A cellphone is one of the most popular gifts requested by teens. Mobile phones offer both communication and safety benefits for parents and adolescents. However, like most technologies, they also pose some risks. Contrary to adults who use their mobile phone primarily to place and receive calls, children use this tool to send messages, photographs or browse the Net. Parents should reinforce with their children that connecting with others by mobile phone has similar risks as when connecting by computer.

In order to ensure their children’s well-being and personal safety, it is important that parents talk openly and honestly with their children about mobile phone safety and review the following:

  • Never leave his complete name or telephone number on his voicemail message;
  • Give his mobile phone number only to trustworthy people;
  • Never leave his mobile phone unattended;
  • Always block calls from undesirable sources;
  • Only upload information from reliable and reputable sites;
  • Never respond to any obscene or threatening messages;
  • Always use an alias (chatting, playing games, instant messaging, etc.) that does not reveal his true identity, age, address or personal interests.
  • Immediately report any sexually explicit material that he encounters to www.cybertip.ca;
  • Be careful when speaking in public on his mobile phone as contents are easily overheard and shared with others;
  • Always rely on his instincts and not his friends! If he is hesitant about sharing photos/videos or personal information, then not to do so;
  • Emphasize that responding to a text message or call from an unknown source allows his phone number to be revealed;
  • Emphasize the public nature and permanence of sent images/texts, the legal implications of distributing inappropriate material, and the disruption it may cause in his life. Always think before posting!

Show me this photo and I can tell you exactly where you are …

Today’s smartphones are equipped with a GPS camera connection. Did you know that when your child snaps a photo from his cellphone and places it on the Net, it indicates the exact GPS location of where he is? A single image can inform people about your child’s habits, such as places he visits, the school he attends, the
location of his home, etc. In order to ensure his personal safety, please deactivate the GPS on his phone.