Mom Worried Her 13-Year-Old Daughter Is 'Addicted To The Phone' Because She Sneaks Around To Use It At Night

Her daughter consistently finds ways to access her phone, even after confiscation and the purchase of a lockbox.

Teen girl sneaks around to use her phone at night OHishiapply / Shutterstock

A mother is at a loss for how to deal with her teenage daughter’s excessive phone use. She has tried various disciplinary measures to reduce her daughter's screen time, but none have been successful. 

Now, the mother is asking other parents online for advice. 

The mother fears that her 13-year-old daughter is ‘addicted’ to her phone after she learned she had been sneaking around during the night to use it. 

The mother expressed her concerns in a since-deleted post to the r/Parenting subreddit. She revealed that her teen daughter has become obsessed with her cell phone, prompting her parents to lay down some ground rules to limit her screen time and protect her from the hidden dangers of using her phone too often. 


“We don’t allow social media and especially TikTok,” the mother wrote. “Our reasons are pretty standard, but we just don’t want her likeness on the internet, and we don’t want her to have videos of herself at thirteen permanently on the Internet.” 

“Most importantly, the mental health aspects of teens on social media is a huge factor," the mom added.

RELATED: Psychologist Calls On Parents To 'End The Phone-Based Childhood' Amid Disturbing Evidence Of Harm


When she noticed her daughter’s grades started to slip, the mother assumed that it had to do with her phone use and decided to limit her screen time by confiscating the device at 8 p.m. each night and not giving it back to her until the next morning. 

However, her daughter quickly found a loophole and would sneak into her parent’s bedroom while they were sleeping and take her phone back. 

The mother also learned that her daughter’s boyfriend had gotten her a burner phone to access social media and message him at night. 

“We found it and took that too. She’s been grounded, she’s lost the phone,” the woman wrote, adding that she only allowed her daughter to take her phone with her to school in case of an emergency. 


To keep her daughter’s phone secure at night, her mother purchased a lockbox for it. Still, it wasn’t enough to keep the girl from using her phone. 

“Well, she figured out how to get into it or realized that sometimes my husband forgets to lock it,” she wrote. 

Teenager using phone at night Aleksandra Suzi / Shutterstock 


The mother confessed that she was at a loss on what to do next and sought advice from other parents in hopes of protecting her daughter. 

“She has repeatedly deceived us and snuck a phone of sorts at night over and over again," the mom wrote. "She simply doesn’t care and is completely unapologetic."

Parents on Reddit offered various pieces of advice to the mother. Some suggested confiscating her cell phone, which allowed her to access social media, and giving her a flip phone instead

“My teen did the same thing. He had multiple warnings, we found the burner phone, promptly took all of them, and replaced it with a flip phone,” one Redditor shared. 

Others recommended putting parental controls on her cell phone to limit social media use


“Parental controls on the phone that are controlled from your phone," one user advised, recommending the Apple feature Downtime, which blocks certain apps, internet, and cell service during specific hours. Another user suggested turning off their household internet at night. 

@sharzadkiadeh Lights out, limits on!As parents, it's our responsibility to create a sanctuary of rest and rejuvenation for our children. With the ever-present allure of screens, setting boundaries on cellphone use at bedtime becomes crucial.What rules do you have in your home around phones, and what benefits have you noticed?#teensandtech #parentingteenagers #socialmediausage #limitingsocialmedia #socialmedialifebalance ♬ original sound - Sharzad Kiadeh

RELATED: Mom Says Her 6-Year-Old Is 'Sneaking Around' The House At Night To Use Electronics

However, some argued that confiscating the girl’s phone would only make the problem worse rather than better. 

Instead, they recommended that the mother have a conversation with her daughter to try to understand why she relies so much on her phone.


“The more you dictate to a teen, the worse it will become. The more you treat them like actual adults who need mentoring, the better it gets,” one Redditor noted. 

“Parents not getting this is the source of problems," they continued. "Why not actually try to talk to her about why you feel this way instead of trying to dictate to her?” 

“She's turning into a young adult. Taking the phone away will only make her learn how to hide her activities better," another user wrote. "You should be facilitating a healthy relationship with technology and teaching her how to use social media safely instead of outright banning it."

Teenager addicted to cell phone Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock 


It is important to acknowledge that cell phone addictions, especially in teens, are very real. 

Social media use plays a significant role in cell phone addiction, with the average teen spending around three hours a day on social media, with 20% on social media at least five hours a day. 

Research shows that similar to the effects of being high on drugs, teens experience a boost of dopamine when they receive likes, comments, and new followers on their social media platforms. 

However, social media can also result in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, lack of motivation, and poor school performance. 


As frustrating as it can be as a parent to watch your children get sucked into the social media and cell phone vortex, it is worth having a meaningful conversation with them about it rather than swiping the phone away. 

Ask them why they enjoy being on their phone so much to better understand how they spend their time. Warn them about the dangers of social media and the consequences of spending too much time online. 

Teenagers who spend a lot of time on their phones or rely on them are not intentionally trying to make their parent’s lives more difficult. Sometimes, they just need a mature discussion and an ounce of understanding. 


RELATED: Grandma Gives 6-Year-Old A Phone Without Parent Permission Because Her Mom 'Doesn't Answer Hers'

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.