Cell phones seem like an easy way to keep kids safe. Kids call if they need a ride or are in trouble, and you can reach them when needed. Have you spent time instructing them of the dangers associated with the cell phone use, though?
Dangers of Texting While Driving
A National Transportation Board report cites the death rate for teenage drivers is higher than teenage death rates from gun violence, cancer, and drugs combined. States with graduated driver’s licenses restrict teen driving hours and cell phone usage report 40% fewer deaths than states not implementing this plan. Have a frank discussion with your teen about turning the phone off, and set a good example by doing the same.
Smartphones open the internet to our children. Have you discussed the dangers of using the “hot singles” chat sites or of clicking Internet links in terms of scams, spam, and identity theft? Explain that clicking on provocative links opens the door to their device and personal information. Those sites are: downloading viruses and malware; stealing personal information for identity theft; spamming contacts and adding to their botnet. The chat sites charge high costs and also attempt to collect personal information. Don’t wait until a sky-high phone bill arrives or your kid’s device corrupted with malware and more.
Cell Phone Plans
Some great features help keep kids safe and are easy on your budget. Some networks offer free calls and texts within their network, so that is a huge consideration. Select prepaid plans for an established bill each month. This is a good option if your teen is paying the bill and learning to budget. Investigate options that set alerts and hard caps for voice calls, messaging and data use. Parental controls set times for phone use, establish communication contacts and approve websites or applications the child can use.
Some teens send as many as 3,000 text messages a month. Discuss with your kids that there are times they need to set the phone aside and be present. They should never send personal information over a text, nor should they ever put anything mean, derogatory, or hateful in a message. Let your youngsters know that some things should be said in person, not in a message. Teach these lessons well, and help your children stay safe for a lifetime.