Why Do Kids Get Their Phones Taken Away by Parents?

By Susan Revermann
Explain to your child when and where cellphone use is appropriate.
Explain to your child when and where cellphone use is appropriate.

Cellphones help parents stay in touch with their kids and come in very handy in an emergency, but there are times when parents may find it necessary to revoke their child’s cellphone use. Taking the phone away can be a means of grounding or losing privileges until the child’s behavior or life choices improve. Creating a cellphone agreement with your child and clearly stating your rules and expectations can help minimize any misunderstandings of what will cause a phone removal situation.

Breaking the Rules

When certain house rules are broken, parents can enforce a consequence like taking the phone away for a certain amount of time. For instance, breaking the house rules, missing curfew, being disrespectful or disobedient, talking back to parents, using the phone past the established bedtime, not doing house chores or fighting with siblings may result in this consequence.

School Problems

If a child is having problems at school, parents may feel that taking a phone away can help deter this kind of issue. If the child is using his phone during school and in class, this may be considered grounds for removal. Getting in trouble at school, fighting, bullying or name calling may result in the loss of phone privileges. If the child is not completing assignments or is getting poor grades, parents may want to take the phone away until the situation improves.

Inappropriate Use

As with any new gadget and situation, kids like to play, experiment and test the boundaries. Some issues have come up with kids using phones for inappropriate activities. In these cases, parents may feel that the child is not ready or responsible enough for a phone at this time. The issues of sending nude, partially nude or suggestive photos and sexting, sending inappropriate sexual messages, have become problems for some older kids. Some kids view inappropriate content with their phones' Internet access. Texting while driving is dangerous for the driver and other people on the road. Parents often don’t like it when a child is using the phone during family meals, so that may result in a no-phone evening. If the child is bullying or spreading inappropriate rumors about others, a parent could revoke phone privileges.

Underuse and Overuse

Some kids may not be using the phone at all, and parents may feel that the phone is not necessary at this time. On the other end of the spectrum, if a child is habitually going over his allotted phone minutes or on the phone all day long, it can result in costly charges that the parents do not want to pay. Calling internationally or calling in a roaming area may also result in extra charges.