Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Cell Phone Safety

Like Internet safety, as parents today, we need to be eduated on cell phone safety and our kids. Here are some great tips from Connect Safely. Take the time to be an educated parent.

Source: Connect Safely

Though teens make little distinction between fixed and mobile socializing, we adults still do. So here are some basic ideas for safe socializing on phones as well as the Web that we hope will work for both generations.

Smart socializing. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake, and even more if nudity or sex is involved.

Bullying by phone. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down.

Sexting: It’s the same on phones as on the Web – do not take, send, post or even store on your phone nude photos of anyone under 18. You could be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. You could also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever.

The value of “presence.” If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.

Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. Real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone – harassment can happen between midnight and morning too.

Social mapping. Most cellphones now have GPS technology and there are a growing number of services that allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features!

Reprinted with permission from Connect Safely

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