Teens confirm the popularity of cell phones with 78 percent of all teenagers owning a cell phone and 47 percent of this number owning smartphones, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report. After providing your child with a cell phone, there are important reasons to stay involved with your child’s cell phone use.
Children often embrace texting to communicate with friends on a cell phone. A concerning trend among cell phone use, “sexting” involves the transmission of suggestive or even pornographic images via text messages, according to the Dr. Phil website. Instruct your child about the appropriate use of text messages, explaining that sending suggestive images of herself to someone else or communicating with someone in a provocative or sexual manner is off limits. Some sexual predators prey on minors via cell phones to attempt to entice a child into a personal encounter, states Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas. Check your child’s cell phone text messages as well as your cell phone bill to ensure that sexting does not occur.
A child may encounter abuse from a cyberbully via cell phone contact, according to the ControlMobile.com website. Cyberbullying involves virtual harassment or abuse through social media, text messages or email. Watch your child for indications of anxiety or distress as she uses her cell phone. A child may act secretively about cell phone use, she may become moody, or she may withdraw from friends and family. Talk with your child if you have concerns about cyberbullying.
If a child has a smartphone, he has extensive access to the Internet through his mobile device. This translates to your child having convenient access to virtually any type of website, including gambling and pornography. Many wireless providers offer parental controls as a part of wireless packages, according to the SafetyWeb website. Contact your provider to inquire about blocking specific types of websites and downloads. Find out if you can place time restrictions on your child’s cell phone to control usage.
Children can experience difficulty managing cell phone use and avoiding overage charges. Before letting your child loose with a cell phone, institute firm guidelines about texting, minutes and downloading content such as music and apps, suggests the Cricket website. Check with your wireless provider about instituting use restrictions on your child’s cell phone to prevent overage charges from occurring. Check your account online to monitor your child's cell phone use.
- Pew Research Center: Teens and Technology 2013
- Dr. Phil: Monitor Your Child's Cell Phone and Internet Activity
- Office of Attorney General, State of Texas: Wireless Parental Controls
- ControlMobile.com: Cyberbullying: A Reason Parents Need to Monitor their Child’s Phone
- Safety Web: Cell Phone Monitoring
- Cricket: Is Your Teen Ready for a Cell Phone?
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images