Children and mobile phones
As parents, you may have purchased a cell phone for your child as a means of protection so that your child is never stuck somewhere without transportation or can always call home to check in. What you may not have been aware of is the dangers that cell phones can cause. Due to the Internet connection available on most cell phones, your children can become the target of sexual offenders and predators.
Statistics show that approximately two-thirds of American children between the ages of 10 and 19 have cell phones. In other parts of the world, the rate is even higher. In Japan, for example, more than 80% of high school students and 25% of high school students had cell phones. Britain and Scandinavia also have high rates of children with cell phones. These other countries are where a lot of disturbing statistics come from.
The Cabinet Office of Japan surveyed teenagers with cell phones and found that 37% of teenage men and 30% of teenage women had accessed dating sites. These sites had led some girls to have unwanted sex with men they met through these sites.
Another danger with newer cell phones is the ability to share photos and videos taken with a cell phone, which can mean that just by pressing the wrong buttons, your child’s photo, phone number and email address they can be sent to the wrong person. . You can also download images from a cell phone and post them on the World Wide Web for all to see. That is why some schools have banned cell phones in restricted areas like locker rooms to prevent inappropriate pictures from being taken. In addition to the images that your child may be sending from his cell phone, he may also view inappropriate material outside the home and you may not know anything about it.
Another problem with mobile phones is that they are telephones. In addition to sending photos to children, sexual predators can also contact them through their cell phone number to arrange a meeting when children are beyond the control of their parents. Most cell phones have Caller ID, which means that the moment your child contacts this person, the person has their cell phone number.
In addition to sexual predators, bullies also use mobile phones to harass other children. This has become a major problem in Britain, where 16% of young people say they have received threatening text messages and 7% say they have been harassed in chat rooms. Another 4% claimed to have been harassed by email. If your child is the victim of such bullying, check with your wireless service provider to change the phone number.
Another problem with cell phones is that these phones are equipped with geolocation systems so that 911 dispatchers can identify the location of the phone in the event of an emergency. While this tracking system is supposed to be secure, it is not foolproof. If the wrong person has the technical know-how, you can track your child wherever he is.
There are several steps you can take to protect your child. You should first discuss the situation with them, explain that they should never text anyone they don’t know personally. If they still persist in texting everyone, swap your current plan for a prepaid one with a limited number of minutes. With fewer minutes, your child will have to decide to talk on the phone or send a text message. Since texting is often more expensive, your child will likely go back to talking on the cell phone, which is what you originally planned for him to do.