Smart Phones and Intelligent Parenting
The cyberbullying epidemic of today has caused some extreme reactions, like the suicide of 12-year-old Gabrielle Molina. Three mothers, sick of these pointless tragedies, have started Advocates Against Cyberbullying (AAC) to help school districts and parents prevent cyberbullying. Part of fighting the battle against bullying is awareness of parents, school faculty and children. Know the signs and teach your teen the dangers and how to deal with online harassment.
Nobullying.com provides these sobering cyberbullying statistics:
- According to i-Safe Foundation, one in three teens have experienced cyber bullying threats online and over 25 percent of teens have suffered repeated cyber bullying.
- Half of teens who use the Internet, social media or cell phones have experienced cyber bullying.
- According to the Pew Internet Research Center, 55 percent of teenagers witness bullying on social media, while 95 percent of teenagers who have witnessed this bullying have seen other ignoring this behavior.
To protect you child from cyberbullying requires walking a fine line; you don’t want to be the overprotective parent, yet knowing the risks of cyberbullying, you can’t just sit idly by either.
Luckily you can be proactive behind the scenes to help keep your child safe.
My Mobile Watchdog leads the way in parental controls applications. With it you can monitor text messages and pictures (to prevent or stop sexting, yet another problem), put time limits on when and how the phone and its applications can be used, block web sites, applications (including the phone’s built in camera), and specific telephone numbers, and track your child’s location with GPS services. You will receive a daily report of your child’s activity and instant text messages of violations.
You can also download free apps from companies such as Life360, Securafone, and SMS Tracker to track your child’s whereabouts.
Technology on New Cell Phones Helps Parents
The latest technology on new cell phones also helps you keep your child safe. Most cell phones have GPS and all of the major wireless service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint offer “Family Locator” packages giving you the ability to track any cell phone on the wireless plan. Some cell phone providers offer parental controls as well. AT&T, for example, offers Smart Controls to limit cell phone use to certain times of the day, and Smart Limits to block up to thirty telephone numbers.
Even with all of the technological help available, nothing beats talking to your child. Let your child know that having a cell phone is partly about safety; your child being able to contact you quickly in an emergency, and you being able to find your child at all times. Make it clear that your interest is in safety rather than snooping. Set limits or install parental controls apps at the beginning and make them a part of owning the phone. It’s easier to start with these in place than to add them later.