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Dad Destroys Teen's Phone After Mega-bill

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Denver Post: In one month, a Cheyenne teenager sent 10,000 text messages and received about the same -- all while her family's plan did not include texting.

That means the family's provider -- Verizon -- charged them for each incoming and outgoing text.

The girl's parents, Gregg and Jaylene Christoffersen, thought texting had been disabled, so one can imagine their surprise when they got the monthly phone bill and it asked for $4,756.25.

"It just hit us like a rock, like you're stepping into a bus," Gregg Christoffersen said.

The bill was legit.

Dena Christoffersen, 13, had apparently been sending most of these messages at school. That's more than 300 texts within an eight-hour period every day for the whole month.

Needless to say, it drew attention away from what she should have been doing: paying attention in class.

"She went from As and Bs one semester to Fs in two months," Dena's dad said.

Hours after the enormous bill arrived, Gregg Christoffersen took a hammer to his daughter's phone.

He and Jaylene also grounded Dena until the end of school.

"I felt really bad and I have learned my lesson," Dena said with her head down.

Since she lost her phone, Dena's grades have gone up and the texting is down to zero.

As for the phone bill, the family says Verizon has been willing to knock it down to a reasonable level.

The Christoffersens are now asking school administrators at Johnson Junior High School to crack down on cell phone use during school.

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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
b April 8, 2009, 3:15 PM

Good for you, Dad! Way to follow through with some action and not just give lip service.

cyndi April 8, 2009, 4:08 PM

FINALLY! A parent who is not afraid to BE a parent. When I was in verizon doing our last contract, the salesman was telling us about a teen whose mom refused texting when she bought her 13year old a phone for her birthday saying “Oh, we won’t be texting”. The next month the woman was in with a whopping $3,000 phone bill. He said that verizon knocked it down to about half, and the girl kept the phone. I was speechless! Kudos to this dad!

tracy516 April 8, 2009, 4:31 PM

I totally agree with this…maybe not a hammer, but that phone would have gone bye-bye…If children are not given limits and the actions when those limits are broken they will never understand the “REAL WORLD”.

cs April 8, 2009, 6:47 PM

I fully applaud the parents!! Kids need to be taught that there are consequences to their actions. They may want to consider having her earn the money (or possibly half the money) to pay down the bill. I know she’s only 13 but she can babysit, do yard work for people she knows, walk dogs or do yard clean up for people with pets.

Maralago April 8, 2009, 11:35 PM

I’m still amazed that everyone thinks it’s normal for a 13 year old to have a cell phone. Not a reason in the world for a 13 year old to have her own phone in the house let alone a cell phone. My kids aren’t happy about not having cells but after the initial hissy fit they realized they actually get along fine without them. They also see their friends & do their school work much easier than their friends who are constantly yakking & texting. I really think one of the biggest problems with society today is the increasing isolation of people. Talking on a cell when you can be sitting with a friend is not a positive step for society.

Wendi April 9, 2009, 1:01 AM

Good for this dad!! I would do the same. My kids 12 and 13 have a phone that is prepaid and they dont have their numbers. I have numbers entered for them so they know who to call in case of emergency, but that is it. They are not allowed to use it for any other reason. I pay ten bucks every 3 months for them to have it and that is it. And to tell you the truth, outside of school my kids are with me most of the time and they have no reason for a phone. They see their friends at school so there is no need for them to talk to them on the phone too.

whatamess April 9, 2009, 1:20 AM

Good for dad! Unfortunately, too many mothers give in to what is easiest…I know…my step-daughter has had a cell phone since she was 9…against her dad’s wishes…but mom thought it would be so much easier and also, “everyone else has one”…she’s now 14, will be 15 in September and in “7th” grade…Mom still has NOT taken away the cell phone…the Family Courts see this as a “difference in parenting”, so there is nothing that can be done…

NO CHILD needs a cell phone…sorry…you are in school, something happens, the school officials will call…period.

Anonymous April 9, 2009, 6:56 AM

I’m 13
My mother gave me a cell to use for field trips, and I don’t even know how to text. Having a cell phone has not hurt my grades, in fact, I have straight A’s. Cell phones can be used as safety precaution. People can use cell phones for more than just talking to friends. I only use my cell phone for when I need to.

Katie April 9, 2009, 4:35 PM

The father wants the school to police the use of cell phones. Why was this kid given a cell phone? Was she supposed to use it for emergencies only? Did her parents check the bill periodically? It’s not up to the school to police the usage of phones. In my son’s high school, if someone was caught using a cell phone in school, it was confiscated. The parents were to then pick up the phone; it would not be given back to the kid. If the parents were more cautious, they would have checked the bill for messages before a month’s time was up. The phone company is also at fault for allowing text messaging if the family plan did not include it. They shouldn’t have to pay for a service to which they didn’t subscribe. Hammering a phone doesn’t solve the problem in the long run.

Kristin April 9, 2009, 7:59 PM

If this was my daughter i would have just shut the phone off for a month not break it with a hammer.. my cousin is 11 and has a cell phone and there has been younger kids ive seen who are 8 and 9 with cell phones. They could have made her pay some of the money herself. Other then that i find nothing wrong with her having a cell phone

Anonymous April 10, 2009, 7:49 PM

u should make her get a babysitting job to pay the bill.dont give her cell phone back any more until she is 18 yrs then she can get a real job and pay her owen cell phone bill.that what i did with my kids when they made my bill go sky high to teach them a lession.

Silver Fang June 8, 2009, 6:51 PM

Make her pay the bill, but don’t hammer a perfectly good phone. It’s not the phone’s fault!

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