Tips to Keep Kids with Cell Phones Safe

First of all, remind your kids not to walk and talk or text, especially when they are crossing the street. That said, what else should parents know about cell phones and kids? Here are some recent statistics about how many kids have cell phones:

  • Grade school 40%kid with cell phone
  • Middle school up to 75%
  • High school 95%

Teenage girl textingParents… you aren’t alone when it comes to being concerned about who your child talks with, what they download, and when they use their cell phones. So many things can be worrisome.

Beyond the everyday squabbles about using the cell phone, your biggest nightmare might be cyber stalking. Every time there’s a scary report about kids being stalked because of their cell phone photos or text messages, parents become anxious. While you want to be able to contact each other to say things like, “I‘ll be 5 minutes late” or “I’m at Billie’s house,” what you don’t want is for every Tom, Dick, or Harry to know where your son or daughter is.

Creating a Safety Zone

Basically, if you are using a cell phone to know the whereabouts of your kids, you are using a GPS (Global Positioning System). TV has shown us police finding both lost people and perpetrators by using the GPS in cell phones. If your kid is lost, the fact that they have a cell phone would be a comfort. But what about inadvertently sending out the location of your child to any cyber hack? That’s a big worry.

While you can setup your family’s phones yourself, you might want to take the guess work out of it and use an app that is specially designed to enhance the safety of your child’s phone based on the way they use it. Here are two popular apps:

MobileKids

This free app is designed for both the iPhone and Android cell phones. Install the app on both your phone and your kid’s phone.

MobileKids for the iPhone

MobileKids for the Android

My Mobile Watchdog

This robust app cost $5/month and has years of endorsements from national news organizations, the FBI, and local law enforcers. It does far more than controlling the GPS on your phones.

MyMobileWatchdog

In addition to useful tools, you can get some practical advice at the Parents Corner blog. One blog in particular gives tips about how to start conversations with children around technology and using the internet.

Monitoring Usage

Once you feel safe about protecting the physical being of your kid, you might want to set limits for how they use their cell phone.

  • Setting access times
  • Limiting incoming and outgoing content
  • Monitoring texts and photo messages

Most cell phone providers have systems for parents to monitor and control their kid’s cell phones. Below are the major providers. Just click the names to go to the designated website.

ATT has Smart Limits at $5/ month. You can set time limits for calls and data usage, restrict or allow certain phone numbers, and determine how many minutes can be used each month.

Verizon has FamilyBase at $5/month where you can know how much time your child uses the cell phone for texts and calls. You can also lock their phone a certain times and monitor apps and connected friends.

Sprint provides Sprint Mobile Controls at 5$/month to let you monitor your kid’s phone, text, and data usage, set time limits, and observe what apps are on their phone.

Tmobile offers FamilyWhere for $9.99/month with free controls for blocking calls and messages, both incoming and outgoing.

It’s Your Responsibility

A final word: It’s up to you to set limits and boundaries! Parent up and explain the reasons why certain restrictions and boundaries exist. Make agreements that make you feel comfortable and work with your child to trust that they are implemented.

 

Tips to Keep Kids with Cell Phones Safe first appeared on blog.batteries4less.com.