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Thursday, July 11, 2013

5 Lessons to Teach Your Children About Safe Cellphone Usage

Plenty of children, from kindergarten-age to teenagers, are carrying around cellphones. Since most parents did not grow up in an era where everyone in the household had their own phone, they might not think about the risks that go along with a phone. This is especially true if the cellphones for kids have data capabilities (internet access), such as most smartphones. While some schools are against any cellphones, other schools, such as Haverstraw Middle School, explore these smartphones as new learning tools, reports CNN. Instead of trying to fix problems after they've occurred, take a look at five ways to keep your children safe without taking away their phones. 

Implement Phone Contracts 

Make your guidelines clear to your children when entrusting them with a phone. This contract should cover phone etiquette, your expectations for their behavior on the phone, how and when to use the phone, whether you will have access to the phone, when they need to answer the phone, and how Internet access should be used. The WirelessFoundation.Org has a downloadable family cellphone contract that covers these points and many more. The important thing is to be as thorough as possible, so your child can follow the rules and learn how to use a phone properly.

Keep Personal Information Safe

Teach your kids to be wary of who they share their phone numbers with. While they can't completely control who ends up getting their numbers, due to friends, teach them to not make this number publicly available on Facebook profiles and other social networks. Especially make sure your kids don't give out their numbers to people who they've only talked to online.

Monitor Social Network Activities

If you're paying for it, don't feel bad about having access to the phone. Cyberbullying is a major issue with teens and tweens, so keeping track of your child's social networking is a good idea. You can also intercept any private messages that may come from online predators and other dangers, as well as know what they talk about with their friends.

Teach Appropriate Sharing Limits

Many children get into trouble by sharing inappropriate photos and videos with each other. Sexting is a real issue among teens and is defined as the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. It is sometimes possible to disable photo-sharing capabilities on a phone, but you want your child to know they have freedom and you trust them. Talk to them about the risks of sharing inappropriate photos. You can also monitor the images taken with the phone by checking through the gallery— especially the deleted section. 

In addition to phone photos, make sure your children are following your sharing guidelines when it comes to sharing photos on social networks such as Instagram via their cellphones.

Mandate Appropriate Usage

Many schools limit the times you can use a cellphone. Make sure your child understands when it's appropriate to use his or her phone and when they need to put it away. You don't want your child to be glued to the phone instead of interacting with teachers, students and friends. You also don't want them to get into trouble by using it in class when they aren't supposed to be.

Cellphones are powerful tools for helping with school, but they have to be used in an appropriate fashion.

What kind of ways do you use to keep your kids safe with their cell phones? Tell us in the comments.

By Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International
The “Teens and Mobile Phones” infographic is brought to you by the team at Mobile Spy


1 comment:

  1. I think Monitor Social Network Activities is the most important lesson :) Thanks for very useful post