For teens, Internet safety spreads from computers to cellphones
Teenagers are online. They are sharing photos, updates and information. Most parents know this, and many are taking the necessary steps to monitor what their children are doing online and who they are talking to.
But some parents don’t think of cellphones when they think about their children’s online activity. Cellphones are more than a means to make a phone call. These days, there is very little a computer can do that a cellphone can’t.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 95 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 are on the Internet. But these teenagers aren’t just going online with laptops or desktops. Seventy-four percent have access on a mobile basis, and 25 percent mostly access the Internet on cellphones.
These teens have their cellphones on them at all times, and parents can’t always be looking over their shoulders to see what they are doing. That is why having frequent conversations with teens is so important.
Cellphone Safety Tips for Parents
The following tips come from our NetSmartz Workshop, an Internet safety program with resources for parents, children and educators.
- Establish rules for when they are allowed to use their cellphone, what websites they can visit and what apps they can download.
- Review cellphone records for any unknown numbers and late night phone calls and texts.
- Remind your children that anything they send from their phones can be easily forwarded and shared.
- Teach your child never to reveal cell phone numbers or passwords online.
- Talk to your child about the possible consequences of sending sexually explicit or provocative images or text messages.
- When shopping for a cellphone for your child, research the security settings that are available.
Get more Internet safety resources, including tips, videos and games, at the NetSmartz Workshop.