It’s Wireless Safety Week!

I know it’s Thursday, but this post is worth writing (not just for the week, but for the future period).  It’s Wireless Safety Week!

With the recent insanity over the iPhone 4 and the release of Verizon’s Kin (the ultimate social networking phone), it’s quite apparent that cell phones are very important to our culture.  Kids are usually never without their cell phones, constantly texting and keeping in touch with their friends.

Texting can be fun, but it can also lead to trouble.  “Sexting” (sending texts of a sexual nature) has become very popular among teens as well as text-bullying.  The most dangerous of the latest texting trends is texting while driving, which is responsible for more and more accidents each year.

What can we do to educate the youth (and ourselves) about proper safety when using cell phones?  MetroPCS teamed up with Dr. Ruth Peters, a renowned child psychologist and Today Show contributor, to come up with some tips on how to help teens enrich their knowledge on wireless safety:

  1. Put it in writing.  Make a contract with your teen that outlines their usage on the cell phone.  Include what hours of usage are allowed, acceptable behavior and what the consequences are for breaking these rules.  Have your teen sign the contract (much line you do when you sign for the plan) and refer to it if a rule is broken.
  2. Monitor your teen’s phone.   Your teen may protest that you’re invading their privacy, but it’s your right as a parent to check their cell phone content.  You have the right to know if your teen is at risk.  If your teen knows you’ll periodically check, they’ll be less likely to behave inappropriately.
  3. Keep your cool.  If you see language or content that shocks you, please don’t have a knee-jerk reaction.  Have a calm discussion with your teen on how you feel the way you do.  Remind them that sexting can have consequences- if images find their way online, anyone can have access to them.
  4. Be aware.  Keep your eye out for signs that your teen might be getting harassed at school- like uncommon nervous or distracted behavior, falling grades or attempts to avoid school.  Text-bullying can take place 24/7, so if the teen is in fact under attack, it may be in his or her best interests for you to restrict usage (or take away the phone) until the situation is resolved.
  5. Stop the flow.  With everyone at your teen’s finger tips, try to encourage your teen not to forward messages or images that can get them into trouble.  Encourage them to be part of the solution, not the problem by deleting bully texts or nude images.

I hope these tips are helpful!  Remember, when you’re driving, put the cell phone down.  No text is worth your life!  Be safe!