How much do you love your mobile phone? Could you live without it? Find out what British teenagers, parents and teachers say about the subject!

How old were you when you got a mobile? Everybody knows that teenagers love their phones. Here are some mobile phone facts.

  • Two-thirds of 12-15-year-olds in the UK have a smartphone.
  • People in the UK send 50 text messages a week on average.
  • British 12-15-year-olds send an average of 200 messages a week.
  • British girls aged between 12 and 15 text more than boys of the same age group. Girls send 221 messages a week!


Parents want their kids to be safe. Are teenagers safer with a mobile phone or without? Many parents want their children to have a phone so that they can be in contact at any time or in any place. On the other hand, for lots of parents a phone is a source of possible danger. Parents worry that their child may meet the wrong kind of ‘friends’ on social networking sites or that they might receive cruel messages from school bullies. Some parents have rules about their children’s mobile phone and internet usage and bad behaviour can result in removal of mobile privileges. 

The great thing about my kids having mobile phones is that I can keep in touch with them. The worst thing about teenagers having phones is that some young people use them to send offensive messages to each other.
William, from Coventry. William is a parent of two teenagers.

A teenager feels lost without a phone. If my daughters behave badly, I confiscate their phones and their behaviour quickly improves.
Kiera, mother of 15-year-old twins.


Mobile phones are permitted at school in the UK but pupils are not allowed to use them in class and they must be on silent during lessons. Teachers can take away phones if these rules are broken. School students can use their phones at break time and at lunchtime. Some teachers in British schools complain that pupils don’t always follow the rules and that lessons are disrupted by people texting, making and receiving calls, looking at social networking sites, watching videos and even making videos in the class.

My mum is scared that I’m going to lose my phone or that someone is going to steal it. She won’t buy me the really cool phone that I want. I’ve got this rubbish one that doesn’t do much. I suppose that makes sense but it’s not fair that everyone else has a smartphone and I don’t.
Tam, 14, from Wrexham.

I know that some people want mobiles to be banned at school but as a language teacher I find that phones can be pretty useful in class ... for educational purposes of course. For example, the students write a dialogue in French, they record it on a phone, then they listen to the recording and try to correct any mistakes or improve pronunciation. They love it!
Stan, from Chester. Stan is a French teacher.


A mobile phone contract in the UK usually comes with a number of text messages included in the price. Of course lots of people send messages completely free of charge using an app that’s also free to download. If you want to send text messages in English you need to know some abbreviations. Here are some to get you started:

LOL = laugh out loud
POS = parent over shoulder
BRB = be right back
TYVM = thank you very much
BCNU = be seeing you (meaning ‘goodbye’)
ASAP = as soon as possible
OIC = oh I see (means ‘I understand’)
TTFN = Ta ta for now (means ‘goodbye')
BFFL = best friends for life

TYVM 4 reading this article. BCNU!

Total votes: 466
Language level: 


Some parents confiscate their teenager's phone as a punishment for poor behaviour. Is that a good idea? What's your opinion?


amagu's picture
amagu 9 January, 2014 - 11:45

I don't really know if it is a good or bad idea. Both, I guess. It depends on what kind of teenager it is. Som teenagers don't care about their phone at all, and some teenagers absolutely love their phone. My opinion is that it is kind of rude to take away a teenager's phone, if you think about all the other things you could take away, but it can be a really effective way to get the teenager to behave better.

15 users have voted.
ellkar's picture
ellkar 9 January, 2014 - 11:44

I think it is difficult to say whether it is good or bad for parents to take their teenagers phones as a punsihment just because it´s different in every family. In some cases they learn a lesson by it, but it certainly doesn´t solve the problem and I think most teenagers would get really annoyed instead.

13 users have voted.
edvjak's picture
edvjak 9 January, 2014 - 11:40

I think that it is a really bad idea as it never really improves behaviour in the long run. After a month or so will the punishment become forgotten and things are just back as it used to be. There are several more constructive punishments like having to wash clothes, clean the house etc. that works far better for both parts.

12 users have voted.
Matsau's picture
Matsau 9 January, 2014 - 11:40

I think it can be good but maybe bad too. The good thing is that the person probably will start to behave to get their phone back. But I think parents should punish their child in some other way.

15 users have voted.
josefiiine's picture
josefiiine 9 January, 2014 - 11:39

I don't think it's a good idea. I myself would get stressed out if my parents took my phone. I wouldn't learn my lesson, I would just get even more angry then I was before.

15 users have voted.
lingra's picture
lingra 9 January, 2014 - 11:38

I think it can be a good and a bad idea. Sometimes by taking the phone it can learn the teenager a lesson but sometimes it don't fix the problem and it can just get worse. A phone can be good to have so you can call someone if something happens and if you don't have a phone you can't call. So I think that if you can avoid to take the phone you should.

