Adoption and Family,  adoption and tweens

Ring Ring Pick up the Phone… ERRRR Don’t: Hard Life Lessons for Digital Kids

Girls are the best. Except when they are giving me grey hairs. Which was the weekend. Oh I still love them madly and to the moon and back. But opening a Rogers bill to find out someone had added data packs on their own to their relatively newly connected phone supposed to be used for emergencies only, and then having my eyeballs pop out of my head, was not on the schedule for today. And yet there it was $400 worth of added data. So what happened? Well, I picked my eyeballs up off my laptop and then I spent two hours on the phone with Rogers this morning sorting out a crappy and staggering bill.



I am stupefied sometimes at the stuff these kids get into and the things they do. AND then I remember they have no control over their frontal lobes until 21 or so. That’s a reality of teenagers.

Usually I know exactly how to defuse, or discipline certain things. My younger child has special needs and I have a host of skills for that. She needs do overs regularly because she doesn’t connect cause and effect. I get that. I do it well.

But this was a kick in the teeth.  I waffled. In fact, I had called Rogers to run through the bill, and also to tell them I was not paying for a travel package that didn’t work the whole time I was away on a ship, on my cruise with family at New Year’s. And they took that $125 off, But here’s where I lose my mind with this whole scenario. My older daughter’s phone has no data and was set at Rogers when I hooked it up with a very small phone package for talk and text in July. NO data. Because $30 a month is enough to start for a starter phone. And yet $400 worth of data later I have a bill that makes me want to smash something. Why? Because at some point Rogers decided to send her a message saying: Hey, you are trying to get access to data. Would you like to add a plan that costs about $1 a minute? For a minimum $5. They asked her. Not me.

And she clicked it. Do you want a week’s worth of that, it asked? On the phone that I told Rogers was to have only talk and text. Have I removed the phone and all gadgets from both my kid’s possession? Yes. Am I happy? Nope. Am I feeling the love from Rogers? Not really. I am actually debating dropping the line entirely and then also removing a secondary Fido line that I use for my business. (I already have one line. That’s all I need really.)

So what to do? I took the phones and the gadgets away. They are locked away. My daughter has started working it off and she will be working it off for a long time. But. Hey. Rogers, in my opinion, also holds a bit of responsibility. The system shouldn’t text a kid, or a phone set to have only talk and text, and ask to add data. Because what the HELL does a kid know about data costs or what data is? It is intangible and you can’t wear it or eat it. Might as well be GREEK. And shouldn’t there be a notification to the parent who pays the bills? A password? Anything? Nope. There is nothing like that. I have passwords and codes for everything else and nobody purchases anything without Mom or Dad inputting a code.

I can just hear the curmudgeons in the room saying “OH kids shouldn’t have phones then.” Sure. Maybe. But they do. Most of them have had phones for a long time. Mine got one only very recently when she turned 13. One of her classmates had one in grade two. It was active. The teacher and I used to joke the kid’s phone was nicer than the teachers. Phones, and cell coverage and providers and data and iPads and technology are all part of being a digital kid at this particular period of time. They are reality and here to stay. I am TRYING to raise my kids to use them responsibly.

NO way am I paying $400 for data on a phone that has no data. In the end, my daughter will end up paying it. I will take her to the bank this week and have her pay me. But I am still angry. Maybe when I return the phone to her eventually, it will be on a pay as you go basis. (with a different provider).

Oh you can call it a rite of passage. Every kid does that on a cell phone at one point. But I don’t think I buy that either. Cell phone companies need to exercise some smarter business practices that make me not HATE them for taking advantage of people.

I read a post the other day about a company that makes phones and their view that someone as young as eight should have a cell phone. I nearly flipped my lid. This is why. This is exactly why. Kids don’t have the impulse control, or the frontal lobe development to make the right choices. I activated her first cell phone so she could call me when she needs to. (And she does when she needs help calming herself down at school, or when she is having a panic attack, or when she was in a car accident with her father. It is a useful tool when she is having a panic attack.)

So what am I doing about this? Normally I would keep pushing this button and arguing with Rogers because I am mad at them also. I want them to take a bit of the blame for being crappy and uncaring. And sadly that’s why I am not arguing the case further with them right now. My daughter needs to understand that companies like this don’t always care if you are digital kids or adults, and they don’t always have your best interest at heart. Sometimes it’s about the money and the cash grab. She needs to learn that as she pays me off, because it’s a hard life lesson but it is one worth learning now instead of in university when it hurts even more and cuts deeper into her savings.

First cell phone and digital mistakes

Now I just need to stick to it and tally up the jobs as she does them in the process of paying her big first cell phone bill and digital mistake off.

Has this ever happened to your child? How did you resolve it?

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Margarita Ibbott (@DownshiftingPRO)

    I knew it was not good but $400 that is nuts. Mine stopped all data when I went $50 over. It said. You have now hit $50 in overage and we will not let you access data until you call us. Yup, I called and I changed my plan. They helped. Won’t start a phone war but lets say I’m not with Rogers on my phone.

  • Jessica

    Paula I would literally lose my $%$^ with Rogers! I have had nothing but issues with them and I just had this exact same conversation with them as I was told by them that i would receive a text or email notification that we had reached 75% of our data and then to find out that they will allow you to go 50$ over per line and that I had a charge of $150 when they cut us off. I was leaving and the only thing that made me not lose it was the fact that they reversed the charges for the month and we are no longer using data unless it’s necessary and that we are all to stay on WiFi when available. I would be calling them back and asking them why they never stopped your data at 50$ and threaten to leave them (ask for customer retention they will help) I have so many credits with Rogers Paula make sure you go at them. I wouldn’t let it go. Sorry you even have to deal with such a crappy thing.