Teen Texting Is Out of Control!


Racking up 6,807 texts in a month may seem incredible, but 17-year-old Sofia Rubenstein pulled it off in 2007 without even trying.

She texts “whatever pops into my head. There's no stopping it," Rubenstein told The Washington Post.  "Sometimes I'll be on the phone with someone and I get texted, and then I'm having two conversations at once."

Rubenstein was sending out more than 200 texts per day, but surprisingly, compared to some of the other texting stories we discovered, she isn’t even a particularly heavy texter among other kids her age.

Texting has become the primary mode of communication for many teens, surpassing face-to-face communication, instant messaging, e-mailing and calling, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.  Phone calls are, however, the main way kids contact their parents.

The Numbers

Teenage girls send out an average of about 100 text messages a day and often use texting as their primary mode of communication, according to Pew Research and half of all teens send at least 50 texts a day. Even though teenage boys are more resistant to texting, they still send about 20 messages a day on average.

And with or without a cell phone plan, constant texting could mean thousands of dollars in overages or, at the very least, a bill that requires nearly a full ream of paper to print.

A Few Crazy Cases

Some text messaging packages offered by cell phone carriers limit users to 400 or 1,000 text messages per month. That might be plenty for a middle-aged parent for instance, but if your kids have phones and you’re on a family plan, you could burn through your allotment quickly.

One father learned this the hard way and experienced a bout of phone rage after his teen daughter managed to send 10,000 texts in a month without a text messaging plan.  He took a hammer to his 13-year-old’s phone after receiving a bill that included $4,756.25 in texting charges.

In another case which resulted in a 440-page cell phone bill, 13-year-old Reina Hardesty sent 14,528 text messages in a single month. That’s about 484 per day.  If she didn’t have an unlimited texting plan for $30 per month, she could have racked up $2,905.60 in text messaging charges at 20 cents per text.

And even frequent texters might be amazed by this one: Sacramento high schooler Crystal Wiski logged 303,000 text messages the first month she had her iPhone. That’s more than 10,000 a day and 421 an hour, noted United Press International in May 2009. And all while she was holding down a 40 hour-a-week job. Wiski blamed her habit on being popular. Luckily she had an unlimited texting plan, according to local news channel KCRA.

While teenaged girls may be some of the most frequent texters, a few adult men, Nick Andes, 29, and Doug Klinger, 30, furiously texted each other in April 2009 breaking a world record at the time by sending 217,000 text messages in a month, according to United Press International. Andes said he received a $26,000 bill from his cell phone carrier, T-Mobile, even though he had an unlimited plan, but the charges were eventually waived.

The Best Plans for Text Addicts

If you have a texting teen, you’ll likely want an unlimited texting plan. Prices may vary based on your location, but AT&T (Stock Quote: T) offers unlimited texts for about $20 a month, in Sacramento, Calif., for example. If you have a limited plan like 200 messages for $5 a month or 1,500 messages for $15 a month for example, you’ll pay 30 cents for every message beyond your limit.

With T-Mobile (Stock Quote: DT), you may be able to get unlimited domestic text messaging for $10, or if you have a smaller plan, you’ll have to pay 20 cents for each message beyond your limit.

Sprint (Stock Quote: S) may offer you unlimited texting for $20 a month or 20 cents per message without a plan and Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) has full plans that include unlimited texting starting at $59.99.

And if your teen doesn’t use voice dialing at all, or uses it very rarely, it could actually be cheaper for Verizon customers to just pay for a plan that doesn’t include any voice dialing minutes. Unlimited texting and monthly Web access without a voice plan could cost you about $34.99 a month, but voice calls will cost you 40 cents a minute.

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