to soon, maybe a basic phone for travel to and from school? It is very worrying what she is writing, are there any other underlying issues with friends?

RoseMartha Tue 30-Jul-19 12:23:01

Parent app like qustidio. Even with this you will need to check whatsapp messages. And make sure you block everything and block app store or play store etc.

Also perhaps take away instagram until she is older as she is still underage for it and other SM apps.

My dc are 12 and do moan about the parent app and not having snapchat, instagram and FB but are not ready for them.

VivienneHolt Tue 30-Jul-19 12:27:58

At 11 she really shouldn't have Instagram - their terms of use specify that users must be 13, and there is all kinds of age-inappropriate stuff on the site.

I would get her a basic phone, not a smart phone, so she can still text her friends (albeit not WhatsApp) but not access the internet.

Once she's older and a bit more mature, you can think about giving back the smartphone (but still within reasonable limits).

ThorosOfMyr Tue 30-Jul-19 12:33:56

Yes remove her from Instagram for goodness sake. Try and parent her properly with regard to this. My 11 yr old DD only had WhatsApp and NO other social media. t this age they're just not equipped to deal with this. And I regularly monitor her WhatsApp in front of her and talk about the sort of conversations she's having. Yes DD is annoyed she can't have Instagram and tiktok (bloody awful app) as apparently everyone else in the entire world does - but tough. It's my job to help her and keep her safe.

So to reply to your question - no it doesn't get easier. You have to make the decisions and you have to be the adult.

Pineapplefish Tue 30-Jul-19 12:35:42

Is she able to explain why she posted those stupid things, even though she knew you would be checking her phone and she must have known you would be very angry?

Personally I would give her a 1-week ban - long enough for her to really miss it, but not a permanent ban as you want to show her that you want to trust her if she can be sensible. I would then give it back with the same caveats as before - you can check it at any time, and she will lose it immediately if you see or hear about anything remotely inappropriate.

leafinthewind Tue 30-Jul-19 12:36:31

Can you keep the phone in the kitchen, plugged in to charge? If she wants to message friends, she needs to ask you and then have you be in the room while she does it. That should remind her of the rules - that she shouldn't type anything she doesn't want you to read. At first, you could even look over her shoulder as she writes. If she can't cope with that, the phone (any phone, including a cheap brick) will have to go. She can be awful to friends by text too - a brick will still enable that.

blueskysmiling Tue 30-Jul-19 12:52:25

The only underlying issues are the classmates vying for status and popularity. She has always opted out of this need to be cool, but getting a scholarship for secondary school really boosted her confidence so she went for several positions like house captain, lead in the school production, school council, prefect etc and was successful each time, so the rise in her star has been sudden and I don't think she was fully prepared for the reaction it. Also, having left school, all these positions are gone and I wonder if she is perhaps trying to claw some of the attention back.

OP’s posts: |
blueskysmiling Tue 30-Jul-19 13:15:57

@Pineapplefish She said she thought it was reasonable and didn't see the harm. This is what makes me more certain I'm doing the right thing in removing it.

I know it will be a long 6 weeks holiday - I've taken away a valuable possession and because it's her phone, she can't easily vent to friends, so it's quite isolating.

But we go on holiday for 10 days on Sunday and I want to enjoy electronic free time with her, not be worrying that she's getting into trouble on her phone.

OP’s posts: |
reluctantbrit Wed 31-Jul-19 13:06:39

Easy, delete WhatsApp and Instagram.

DD is 12 and only got a smartphone in Summerterm of Y6, I think - depending on the school - there can be pressure to have one and DD hid her basic one she had before because she was too embarrassed.

So, we kept it WhatsApp free until 2 weeks ago. She now learns to deal with it but we already told her any group we see a conversation we don't approve will be deleted and the phone is checked every other day.

We only agreed to it to make chats with a small group of friends easier but she was than added to class groups and the phone was pinging at 10pm the other night for 30 minutes. No way she will keep it long term, too much for her.

No other social media at all, i know Insta is the new thing but in my opinion they are far too young to deal with the implications.

DD has a nice new friendship group at secondary, she keeps in touch with some girls due to being in the same Scout pack/attending dance school but I personally don't see a need to stay in touch with 50 others.

Mary8076 Sun 18-Aug-19 21:41:01

Activate the Parental control on her phone, at 11 it's a must!

If she has an Iphone it should be already there in the settings, if her phone is an android one just download Family Link (the Google free parental control).
Be sure to block new apps installation, the possibility to access to phone setting and put a screen time limit (at her age 1 hour a day is the maximum recommended). I did it, If you need help doing that drop me a message.

You will able to see what she shares, limit time on phone, block all the inappropriate apps and websites, block phone when you wish, all just by your device. Oh, and block the phone at nightime, better 1hour before bedtime.

Parental control is a godsend, I cannot imagine not having that on my daughters phones!

blueskysmiling Mon 19-Aug-19 09:24:49


Thank you so much - this is excellent advice.

Things have settled down but I realise it's not a time to be woolgathering!

OP’s posts: |
Mary8076 Thu 22-Aug-19 13:15:15

@blueskysmiling You are right, I'm sorry to say this but from experience it's the opposite of "it gets easier" in your title, it gets harder as they grow up, especially in the middle of teen years. They seem all tech savy just willingly looking for troubles!
Luckily the parental control software does a very good job to stop that... and teens are still continuously looking for a way to bypass it! My daughters tried that too until my sister's husband advised me to follow this guide to make the parental control unassailable and it worked like charm, if it can help you too
I hope it will keep working in the future, few minutes of installation to stop years of troubles!

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