Digital Media, Mobility, and Your Child
According to the Pew Research Center, 75% of children and teens ages 12 – 17 have a cell phone. This is the fastest growing segment of cell phone users; and when young adults are added to the mix (18-29) cell phone use and ownership rises to 95%.
The prevalence of cell phone ownership has seen the mobile technology industry and applications for mobile devises balloon. From banking and shopping apps, music and video apps (applications), to “check in” programs that show where your child is to an entire social network.
America’s youth are driving the demand for digital mobility with such force that manufacturers are scrambling to keep up. This Christmas, the first of the 4G (4th generation) cell phones from Verizon, and all their added speed and storage, will be on sale.
And parents are feeling the pressure too. Buying a cell phone for your tween or teen may no longer feel like an option, or be considered simply for your own peace of mind knowing you can call your child. Today’s digital landscape is being shaped and championed by teens who insist upon a cell phone as an integral part of their social lives. In fact, it’s become a ‘rite of passage’ for young people to have a cell phone’.
Nevertheless, before you start comparison-shopping on an upgrade or a new phone for your child, consider these facts:
• You own the cell phone, not your child. Set limitations on where and when they can text.
• Cell phones can be a serious distraction to your child’s education – many kids use the text feature to ‘pass notes’ in the classroom.
• As such, your child’s school may likely have a ban on cell phones – look into this.
• Explore the features your child wants on their phone and if they are old enough to have Internet access on their phone.
• Think about ‘Cell Phone Rules’ for your child to ensure they are not on the phone late into the morning hours, etc.
• Cell phone use requires responsibility and discipline. For example, turning off the sound in libraries and movie theaters.
• Critical responsibility lies with teenagers old enough to drive. Many states now have laws that prohibit texting while driving, and/or talking on cell phones without a hands-free system.
• Even without specific laws, teenage drivers are more prone to accidents by distraction such as calling, talking, listening to music or texting while driving.
• With tweens, take the cell phone before your child goes to bed. Otherwise they will be up late making calls or checking Facbook.
• Learn the Texting/Chat/Instant message abbreviations kids use so you are aware of what is being said with these acronyms, i.e., POS – Parent Over Shoulder.
• Review the monthly cell phone bill to determine if your child is exceeding their call and or text time.
The Text Message Culture
If you are baffled by the amount of texts your child can send and receive in one day, you are not alone. The text message culture is heralded by your child and a “share generation” that promotes keeping in touch 24-7, and keeping up to date on every aspect of daily life with peers.
As a parent, there are many causes for concern involving this Cultural Revolution and your child’s participation in it. The good news is that you can use the very same technology your child revels in to keep a watchful eye upon their activities, and to protect them should they get out of hand.
Mobile Monitoring for Parents
With all of your child’s cell phone capabilities, you may worry they’ll engage in unsafe or inappropriate uses. For instance, your child may download an app that rewards checking in geographically to a local network of thousands.
Using the Mobile Spy product lets you in on all your child’s cell phone activity by logging the calls and received, what they have texted, and which websites they’ve visited. Mobile Spy works for the Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, O2, Orange, Alltel carriers and more.
If your child has a Windows Mobile phone, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone, then you can actually filter, block, and monitor what your child does on their cell phone with Mobile Spy.
Mobile Nanny is a great tool because you can get a record of all text messages, site visits, and phone numbers from your child’s phone. These reports are stored on the company’s servers, so they can never be lost or deleted.
Certain reports from software like Mobile Nanny can be an invaluable resource if you need confirmation that your child is or is not texting while driving, for example.
Net Nanny Mobile has an alerts feature that allows you to get notifications from any Internet connection based on your parameters, such as a name or number your child may be communicating with.
Like Mobile Spy and many other monitoring programs, Net Nanny Mobile and the other mobile spyware products can also show you exactly where your child is through its GPS locator service that is updated every thirty minutes. You can find these mobile monitoring programs and more information on our products page.