Your 10-year-old may be able to clone a cellphone, dial by voice recognition, and text friends 24/7. Unfortunately, kids that age usually lack the judgment and experience to stay safe while using their cell phones.
Teach your kid to be smart and safe when using a mobile device. If it can access the Internet and nearby friends, your kid needs to learn the rules of using mobile devices safely.
Even if you don’t know how to turn on a cell phone, as an adult you have the experience and sound judgment to help keep your kids safe when they’re texting and linking, snapping pictures and creating videos.
Here are some simple tips and rules to teach your child, so he or she will be safer when using any mobile device.
If you don’t know who’s calling, let the call go to voice mail. Your cell phone number is in a lot of contacts files that can be stolen and copied. Suddenly, you’re getting calls from some creepy guy in the next town over. If you don’t know who it is, don’t answer.
Don’t bully. Or be the victim of a bully. Your child is exposed to the usual micro-society of a junior or senior high. It’s a social media jungle, and cyberbullying has become common practice. Why are you hurting someone who’s just like you? Why are you allowing some classmate to send rude texts?
Life via cellphone is no different than real life. Be a nice person online. Don’t bully others or start flame wars over who’s the best heavy metal guitarist. Who cares? It’s not worth a battle with someone you don’t even know, and it’s certainly not worth losing a friend.
Don’t delete nasty texts. Save them to show to your parents, or even law enforcement. If some creepy person is sending unwanted texts, save them, tell your folks, tell a teacher, call the cops – do something to stop those creeps who surf the Internet for kids.
Never take a call from an anonymous or withheld number. Your kid doesn’t know who’s calling or for what purpose. Again, stress using common sense. Would a friend or family member block caller ID? No. Would some creep you don’t know? Yes. Is it worth finding out who’s calling or texting? Absolutely not. Cell phones can be hacked just like computers, and suddenly the bad guys know where your kids are 24/7.
Block unknown callers. Every cell or tablet has a feature to block unwanted contacts. If someone you don’t know is sending nasty texts > click> block> gone> forever. Teach your unsuspecting child how to block unknown callers before they even make contact. “If you don’t know who’s calling, click BLOCK.” Simple.
Don’t give out your cellphone number to strangers. Limit your cell phone contacts to friends and classmates, and warn them not to give out your number to others. Don’t give your number to chance acquaintances.
Social mapping with GPS tells friends and contacts where your child is and where their friends are. Unfortunately, anyone with the right smartphone app can hone in on the current location of your kid’s GPS-equipped cell phone. Show your child how to set up cell phone GPS so friends and family can find them, but some bad guy can’t.
Set parental controls. Safety apps and settings can be set to protect your child. As more and more people access the Internet using smartphones, mobile carriers offer filtering preferences for parents to block specific content. Parents of younger kids should block Internet access to inappropriate websites.
The danger in mobile device use is that it takes place when you’re not around to peek over a shoulder or listen to a chat. Help keep your kids cyber safe at home and when they’re on the go.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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