Should Your Child Have a Cell Phone? From My Secure Cyberspace Kids love mobile phones, but they need to learn how to use them responsibly.
In recent years, mobile phones have become extremely popular with young people. More than half of American teenagers now own a cell phone, and this number is growing quickly. Also, the age at which kids are getting cell phones is dropping, and many elementary school-aged children now carry cell phones. This trend is even more marked in countries outside the United States; for example, in New Zealand 84% of children have a cell phone by age 14.
Many parents want their children to have cell phones because they want to be able to reach their children at any time. It also gives parents peace of mind to know that their children can call them or the police in case of an emergency. However, other parents worry that the risks of having a cell phone outweigh the benefits. There are certainly risks to having a cell phone, but with education and the proper tools, your child can have the security of a cell phone with few of the dangers. What are the risks?
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is when kids use the Internet to harass, intimidate, embarrass, or demean others. Kids can use cell phones to send threatening text messages or make threatening phone calls, and cell phones make it easier to do these things without being detected by parents or teachers. Many cell phones are now equipped with cameras that can take still pictures and short videos, which can then be sent to other mobile phones or uploaded to the Internet. According to a survey by the National Children's Home charity and Tesco Mobile, 10% of children ages 11-19 have had a picture taken of them with a cell phone camera that made them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or threatened. Hidden Costs: Most cell phone plans charge additional fees for accessing the Web and text messaging, and kids can easily rack up high charges on cell phones by going over their plan minutes,...
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