My daughter racked up 14,528 text messages in one month

Jan 19, 2009 By Greg Hardesty

OMG!!! This isn't exactly proud papa news: My daughter, Reina, who recently turned 13, just racked up 14,528 text messages in one month.

Thank God she's too young to drive.

Given that she's had a cell phone for less than six months, and she is supposed to share the phone with her 14-year-old brother (and use it mainly for emergencies) _ well, I'm speechless.

Or should I say, textless?

Her mother, Manako, recently got the phone bill from AT&T. Only 23 pages of the bill came with the bill mailed to her home in Lake Forest, Calif.

Manako went online and looked at the PDF version of the bill. The PDF file, covering the period from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26, totaled 440 pages.

OK, the bill included charges for two other phones, including one belonging to Reina's 22-year-old sister, Hana, who accounted for a comparatively modest 7,101 text messages during the same period. Older sister Marina, 24, accounted for a measly (whew!) 700.

But still ... A 440-page phone bill? Thankfully, Manako signed up all of them for unlimited texting.

If not, the 20 cents per text for Reina would have totaled $2,905.60.

That's a lot of house chores.


I'm no math whiz, but I did some quick calculations on Reina's thumb-numbing total.

Assuming my daughter slept an average of eight hours during the billing period (she usually sleeps more), that works out to 484 text messages a day _ or a text message every two minutes she was awake.

Could AT&T have made some mistake?

Wishful thinking. It's all true, based on the PDF file I reviewed.

I definitely am not LMAO (laughing my, er, butt off).

One small consolation: The 14,528 total includes text messages both sent and received.

Really, though. Is that any consolation?

Manako posted the fascinating (but disturbing) facts on her Facebook page. Comments ensued.

My daughter, Reina, felt compelled to respond on her mother's Facebook site.

She explained, "I just have a lot of people that I text all the time.

"Like, the first thing I ask after I get to know them is their cell phone number, and if they have unlimited texting.

"I have like 4 close friends that I'm constantly texting. I don't really think there is a point. It's just fun to talk."


Like, I contacted my text-happy daughter on her cell phone.

I sent her some questions via text message. This is the digital conversation that ensued:

Q. Are you nuts?

A. No, I just like to talk.

Q. Who are you texting, anyway? Your entire school?

A. Well, a lot of my friends have unlimited texting. I just text them pretty much all the time.

Q. You don't think 14,528 text messages in one month is excessive?

A. I do, but it's not all mine. I get a lot of annoying forwards and multimedia messages that I just delete because they're stupid, and the ones I receive are counted.

Q. What disciplinary measures are you prepared to accept, my dear loving daughter?

A. Umm...discipline?

Q. Am I a lame father to have allowed such a thing to happen?

A. No. Haha. I'm as surprised as you are. xD

The smiley face saved her.


I called AT&T Mobility. I wanted to see if the company kept records of such things.

"That seems a bit high," said Katie Keating, trying not to laugh and explaining that, for privacy, the company does not keep a tally of top texters.

"Texting is becoming more and more popular, and growing at a spectacular rate. Text-messaging is now hard-wired into our culture. It's in our DNA _ particular among young people."

Like, I figured as much, Katie.

Citing statistics from a Nielsen study done in the second quarter of 2008, Keating said teenagers ages 13-17 text more than any other demographic group.

The average texts per month for a person in this age group?


Yes, Ms. Keating, 14,528 does seem a bit high.

The Nielsen study, of 50,000 cell phone users nationwide, found that people now use their cell phones more for texting than for talking. On average, each user sends 357 texts a month versus 204 voice calls a month.

Since getting the recent phone bill, Manako and I have restricted Reina's use of the cell phone.

The ghastly texting total happened over winter break. Now that school's back in session, we don't expect any more surprises of such magnitude.

Do we need to get a life? Does our daughter?

Go ahead. Text me your thoughts.



(c) 2009, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Visit the Register on the World Wide Web at
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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User comments : 6

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1 / 5 (2) Jan 19, 2009
No big deal, really. My daughter runs up about 13k per month on average. It makes more sense to consider them "conversation fragments" and not "text messages". Think about it. Girls used to spend HOURS on the phone every night. My sister was on for 2-3 hours a night. Now can you imagine if you measured this conversation by counting each phrase utterd in each direction during this conversation? That's what text messaging does. Your conversation with your daughter was maybe 1-2 minutes and had 10 messages.
Consider this. Supopse 600 pieces of conversation back and forth. That's "Hey" "Hey" "Wassup" "nm u?" "homework" "sux" "ROFL" "r u almost done?" "y" "k". That's 10 in less than a minute. And that's just one conversation. They can actually convrse with 20 people at a time if they want. But we'll stick to just 1 conversation.
So 600 per hour x 2 hours a day to match a normal phone conversation x 30 days = 36,000 messages!
Now consider that our daughters can converse with more than one person at a time.

Wow, a lot of "conversation fragments". But nothing really compared to voice conversations. This actually forces them to be more selective with their words. To cut out the garbage to get the point across quicker. Meanwhile you and I benefit. Instead of having to pay for our daughters to have unlimited voice - which is MUCH more expensive, we have somehow managed to con our daughters into using a much more difficult service for their conversations.
So unlike you, I am just THRILLED that my daughter prefers text to voice and encourage her to use text whenever possible.
If your concern is that she is spending too much time engaged in conversation, then time limits may make sense, but the number of messages really is irrelevant. Besides, with text I can at least hold a conversation with her WHILE she is in conversations with others which is something my parents never could accomplish with my sister. So in a way, it actually allows me to be closer to her. (and monitor)lol
Isn't technology gr8?

not rated yet Jan 20, 2009
I don't get the point of all that texting. When you can call and have a meaningful conversation. I hope those teens don't forget what is it to have a talk that's longer than a phrase.
not rated yet Jan 20, 2009
Does everyone but kevinf think they're sounding a bit like their parents of yore? Oh no, the kids are texting! Ah!... This must be some sort of evil, harmful thing. I better stop it, because I don't get it!

Other than spelling, kids don't seem to be suffering from it. And, when you look at history, spelling and word usage has always changed. Try reading something from 400 years ago...800 years ago... It gets further and further from our current language. Times change and we can overreact like parents throughout history or we can try to actually get a grip on what's going on.

Come on. Is it REALLY harmful?
not rated yet Jan 20, 2009
oops - that should have been "spelling and word usage HAVE always changed." Must be too much texting...
2 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2009
denijane: Texting does have a couple advantages the phone doesn't, for example, you don't have to be worried about interrupting someone. Also, for example, there are times you just need to send someone a short message -- it's not even necessary for them to respond. E.g., "I'm coming home from work now."

However, MGraser, I think it is harmful for some. Information overload. Or rather overload of unuseful information. At work, I can handle in a meaningful way, say 10 email messages per hour. Over a day 50 would be a lot. I can't imagine sending even 200 important email messages in a day. So where do these figures of 1,000s come from? Messages that aren't important, or not meaningful. And apparently, many aren't even directly to the receiver, but are cc'd. That's a lot of effort going to filtering messages. When there do?
not rated yet Jul 01, 2009
helloa my name is angela and i am 13 years old. i read how you were talking about how your daughter ran up 14,528 text messages counting incomeing and out going well i ran up 36,865 in th first 10 days i had my phone. id just thought id let you know so that you could see that maybe your daughters number wasnt that big a deal.

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