Mobile phones

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!


Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises to check your understanding.

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?

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Submitted by Anasteysha17 on Thu, 02/10/2022 - 17:06

I think confiscating the phone as a punishment is a bad idea. My parents never did that but I can imagine how much it can worsen the relationship. It’s important to understand that the phone helps some people avoid feeling stressed, depressed and anxious. In such a case, the parents must understand the reason and seek a negotiated solution.Taking away the phone, parents only worsen the situation.

Submitted by Nelly1730 on Sun, 01/30/2022 - 14:32

In my opinion, this is a bad idea. Parents should understand that the phone is needed for communication and self-development. I bring to school in order to correspond with friends and call my parents. During the lessons, I turn off the phone so that it does not interfere with my studies. I can also look at the information I need, and find it quickly.

Submitted by Dmitrii_Zvarich on Thu, 01/27/2022 - 12:15

I think it's not a good idea because a bad example for them. I think, the fathers can find other way to punishment their soons but confiscate their phones, I say no. It's like a dog, you can bring a punishment but the dog never learn the lection. Punishment with punishment is not a good election

Submitted by Anasteysha17 on Thu, 01/27/2022 - 11:56

In my opinion, phone so important for teenagers now. They must have personal space, because it's important for them. If your child misbehaves, does not obey you, then you should first talk to him so that the child understands the problem. If all else fails, then as a sign of punishment, you can take the phone away so that he understands that he will need to "repay" for his bad behavior. Of course, you can’t take tough measures, but for the purposes of education, you need to pick up the phone until it corrects its mistakes.Therefore, you need to know how to properly behave with a child, how to educate him in such a way that he changes.

Submitted by molymoly on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 15:20

I agree with this idea So that they are not addictive . At the same time maybe they need privacy sometimes...

Submitted by Arivelde on Fri, 06/11/2021 - 13:33

In my opinion, parents should take/confiscate, their kids phones if they had poor behaviour or a bad decision. But just after they try to talk whith them about the problem in matter, to be fair, and trying to understand the teenager poit of vew.

Submitted by dungnna8 on Tue, 11/26/2019 - 09:11

In my opinion, that's not a good idea. Parents should be taught children how to use the mobile phone properly rather than confiscating it. Besides, confiscating the mobile phone make the teenagers can't keep in touch, search information. Therefore, education is always the most effective measure. That makes teenagers self-conscious and don't need parents to force.
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Submitted by Youjiro on Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:23

In my opinion punishment of poor behaviour is effected focus on lesson.In fact I bring phone in high school I disrupted chat or browsing internet. also other people use as a online game.Parent should confiscate smart phone so that children study subject in class.disadvantage of confiscate is they can't keep in touch in high school.In my high school completely ban using smart phone.also teacher engage student using phone is only after class so that teacher control class.usage of smart phone really limited in my high school.

Submitted by Gosip_girl on Tue, 02/06/2018 - 18:04

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Submitted by Prokhorenko on Tue, 02/06/2018 - 17:48

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