20 users have voted.
Carmar02's picture
Carmar02 9 January, 2014 - 11:35

I actually think that taking a teenagers phone is kinda bad and not very useful, if you threaten your kid with taking their phone they usually get more mad then they were before, for example: If you and your kid is arguing about how long they are allowed to be out and they get mad, don't say that you are going to take their phone because that will make them even more angry and it will become a way bigger fight than needed, If you just don't let them go out the problem is solved and the fight will not get as big as it maybe could've been.

19 users have voted.
SARAH K's picture
SARAH K 28 December, 2013 - 17:07

I have a question:
Can our parents live one day without talking to their siblings, friends? Can the stay a couple of hours without using their mobile phones(even playing games)?
Absolutely not.
Why do not parents think about this before taking their children phones?
My parents did this, And I would be happy if every parent all over the world does this.

15 users have voted.
Henry's picture
Henry 26 December, 2013 - 10:54

I thing is not good to have a mobile phone to early because the children get crazy. And the moderation from parents is important. Because it's addictive!!!

20 users have voted.
Oliii98's picture
Oliii98 8 December, 2013 - 18:51

I have smartphone, but not the newest one. I can live without phone, which i had shown by living without phone for few months. I don't really need it, but writting to friends for homework or meeting is much more easier than going to their house every time I needed something.
In my school, in Poland phones aren't allowed but students use them in bathrooms or when teachers aren't looking at them.
I don't take phone to school because I don't need it there. I have very close from home to school, and taking phone is just some type of punishment for me, because I have to worry about that I won't lose it.

16 users have voted.
fcbarcelona's picture
fcbarcelona 3 December, 2013 - 13:49

I think that is good idea, many teenagers nowadays are literally 'in love' with their phones. Confiscating it will probably help them to use it less. I have mobile phone and I use it, it's very helpfull for me, but I always try not to overdrive.

18 users have voted.
Niluh's picture
Niluh 2 December, 2013 - 14:21

It doesn't really work i think. Parents will confiscate the phone in only a little time as they think their children need it for keeping touch with them, and the children will do bad behavior again when their phone's back. If i were their parents i won't confiscate their phone, but i'll change their smartphone into basic phones so things they can do are only send text message and make a call.

18 users have voted.
bauka's picture
bauka 30 November, 2013 - 13:54

I think I don`t need any smartphone ,I just need a phone that can record a video or audio. I can buy a smartphone but i would prefer a laptop. I gonna buy it recently.

15 users have voted.
SandraB's picture
SandraB 28 November, 2013 - 21:10

I think it's a good and bad idea at the same time.I don't really use my phone and it is not a smartphone.I don't want a really expensive phone because I am not very careful with things and I would break it in seven days tbh lol I only use it to take pictures or when I am going somewhere to text or call my parents.

20 users have voted.
Alita's picture
Alita 25 November, 2013 - 23:03

I think I wouldnt be able to pass one day with out my mobile, its a part of my routine having it and using it. Phones are not as simples as they used to be, now we have several things that we can do with it. Finishig, no, I dont think it a good idea to taking from them becouse is really necesary even more if you live in a big city.

19 users have voted.
Lejdi's picture
Lejdi 23 November, 2013 - 12:20

I think that it is a good idea. In my opinion, confiscating the phone makes children do everything in order to take it back. They are addicted to technology nowadays.

18 users have voted.
Ash94's picture
Ash94 14 November, 2013 - 10:20

Hi JoEditor,
No. I'm just asking only about the Read UK section. Not about the whole site. Please let me know. And also I need to ask a little question from you. Can we say " The UK" or should it be just only "UK" ?

20 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 14 November, 2013 - 10:29

Hi again Ash94,
We will be adding 6 more Read UK articles over the coming months. More or less it will be one new article in this section per month. 
We use the article with 'the UK'. To find out more about this, watch and read this Grammar snack about the definite article which will explain it all! :)
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

15 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 14 November, 2013 - 09:59

Hi Ash94,
We are working on a lot of new material and we add it when it's ready. Are you asking just about the Read UK section or the whole site? If you want to know more about our new content, please sign up for our newsletter which we will start to send in December or January. :) Go to the bottom of the homepage to see a box to sign up for the newsletter or click here
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

24 users have voted.
Deki's picture
Deki 12 November, 2013 - 13:23

I am a teenager and I don't have a smartphone . Many of pupils in my school don't have smartphones. Those pupils who have a smartphone don't use it all the time and we don't care if we don't have cool phones . That's why is always a good friendship of the pupils.

19 users have voted.
Celevicky's picture
Celevicky 29 October, 2013 - 14:25

We consider that it's a good idea because the cellphone is so importan to teenagers nowadays, that the next time they will behave better.

23 users have voted.