How to Have "The Talk" About Cell Phone Safety
Parents, you may be dreading the day when you have to have "the talk" with your kids about sex, but there's another important conversation you must have with teens, and fortunately, it's a lot less awkward. Today, many children and adolescents use smart phones, and while they can be great tools for keeping in touch with friends and family, they can also be harmful if kids don't know how to use them smartly and safely. If you have yet to have this version of "the talk," here are some tips.
How to bring up the discussion
The best time to bring up smart phone safety with your kids is when you first give them a phone of their own. As you're showing them how it works, you can easily transition into the discussion of protecting mobile privacy. If you have already given your child a cell phone, and haven't brought up the topic, then you'll want to do so sooner rather than later. There are plenty of examples of internet bullying or cell phone privacy invasions in the news, so you can use one of these topics as a springboard.
Where to do your research
Let's face it, sometimes young people know more about phones than their parents do. You may find that as you're showing your kid the features and functions that can enhance mobile security on her phone, she teaches you a thing or two about the technology.
You can be better prepared for this discussion by doing some research. The Cyberbullying Research Center has several great resources about issues that may crop up for your youngster. You can also find out more about how young people use mobile technology by visiting SafetyWeb.com or SafeKids.com.
Touching on tough topics
Some points that you'll have to bring up may be a bit uncomfortable for both you and your kids. For instance, parents of teenagers may want to discuss the dangers of sharing photos or romantic messages with others through a mobile device. For such topics, the best approach is to be straightforward, honest, and understanding. Avoid an accusatory tone and listen to what your kids have to say. If things get too uncomfortable, leave the conversation for another day, or provide your child with information so he can do research on his own.
While talking to your children about their phones may seem awkward at times, it's a necessity. You cannot control their mobile privacy by yourself, so giving your teens tips to make smart decisions with their cell phone is important.