Research conducted by the Center of Media and Child Health showed that 22 percent of young children aged 6 to 9 have cell phones, along with 60 percent of those between 10 and 14 and 84 percent of teens between 15 and 18. However, not every child knows all of the safety precautions they should take while they use their phone, according to Abilene Reporter-News.
Several parents believe that children need a cell phone, whereas others give their kids cell phones only for emergencies.
“Many people are so spread out these days with school, work and extra curricular activities – and people need a way to connect,” parent Talaria Boyd of Abilene, Texas, told the news source. “Purchasing a phone for a child needs to depend on the child’s ability to be responsible. Not all kids are on the same level, and there are so many dangers involved. Parents need to play an active role in monitoring their children when it comes to who they talk to, social networking and texting.”
However, parents must ensure that their child can handle the responsibilities that come with cell phone ownership, the media outlet reports.
According to the Agoura Hills Acorn, there are a few things parents should go over with their children before they give them their own phone.
First, explain to the kids that texts, emails and picture messages must always be appropriate, the publication reports. Young mobile phone users must know to never give out a home address or other personal information through a phone call, text or email. Additionally, they should not respond to any call or text from a person that they do not know. Most importantly, if the child ever feels uncomfortable about a text or call they received, than they should immediately confide in an adult.
In addition, parents should ensure that they put “ICE” (in case of emergency) in front of any names and numbers of people in the phone’s contact list who should be contacted in the event that something were to happen.
Parents who want to take their monitoring one step further may want to invest in parental control software, which can help parents oversee what their child is doing on their cell phone.