What are my kids talking about?! – Cell Phone Security
Ahhh cell phones!! I remember when I got my first cell phone. I was in college and I still felt like it was a splurge because the campus did have courtesy phones in many buildings. Now with the growing trend of cell phones, it is not uncommon to have an eight or ten year old with a cell phone.
How do we manage this WHOLE NEW PIECE of technology?!!
I would recommend creating a cell phone agreement. Set up rules for the proper use of the phone. Even though most plans allow for UNLIMITED texting, should your child have UNLIMITED access to texting day and night? I worry when my son finally gets a cell phone, will I only be talking to the top of his head?!
1) BE RESPONSIBLE! Stay within budgeted minutes or texts. Be responsible for any overage fees.
2) BE CLEAN! Do not text anything lude, profane, or inappropriate.
3) BE SAFE! Do not give your cell phone number to strangers, on on-line forms, or raffle giveaways.
4) BE SMART! Do not stay up late texting with friends. Even if it is about a report or homework, it creates bad habits, which won’t help you succeed in school.
5) BE POLITE! Do not use your cell phone during inappropriate social situations such as at the dinner table, during family time, or at church.
6) BE REASONABLE! Do not text too much. Even though a plan will allow for unlimited texts, keep your texts to be less than predetermined amount.
7) BE KIND! Remember to THINKS (Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Is it Safe?)
8) BE TRUE! Follow all school or teacher policies regarding cell phone usage.
9) BE HONEST! Parents will be able to perform random checks of the phone to see text and call history. Do not delete messages or phone history. Parents will be able to review the history on the monthly bill.
10) Violations of any of these rules will result in the CONFISCATION of the cell phone.
What controls can I implement to help keep this agreement?
I would first recommend getting a basic, no frills cell phone for their first phone. The cell phone carriers are really pushing the sale of smart phones (Smart Phone – Phone that can download applications and surf on the web, example iPhone, Droid, etc.). In addition to the monthly data fees, the smart phones have so many capabilities it is like its own computer. (See page 19).
There are parental controls available for each carrier.
Here is a link to a great article that goes into the various cell phone parental controls. Most of the parental controls require an additional monthly fee.
Also, you could look into getting pre-paid phones. One cell-phone provider was created with the parental controls as the main priority:
In addition, there is software available that can allow you to view everything that is sent or received on a phone. This seems a little extreme, but would be helpful to have for someone that has had a problem with inappropriate texting.
Mobile Spy – http://www.mobile-spy.com/spy_features.html
My Mobile Watch Dog – http://www.mymobilewatchdog.com/