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CELL PHONE SAFETY – EMAIL AND TEXTING.doc

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									CELL PHONE SAFETY – EMAIL AND TEXTING

I hope this helps Apryl. Checking email on a cell phone is the same as email
through a desktop computer so there are really not many SPECIFIC tips.



Roughly 60 percent of American teenagers own a cell phone, according to U.S. Cellular
statistics, and spend an average of an hour a day talking on them—about the same
amount of time the average teenager spends doing homework. And cell phone
companies are now marketing to younger children with colorful kid-friendly phones and
easy-to-use features. According to market research firm the Yankee Group, 54 percent
of 8 to12 year olds will have cell phones within the next three years.

With cell phone usage growing rapidly for children and teens, here are my tips for
parents:



What Parents Can Do

      Discuss your child’s motivations for having a cell phone: Talking about its
       use for safety rather than as a status symbol or way to fit in can be important. It
       may not only cut down on your teens airtime minutes, but it could initiate a
       conversation about his or her life, for example, feelings of anxiety, loneliness,
       and who they feel they need to be talking to – and when and why.
      Develop a set of rules and responsibilities as a cell phone user: In providing
       your child with a cell phone, you have the right to set the rules for its use :
       ―Always answer calls from parents immediately.‖ ―Always identify where and with
       whom you are.‖ Many parents set limits for younger children’s use and have their
       teens take responsibility for their own cell phone bills.
      Discuss appropriate circumstances, places and uses for cell phones with
       your child: 82 percent of people report having been annoyed by loud or
       personal cell phone conversations in public. Don’t let your child be one of these
       irritants.
      Establish rules around cell phone use at night: Require your children to turn
       cell phones off at night and keep them in a common area rather than allowing
       them to take them into their rooms, where they can talk or text message late into
       the night.
      Consider a child-friendly cell phone for your child: Some phones made
       especially for kids allow you to control whom your child can call, or offer only
       ―mom‖ and ―dad‖ buttons so no other calls can be made.
      Teach your kids to only answer calls or view text messages from people
       they know: Like the internet, cell phones are becoming a vehicle not only for
       bullying, but also for sexual predators and for scams.
      Help your kids save money: Consider purchasing a pre-paid plan with a limited
       number of minutes for your teens, and remind them to ―budget‖ their minutes.
       Also, turning off text messaging and internet capabilities on your child’s phone
       will help keep bills low.

Additional Tips for Parents

Do your homework.

   • Determining the right technology boundaries for your children requires upfront
       legwork.
   • First, understand children’s technology habits – evaluate what technologies they’re
       using and how they’re using them.
   • Research tools for monitoring children’s activities and conduct an assessment of
       how often your children are surfing the Web and chatting with friends via instant
       messenger services, e-mail and text message.
   • Watch their favorite TV programs with them to fully understand the content.
   • Ask children what the most popular technologies are within their circle of friends.
       For example, how many kids do they know have MySpace pages? How
       appealing do they find online gaming? What would they like to be doing online or
       with their cell phones, if they could?
   • Next, find out what parental controls are available. AT&T Smart Limits brings
       together information on the privacy and protection features available to
       subscribers of the company’s high speed Internet, TV, home phone, and wireless
       services. The site is a show-and-tell of how parents can simply and sensibly
       safeguard their children against misuse of technology.

Test the technology.

   • Log on and experiment with the technologies they’re using. For example, instant
       message a relative. Ask someone for a tutorial on text messaging – and text
       message with your children. It’s critical for parents to speak the language of
       technology that their kids are speaking.
   • After determining which parental controls work best, parents should establish and
       test these controls to ensure their children are protected when using today’s
       technology.

Set boundaries – and put them in writing.

   • Parents should initiate discussions with their children about appropriate and
      inappropriate uses of technology. Parents and children should agree to
      household rules on surfing the Web, watching TV, and chatting with friends –
      whether that’s by instant messenger, on the phone, or text messaging.
   • As with children’s other activities, the more responsible the child, the more lenient
      you can be in setting boundaries. It’s critical to aim for balance. Children who
       enjoy Web hobbies should be allowed to pursue those interests, but not to the
       point of being allowed to forgo family time, exercising or studying.
   • Institute at least a verbal contract, but strongly consider having family members
       sign a written contract, which will help eliminate misinterpretation of the rules
       agreed upon.

Establish clear lines between behavior and consequence.

   • Kids need and like to have what’s expected of them spelled out. But many times
       they won’t heed suggestions in the absence of consequence. Parents need to
       avoid ambiguity – gray areas are tricky in establishing boundaries for kids.
       Parents should strive to make the rules and consequences perfectly clear.
   • The ―action-consequence‖ approach can reinforce positive behavior and outcomes,
       and work to minimize negative behavior and outcomes. An example of this
       approach is to revoke or limit technology use if a child fails to adhere to his or her
       side of the bargain, such as trying to visit restricted Web sites or TV channels.
       Likewise, parents can reward children with texting minutes or increased Internet
       time for improving grades or completing homework without a hassle.
   • Technology use is an extremely powerful motivator to children today. The key is to
       be consistent and specific when administering reward and punishment.

Do random checks.

   • Parents have both the right and responsibility to check up on children’s technology
       activities.
   • The most effective way to ensure children follow the rules is to conduct random
       checks. If kids know their parents will be reviewing their email accounts every
       Wednesday, they’re likely to delete inappropriate content each Tuesday. Parents
       should check cell phones or log on to MySpace accounts intermittently.
   • Importantly, parents should let children know when they’ve reviewed their activities
       to reinforce that adherence to technology rules is a top priority in the home.

