When it comes to teens, there are two main concerns about cell phones. First, is it safe for them to use one? And second, can anything else possibly happen to them as a consequence of carrying and using a cell phone? Part 1 of our series on teens and cell phones deals with the first issue of immediate safety.
The simple and original purpose of a cell phone is immediate contact with other people to relay information back and forth. They call you. You call them. Thatâs what phones are for, right!?
Since there arenât many payphones these days, cell phones seem as vital as lunch money for a teenager out in the world. Itâs comforting to know that Suzie went to Jennyâs house after baseball practice, or that you are running late and not to worry.
As we reported in our blog about younger children and cell phones, an important safety issue is knowing your kidâs whereabouts, especially if they are running late or if thereâs a local emergency that might involve them (or you)! Â Thatâs when the cell phone’s GPS can come in handy. We know from cop shows that phones can be traced via the built-in GPS.
You may want to take it a step further and know exactly where your son or daughter is at any given time. If so, check outÂ MyMobileWatchdog. This robust app for both iPhones and Androids costs $5/month and has many endorsements from national news organizations, the FBI, and local law enforcers. And it does far more than control the GPS… you might appreciate it’s power to monitor multiple aspects of your kiddo’s cell phone usage. In addition to useful tools, you can get some practical advice at theÂ Parents CornerÂ blog. One blog in particular gives tips about how to have conversations with children around technology and using the internet.
Hereâs a safety tip from the writer of this blog. I lived a few blocks from a major university and a middle school. I cannot tell you how many times I needed to avoid young people who were crossing the street while texting or talking on their cell phone. Sometimes, they just wandered off the sidewalk, oblivious of their surroundings, be it cement truck or stalker! Itâs simply not safe to walk and use a cell phone… nor is it safe to drive and use a cell phone.
In a previous post, we revealed that adults are more guilty of driving while texting than teens. So, weâve got you in our rearview mirror, mom and dad!
That doesnât let teens off the hook. Itâs pretty obvious that it isnât safe for anyone to text and drive. Texting while driving is no more safe than putting on makeup or searching for a fave on an iPod while at the wheel. And this might surprise you… itâs also not safe to have conversations while driving, either on the phone or in person. When drivers get deep in a conversation they are less likely to see the dog bounding into the street to retrieve a ball! Even a Bluetooth wonât fully prevent distraction just because you just donât have to hold the phone. Distraction means you are not completely aware of your task of driving a two ton vehicle!
The CDCÂ reports that every day more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are that result from a distracted driver. Drivers under 20 have the highest incidence of fatal accidents resulting from distraction.
T-Mobile offers DriveSmart, an application that can be downloaded for Android cell phones. The free version limits calls, texts, and application use when the phone is inside a moving vehicle. Unfortunately, the free application must be opened and set up every time the user starts driving. You can get automatic driving detection and access to parental controls from an upgrade which costs 4.99 a month and covers up to 10 cell phones.
Hereâs a list of useful apps from Your Sphere for Parents that you might want to explore.
In our next blog, we give safety tips about setting limits for teens around content and usage of cell phones.