Girls and Phones
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Girls and Phones
Mom with a View

Girls and Phones

How to manage phone time for teenage girls.

by

You must be kidding! Or very naive to even think that you could do such a thing.

I long ago stopped answering the phone in my home after school hours. I knew it was never for me. And that's okay. This is their time.

The phone is their lifeline. It is their constant connection to their friends (on the nights that sleeping over is a no go!). And their friends are all important.

We can't really force them to do their homework instead; they'll probably do it on their own schedule (late at night) anyway. Unless of course they want your help – in which case, you can make clear that your availability is at a much earlier point.

Like nature, teenage girls abhor a vacuum.

But the real question is why would you want to? It's not as if they were on the phone less, they'd spend more time at the Natural History Museum or browsing important photography exhibits or even doing volunteer work. (In fairness, they probably do some of that anyway.)

Like nature, teenage girls abhor a vacuum. If we limit their phone time, they will find other alternatives. They will go on the computer (if they have the option) with its inherent dangers. They will go to the mall – with its other inherent dangers. And those are the good and fairly "wholesome" alternatives. I don't need to delineate the kind of real trouble that teenage girls can, God forbid, get into – trouble that is all too easy to find.

Not only will they be looking to fill the time (no, they will not choose to just go to bed early) but they will be looking to fill the emotional space as well. That constant chattering on the phone to their girlfriends is an important emotional connection for our daughters. We don't want them searching for it elsewhere.

When I look around me at all the risks that teenagers take, at their foolhardy and sometimes self-destructive behaviors, at all the addictions and other issues that plague today's adolescents, I am grateful for the phone.

I am glad that is what my daughters are doing. Instead of trying to limit our teenage girls' phone time, we should appreciate that this is their "vice" of choice. One small glance around the world and you know you have nothing to complain about. And for a very small investment, you can purchase top quality ear plugs...

Published: January 3, 2009


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 12

(11) SloawnrivalkaS., October 2, 2011 6:16 AM

Humbly thank G-d for discovering what girls like.

Humbly thank Ms. Braverman for insights into the way girls act inasmuch as am an orphan and have never found a lady to marry and have the joys of investing in and raising a girl or a boy if so blessed to sit on one's lap and delight in and so happy that discover these article by Ms Braverman during the High Holy Days of Awe. Have a Happy Yantiff to those who blog and say meaningful things in response to the full of meaning articles by Ms Braverman and I bless her for what she demonstrates with words as the wholesome things to dwell on as regards the difficult task of raising pleasing to G-d girls who become women giving G-d glory in doing so by the holy way they plant their hands and feet and direct their eyes and mouth in going into the future carrying a torch of liberty for others to praise G-d in response. -a Noahide gur toshav orphan

(10) Anonymous, March 29, 2011 5:56 PM

Other worthwhile activities

What ever happened to after school activities such as sports, drama, music, dance, etc. These activities allow girls to grow in a far more healthy manner.

(9) Ronni, January 7, 2009 11:39 AM

Good?!

I find it shocking that all the hours of "conversation" that teenage girls engage in could ever be referred to as innocent fun. Have you ever listened to one of these conversations even for ten minutes? They are one long "Lashon Harah" fest with gossip about other girls, other people's lives, boys, etc. etc. My nieces are physically glued to their cell phones (don't get me started on that subject!) and always seem to have to talk to someone now regardless of where they are, who they are with, or what is taking place around them. They spend enough hours together in school, I cannot believe parents would be irresponsible enough to put no limits to their after-hours conversations. Even as adults we all know the kind of gossip we engage in when we spend too much time on the phone, let alone immature girls. Another thing is that as long as we are the parents and they live at home we get to set the rules so there are no worse alternatives. I would not drop my kids off at a mall unsupervised, if they said they'd be at a certain friend's house I'd call over there on occasion to make sure they haven't since moved on to some other place and they won't have access to the internet outside the supervision of parents. If I don't trust my daughters' friends parents they can come here but my children will not go there. I am by no means a tyrant in my home and have a loving relationship with my many daughters but it is clear that this is a Torah home and we have our standards. This is not to say that I won't allow some girl talk but hours? They still have a family and ought to be engaged with them and in exercising, helping out, and developing interests and hobbies.

Anonymous, March 28, 2011 2:15 AM

let go

u sound like a hard mom let go and enjoy this world. u only live once. i understand the fact that they speak lashon hara, but that might just be your girls. mine would never dream of doing that

(8) Anonymous, January 7, 2009 3:45 AM

naive

While anyone who has "survived" having a teenage daughter realizes that there is a place for telephone conversation between a girl and her friends, it is naive to think that a phone protects a girl from the "inherent dangers" of computers and malls. There are plenty of "nice" girls from fine homes in my community who are fielding calls from boys and are in not-so-innocent relationships, and their parents are none the wiser. Unlimited phone time is not only not harmless, it is at the very least just plain rude and self-absorbed (two traits which often seem to be part of adolescence). Sorry, but feeling "grateful" and "appreciative" of this "vice" as a lesser evil is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Good parenting is also about setting reasonable limits, and "reasonable" should be defined with sensitivity by the parent, not the child.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!