The Cost of Texting Teens

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Michelle Singletary
Thursday, April 16, 2009; 1:13 PM

Imagine Gregg and Jaylene Christoffersen's surprise when they got their monthly Verizon cell phone bill and it totaled $4,756.25 for texting messages by their teen.

It seems the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Dena, had sent out about 10,000 text messages and received about the same amount in a one-month period. Dena, who did most of her texting while at school, no longer has a cell phone. Her dad took a hammer to it. You can see more about this story here.

So, the Color of Money question this week is: How would you have handled an almost $5,000 cell phone by your teen? Was Dena's dad right to hammer his child's cell?

Personally, my 14-year-old doesn't have a cell phone and stories like this just give me more ammunition not to cave to her nagging for one.

Just in case this story wasn't enough, read about another 13-year-old teen, who racked up 14,528 text messages in one month. And yet another teen, this one 15, who accrued 6,473 texts in one month.

Send your comments to this week's question to colorofmoney@washpost.com. In the subject line, please put "COM Question of the Week."

Here are two Web sites that offer some tips on how to control your teen's talking and texting use:

* How to Manage Your Teens Cell Phone Use

* Text Messaging Among a Generation of Digital Natives

Color of Money Book Club Chat

Join me at noon on April 23 for the monthly Color of Money Book Club discussion.

This month's Color of Money Book Club Selection is "The Millionaire Kids Club" series by Susan Beacham and Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. The books teach kids how to save, invest, donate and spend.


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