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!


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

Language level: 


learnerfromtr's picture
learnerfromtr 18 July, 2013 - 16:58

Great article!

In my opinion, confiscating a teenager's mobile phone as a punishment is not a good idea. Parents can solve their childrens' bad behaviour in a different way so that they do not do the same mistake over and over. But, this different way should not be confiscating properties that teens have. There is always an method to solve problems related to family (I think :).

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SARAH K's picture
SARAH K 17 July, 2013 - 19:14

My parents are going to buy me a smartphone and I am so happy.
But they are preparing me for his "risks" so far. For example they say me not to give my number to everyone but just to the people I know well, if sb call me with an unknown number I should tell them and not be upset and I should not expose it everywhere because someone can steal it.
But I do not care for these advice right now, I just want my smartphone.

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SARAH K's picture
SARAH K 17 July, 2013 - 09:36

No I do not think that is a good idea. It makes the children feel threatened by their own parents because they take from them sth that they really want. I do not find this the best way. I wish my parents will never do this to me.

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Vlatko234's picture
Vlatko234 16 July, 2013 - 17:08

I think it's not good idea.I'm teenager and think in these years phones is useful,but not always.Some teenagers spent a lot of time on phone.

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kimbum070789's picture
kimbum070789 13 July, 2013 - 07:33

Um...I am a teenager and I think a phone has two sides that is a bad side and good side.Bad side is some people spent a lot of time to chat with friend,surfing the internet,play game instead they spent that time for study,play sport,do housework,...Good side is if we go to anywhere our parent can feel safe because they can call for us.I think a good way is we should have a normal phone not a smartphone!!!

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MouniraCherifa's picture
MouniraCherifa 9 July, 2013 - 17:47

I think it's one of the options so isn't bad too I also think teens are need to be punished at many ways nowadays their parents must more close with their children before those ones have poor behavior.

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Toma English's picture
Toma English 3 July, 2013 - 00:18

I think it's a good Idea especially when they neglect their studies because of their mobiles .. some teenagers uses them all the time -calling friends ,texting or surfing internet - that they waste their important time!! but I can't deny mobiles are very important to make parents feel safe of their sons when they are out to call them anytime they want to :) every invention has its advantages and disadvantages :)

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Lavender's picture
Lavender 1 July, 2013 - 13:21

I think it's not a good idea. Because mobile phones are not always bad. Instead of forbid the children from using them, parents should guide them how to use phones in good and safe way. If parents confiscate the phones, maybe just makes teenagers want the phone more, maybe they're gonna buy for themselves a mobile phone sneakily.

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teawithlemon's picture
teawithlemon 30 June, 2013 - 03:49

I`m not sure that confiscating mobile phone in those cases is a particularly good idea. Nowadays, phone is a part of our everyday life, we use it not only for entertainment but mostly for communication purposes.

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 1 August, 2013 - 08:24

Hi Ren,
Thanks for your comments on our site. As you have a 3-year-old nephew I imagine you may be older than 17. If you are older than 17 please use our LearnEnglish website to practise your English. Of course it's possible to be an uncle when you're a teenager so maybe I'm wrong!? 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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Nataly's picture
Nataly 28 June, 2013 - 16:03

I think phone isnt the only reason for the teen poor behaviour but it helps instead ! So its a gr8 idea

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ILLUMINATOR 27 June, 2013 - 18:45

I believe that real communication is greater than virtual one. Cause we forget our relation links.

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sailor moon's picture
sailor moon 28 June, 2013 - 15:44

I read your account name and it scaried me BECAUSE I know what is ILLUNIMATI !!!

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mş_1998's picture
mş_1998 27 June, 2013 - 15:50

i love my phone!!! i think a teen wants to behave badly or well.People behave as felt,thought.we never changed this fact. i love you guys!

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pikalochka's picture
pikalochka 26 June, 2013 - 19:58

of course, mobile phone is one of the greatest invention and is very useful. But often teens get so addicted to them. they cant live without texting, chatting on-line, serfing the Net. and lots of teens are getting used to downloading homeworks from certain sites. But if I was asked to vote I would say "yes!!" for phones. TYVM 4 this article.

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Ren's picture
Ren 1 August, 2013 - 07:54

I agree with you because I think that when you are talking with someone, the worst thing is you always look at your mobile phone for texting. Really impolite.

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