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My Child is Demanding Latest Mobile Phone

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 12 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
My Child Is Demanding Latest Mobile Phone

Skilled in the art of ‘pester power’ most children manage to wheedle the current ‘must-have’ item out of their parents in the end, but what if the latest mobile phones present a serious danger to your child?

Must-Have Mobile Phones

Fitting in and keeping up with your peers is an important part of growing up. If a game, a gadget or an accessory becomes a playground hit then every kid has to have one. At that age it’s not about asserting your own identity but staying true to a common one. Beyond their price tag, most ‘must-haves’ shouldn’t present too much of a worry for parents. However, the recent must-have gadget is different, because it is not designed for children.

Parents that give in to pester power need to be aware of the threat that although there are considerable safety benefits to their child owning a mobile phone, there are many more safety concerns. Through their mobiles they can, for instance, be exposed to bullying, disturbing and explicit images, gambling, predators and rip-off schemes.

The Advancing Technology of Mobile Phones

Mobile technology is advancing at an alarming rate. As much as these developments are exciting and positive, they are also difficult for many parents to keep up with, and so often they just buy their kids the latest model and leave them to it. But what they might not completely comprehend is the level of sophistication that mobile phones have now reached, and the increased level of danger this entails.

Kids are no longer restricted to just exchanging text messages, messing with their ringtones and making the occasional call, they can now send and receive pictures and videos, download music and film and even surf that anarchic free-for-all - the world wide web.

The Dangers of Mobile Web Access

When the web first became available to mainstream mobile users via the third generation, or 3G, mobile phones, there was a public outcry about the enormous safety risks this would present. A survey at the time revealed that nearly three out of four parents believed their children could be endangered by the new web-surfing phone.

Parents are worried that their children could easily stray onto websites of an explicit adult nature or onto ones that encourage gambling. Even more disturbing is the increased threat of paedophiles using the phone technology to ‘groom’ children for abuse over the web.

Claims by the mobile phone industry that they would be able to police their improper use through its voluntary code of conduct have proved largely unconvincing. Almost four out of five parents feared that the technology would make it pretty much impossible to supervise and support children who surf the web.

The ‘latest model’ might be a thrilling prospect to a child but for a parent it has wholly different and disturbing connotations. But if parents are willing to allow their child to own a mobile phone then how can they ease their anxiety about these ever more advanced and hazardous models?

Keeping Watch on your Children and their Mobile Phones

Technological equipment innovators may have created ever more mind-boggling gadgetry but their brilliance has largely tip-toed around the creation of similarly sophisticated safety measures. It is left to the parent to try to keep tabs on what their child is up to.

One way of doing this is to apply for dual access to their child’s accounts. This means they can keep an eye on the accounts held by the mobile provider, such as numbers called, account balances, and what services are available on the phone. Nevertheless the parent shouldn’t limited themselves to secretly observing their child’s behaviour waiting for something to go wrong, but instead pre-empt danger by taking an active interest in their mobile pursuits.

For instance, it is important it is vital that every parent talks with their child about why it is imperative that they never give out any personal information on the Internet, such as anything that could help a stranger identify them, where they live or what school they go to. Children should be made to think carefully before they send out images of themselves to others, as digital pictures can easily fall into the wrong hands, and end manipulated or put onto inappropriate websites.

Also if a parent is worried that their child is receiving bullying, abusive or harassing messages, then it is vital that they talk to them about it.

Rather than seeing the latest mobile equipment as just another harmless toy that will keep a child amused until the next one comes along, it is crucial that it is treated with the respect and care that any powerful device aimed primarily at adults should warrant.

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