Children And Safety: Using Mobile Phones
Before, when we say we want something new, what comes to our minds are toys, shoes, bikes, maybe a new set of school supplies, etc. But now, when children think of having something new, they think computers, PSP, Xbox, gadgets, cellphones. The difference between then and now is that the children now are exposed early to technology. If you see your child hanging out in front of the computer than playing outside, then maybe they'd enjoy getting a gadget more rather than a toy. Now, we talk about cellphones, children would want to have their own, but is it the right time?
Before you go to a store and scout for the perfect phone, make sure that you have opened the rule book to the kids on how to use it. It's best that you discuss the budget and the type of phone together so that your child can choose a phone that will fit your budget and will fit your rules and she/he will still love using it. Remind them about the rules of texting. That texts sometimes can't be just private and they better be careful of what they text since it can be easily forwarded to others. Tell them also to not give away their mobile numbers to just anyone and not just their numbers but personal information or passwords as well. You can give them different scenarios and the possible consequences of sending out inappropriate texts, pictures and videos, abusive language or provocative pictures or texts. Also, the discussion doesn't need to be too serious so ask them about some of the internet language and shortcuts that they know of and let them participate instead of just you talking the whole way. Ask them what the known acronyms or netspeak means; like "LOL" or "GTG".
Now when you are in the store and have decided to choose which phone, make sure that you test out the phone. Also review the download speed and the security features of a phone and not just the style. These security features include limiting time on talking, texting and surfing. You should have a mutual agreement with your child which allows you to check their messages, call logs and the sites they visit.
As a parent, it can be quite hard to give your child that kind of freedom while respecting their privacy all the same, you just want to keep them safe and protect them from the outside elements that may harm them. It's okay that you over step the boundaries once in a while to check on them, but it's also good if you give them the trust and build them to be more responsible individuals. Remind them of the rules.
Parents have different levels of tolerance and what they see as inappropriate or not. Some parents may find it hard to give their children phones, most of them think that it's just too soon. For other parents, it's a key for their child to unlock themselves on a more creative side. With your guidance, you can make your children into responsible owners without compromising their safety.
by: Andrea Carless