Cell Phone Protection and Safety For Kids

by Pat Munro - Date: 2010-10-23 - Word Count: 626 Share This!

If your like the millions of parents giving your children a cell phone for safety when their away from home you should read this article. You must know that there are dangers lurking around wireless technology and your children. Depending on the age of your child you have probably already instituted a v-chip type security wall to protect them from dangerous or adult oriented content on their TVs and computers. In 2000 the FCC instituted laws designating parental controls for blocking objectionable content from children, on both TVs and computers. With the recent enactment of the Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007, the FCC will begin looking at blocking technologies for devices in addition to televisions. It's still in the 'study' phase, so it is still up to you dear parents, to protect your children yourselves. I will discuss the protection you should have in place for your kids, against objectionable content downloads and other questionable abilities your child has access to on their cell phones.

Check with your wireless provider to see if they provide a content classification for wireless devices.

There is presently a voluntary service by the CTIA (wireless association) which is not offered by every wireless provider. The service is not governed by the FCC yet so they cannot enforce any complaints or violations concerned parents may have. So it's up to you parents you do your homework, if your provider does not offer this service then look for one that does. This service does not include control of texts, instant messages or email. They do however provide filtering of content accessed on the internet. Some wireless providers have filtering software that can be downloaded on each particular child's cell phones. Depending on the ages of your children this can be indispensable.

Know what types of applications and programs your children have access to on their phones and their plans.
The types of content that can be downloaded include:

-images, such as background "wallpaper" for the phone's home screen
-games, including some games that are also available for gaming systems such as Playstation or Xbox
-music and songs, including ring tones, ring back tones, and downloads of full songs
-videos, including certain television shows, movies, and music videos, as well as video programming specially made for, and only available on, wireless phones
-text, photo, and video messages. Most wireless devices can also be used to exchange messages, including instant and text messages, as well as photos and videos.
-If your service includes Internet access, wireless devices can also send and receive emails. These services can be used to request, purchase, and receive content from various sources, including Web sites. For example, users can send a 5-digit "short code" to request certain information, such as a sports score or weather forecast that will be sent directly to their wireless device.

Once you understand the extent of your child's cell phone plan, here are some tips to control their safety:

Talk to your children about your family's rules regarding wireless content.
Keep a watch over what they are sending, and receiving via texting and instant messaging on their phones.

If your child is on a social networking site, be there to.
It is the best way to monitor their online interactions and start a discussion on the dangers associated with these platforms.

Always monitor the bills.
The FCC instituted a 'truth in billing' rule requiring telephone companies to describe the services being used. This means your wireless company is required by law to provide clear description of any content or application purchase your child may have accessed.

Take the initiative to protect your kids once they leave your home. Cell phones have created a false sense of safety because of easy access, but that easy access can lead to new safety concerns. The best defense is a well informed and implemented offence.

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