Draw parallels between the physical world and the virtual world.

   • Children today live in a split universe, socializing with peers on the playground and
      in chat rooms interchangeably. Fortunately, many adages are just as relevant in
      a child’s virtual world as they are in the child’s physical world.
   • For example, when teaching a young child to avoid strangers, parents need to
      explain how the Internet is a public place and they should never email people
      they don’t know. Parents should reinforce that children need to tell a trusted adult
      about Web sites, online conversations or text messaging that make them feel
      uneasy.
   • When using technology, children can feel ―anonymous‖ and think that disrespect,
      naming calling and rumors are untraceable. Parents need to indicate that
      children’s actions online are every bit as real and visible as their actions in the
      physical world.
Above all, don’t be afraid.

   • Parents should not be afraid to set limits, even if they are less savvy about the
      technology than their children.
   • Consider this analogy: Parents who have never heard of their child’s favorite band
      can still monitor how many hours each day the child is listening to his or her
      MP3, or how loud the child is blasting CDs from their bedroom.



Social-networking will drive the next-generation cellphone market.
The Disney phone - Parents can designate, on the phone itself or by computer, when
and how much the child can both talk and text on the phone, as well as add ringtones
and other downloads. The manager is alerted when a kid bumps the limits and can raise
them also includes a GPS feature and cost about $60, disneymobile.com.

Phone with sex-offender alerts: With GPS technology, linked to a national database of
sex offenders. Nextel's Cat Trax phone "allows parents to build a 'geofence' around
every listed child predator that lives within their ZIP code. The phone alerts parents
through an email, text message or pager if their child enters that zone. $19.99 for the
first phone and $9.99 each for additional phones.

Sprint Nextel Corp. introduced a new service called Family Locator that lets parents
track their kids' whereabouts, using the GPS capabilities in each child's cellphone. For
$9.99 a month.

Facebook deals with Cingular Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Users can also post
messages to their Facebook profiles via SMS text messaging. Users to send text
messages from their desktop. Users only need enter the mobile phone carrier and the
cell number, and the text message will be sent off shortly.

MySpace - Earthlink and Korea-based SK Telecom just launched a joint-venture mobile
service called Helio, the Targeting "young, connected consumers," the service includes
text, photo, and video messaging; a "presence" feature that lets MySpacers know when
friends are online; multiple personalization options like "Animated Screens and Rings
from major music labels"; the ability to post directly to their MySpace profiles; the option
to sync their address book over the air from phone to phone if they're going for a
different look every day. All that and 1,000 anytime minutes for $85/month (the
cheapest package). The phones themselves, "Hero" and "Kickflip," "will cost $275 and
$250, respectively Downloads are additional games $5.99 each, music videos $2.49.
This very mobile social-networking affects "parental controls."

AOL's social-networking AIM Pages, for the 47.6 million AIM instant-messaging
users. AIM customers can get a free VoIP phone number and can receive unlimited
inbound calls from traditional phones, cell phones, and PCs. AIM immatates MySpace
by offering customizable pages that teens and others can use to create their own world
while also instant messaging. Adding free phoning to AIM Phoneline will allow AIM
users "to receive incoming calls from any phone."

When to Get Your Child a Cell Phone

Security and cost are two issues to consider when making the decision.

Cell phone companies are promoting new products to children (and their parents). Is
your child ready for the responsibility of a cell phone?

Issues Parents Should Consider

The pros and cons of security

      On the positive side, some kiddie cell phones have parental controls. The Firefly
       cell phone, for example, requires that a parent use a PIN number to enter the
       phone numbers that the child will be able call.
      The Wherifone uses a GPS device to track the whereabouts of a child carrying
       the phone.
      Camera phones can provide a certain meaure of security. There have been
       cases where children have scared away potential abductors by trying to
       photograph them.
      On the negative side, older teens often have Web-enabled cell phones, giving
       them access to the Internet when parents can't monitor their activity.

Cost

If you think your child can handle the responsibility of staying within a plan, here's what
you need to know before choosing one:

      When phones are Web-enabled, parents are often surprised by the size of the
       phone bill. Customers can choose to go without this feature, but increasingly
       Web-browsing and text messaging capabilities are bundled with extra weekend
       and night minutes.
      If a phone is Web-enabled, kids have access to games. Cell phone gaming is the
       newest market for companies and is expected to be big business in the next few
       years. Keep in mind, too, that there is a billion-dollar cell phone pornography
       business in Europe and Asia, which is expected to hit the U.S. market soon.
      According to the market analysis company, The Yankee Group, the biggest trend
       among teen cell phone users is pre-paid SIM (subscriber identity module)
       cards/family plan hybrids.

Kiddie Cell Phone Companies

Currently available are the Firefly and Wherify Wireless's Wherifone.
The Firefly offers:

      "Mom" and "Dad" speed-dial keys
      A parent-programmed, PIN-protected phone list
      A 911 button for emergency calls

The Wherifone comes with:

      A Global Positioning System to track the position of your child 24/7
      An "SOS" button
      Five preprogrammable dialing buttons so that parents can control costs

Many more kiddie cell phones are entering the marketplace:

      Disney Mobile features a Family Monitor service that allows parents to set text
       and picture messaging allowances
      Verizon Wireless now offers the LG Migo, a cute handset very similar to the
       Firefly
      Toy company Hasbro offers a device that's a cross between a cell phone and a
       walkie talkie and sends voice calls, pictures and text messages between their
       CHATNOW handsets for distances of up to two miles

								
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