Verizon Wireless and Preventing Child Abuse Illinois are two
organizations banding together to make sure kids are using cell phones more
They said one important thing to keep in mind is that once
you put it out on the Internet, it's always there.
"Having cell phones, especially smart phones, and a lot
of children have smart phones, is a lot of freedom for children to have without
a lot of control in that environment," said Angie Kendall of Prevent Child
She said in order to keep kids safe with cell phones, having
an open dialogue is key.
"It's really important that parents spend some time
talking to their kids about how real this is; the consequences of things like sexting
and even like sharing location, where they are," said Kendall.
A new study from the pew research center shows, 91% of teens
post photos of themselves on social media.
And 71% post their school name, and where they live.
"It gives people access to your child that they
wouldn't otherwise have."
Going to a cell phone store and learning how to filter your
child's Internet, limit usage, and even block certain numbers can also be a
line of defense.
"The more phones we have, the more challenging it is to
manage all of these," said Kendall.
We spoke to some students at Rock Island High School who
seemed to be pretty savvy when it comes to being safe, and smart.
"Make sure that I read it twice before I actually send
it, like I might type something out on Twitter, but after I do I'll definitely
re–read it," said Trey Sigel, a senior at Rock Island High School.
But just because they're being safe, doesn't mean all their
peers are doing the same.
"Some kids take it really out of proportion and put
disrespectful things on there, sometimes they put photos that shouldn't be put
on there," said Dennicia Hickman, a senior at Rock Island High School.
how to set social media privacy settings. The
default status of social networking sites is public. Log in with your child to
change the settings so only accepted "friends" can see your child's account.
2. Set a
password for the phone. It's easy for a cell phone to get
lost or stolen. A first line of defense against your child's information being
accessed by an unwanted viewer is to choose a password that both of you will
remember and set the phone so that it automatically locks after a few minutes
important contacts. Make sure the phone is updated with family contacts,
trusted friends and emergency numbers, anyone your child could reach out to
easily in case of an emergency.
4. Know who they're talking to and which sites
they visit. Discuss not clicking links or replying to unknown callers,
text messages or social media friend requests. If there is any question about
who is contacting them, have them share that contact info with you first,
before they reply.
location information. Facebook, Twitter and many other smart phone
apps give the option to broadcast your location. Facebook allows you to ‘check
in' at specific places. While some parents may be eager to know their child's
location, others may feel more comfortable disabling this GPS technology in the
device's settings. It's up to you to decide.
them aware. Talk with your child about the potential dangers and
repercussions of using social media and texting. Make sure your teen is
well-versed in how to protect himself: Stress the importance of never publicly
revealing information such as full name, age, address, hometown, where he or
she goes to school, etc. Teach them to be mindful of pictures they post via
social media and what personal info might be revealed in the background.
7. Set up
boundaries. Sometimes it's easier to take the driver's seat and filter
Internet content, determine when your child can use the Internet, limit usage,
block purchases and numbers, and even locate your child from your own device or
PC. Verizon Wireless offers Verizon
FamilyBase™ which can help give the parent the power to control it
all—and have some peace of mind.
8. Talk to
your child often. Create an open environment when it comes to mobile phone
and social media use. Let your child know that he or she can always come to you
with any problems, questions, concerns, or anything they find confusing.
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