We received our cell phone bill the other day and I almost stroked out. It wasn’t the cost that surprised me. We pay for three phones, unlimited calls and data, so that amount is fairly set each month. No, my friends, it was the number of texts our teenage son sent last month that had me frantically searching for aspirin. Before I reveal the total, know that I came in at the lowest, with a whopping seventy-one messages. (I know this sounds low, but remember I have giant sausage fingers and an ancient flip phone. So really, sending even one text is an impressive feat worthy of praise. [Insert praise] Why, thank you!) My husband Doo was in the middle with approximately 175. He actually enjoys conversing on a phone and often will just call a person rather than text. Reason number 37 why I love him.
When Doo asked me to estimate how many messages I thought our former Chez Wilson prison inmate had sent, I imagined a fairly high number and then doubled it, just to be on the safe side. “Two thousand,” I said. Doo snickered. I was way off, and not in the right direction. No, our dexterous heir texted . . . are you ready for this? . . . 10,982 times in one month. Ten thousand, nine hundred, and eight-flippin’-two! Almost eleven thousand text messages! No wonder we had to ground him for poor grades. The kid is spending every waking hour, and then some, texting on his stupid phone. And if your son knows my son, it means your child is, too!
We did the math. Our beloved first-born is texting, on average, 366 times daily. Assuming he sleeps at least eight hours, attends school for another eight, and is otherwise engaged in sports or chores or on the rare occasion, homework, for another two, he is sending 61 messages an hour. That’s one text every minute. Seriously? And okay, I realize the average is less when you throw in weekends, but still. That’s a buttload of texting.
Or is it? We’ve been secretly surveying other families with teenagers (and quietly judging them.) Turns out ten thousand is certainly on the high end but not all that uncommon. Kids these days don’t spend hours talking on the phone like we did; they just text. And as one astute mom pointed out, many of their messages are single words or letters. “Hi.” “No.” “K.” So maybe I over-reacted a tad when I saw the amount, but I can assure you we will be changing our discipline methods next time they’re called for. Goodbye weekend incarceration, hello cell phone confiscation. Peace out.