Looking for a loophole when it comes to spying on your teen? Here's a great one. Dr. Claire McCarthy of Boston.com explains that she uses her family's cellphone bill to see if her teens are texting while driving. She points out that her bill, if not all cellphone bills, lists the exact date and time in which a text is sent or a call is made. Using this information and the general knowledge about the moments her teens are behind the wheel, she can guesstimate whether or not they're texting while driving.
Obviously, this method doesn't have any guarantees, but what I like about it is that it's a conversation starter. If you catch a text sent while your teen is supposedly driving to school, you can confront them with a question that's back up by data. And they might have a very valid excuse -- "I'd stopped for gas and wanted to text a friend," etc. -- but the fact that you called them out on it will let them know that you're keeping an eye out for possibly bad, if not illegal and deadly, behavior.
The more we hammer home the message that texting and driving kills, the better. There are already many eye-opening and attention-getting (and hopefully effective) anti-texting and driving campaigns out there, but Dr. McCarthy's idea adds the personal touch that's been missing; it's a parental monitoring system that makes the teens more accountable.
Even though it's not fool-proof, it can inspire a discussion with your teen that could solve a problem and maybe save a life.
What do you think of this plan?
Photo via Lord Jim/Flickr
Pens, pencils, markers, etc.