As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m working on a campaign with AT&T and The Motherhood about mobile safety for kids of all ages. As a tech addict with 4 kids, this is a topic that is discussed in my house quite often.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but one of my goals of this blog is to show families how to use technology for good. You have to control the devices and not let the devices control you.
When I had the opportunity to learn from AT&T about mobile safety, I jumped on it. I attended 3 different webinars for 3 different age groups and I am going to share some of what I learned. I can’t fit all the fantastic info in one post, so you can go to the AT&T Family Mobile Safety site for tons more information.
Mobile Safety Ages 8 – 11
I have two kids in this age group, an 8-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. They have iPhones which do not have any phone service. They use the iPhones to play Minecraft, text with their friends and Facetime with friends and family.
- 2 out of 5 kids with mobile phones say their parents have not talked to them about staying safe & secure when using a mobile phone
- 31% of kids in this age group have a mobile phone
- This is the time parents should be educating and informing about mobile safety
- Consider whether your child needs a mobile phone at this age
- Do they need to be in touch with someone for safety reasons?
- Parents need to teach modern mobile etiquette to kids at this age.
- It’s important to model good mobile phone behavior.
- Encourage balance and make kids accountable.
Mobile Safety Ages 12 – 14
I have one daughter who is 13 and the iPhone is her life line. She uses it to communicate with her friends. She rarely talks on the phone. When you hear that teens are texting 3,000 texts/month, that sounds horrible, but you need to put it in perspective. I remember spending nights on the phone ALL NIGHT LONG when I was a teen. If I typed everything I said, I probably would have had 3,000 or more texts too.
- The average age kids receive a smartphone is 13.
- Over 1 in 5 kids have received a mean or bullying text message from another kid on their mobile phone.
- 69% have answered a call from an unknown number.
- 66% of kids say they have rules on their phone usage.
- The phone at this age is part of their identity and the center of their social universe.
- This is also the time when parents often get bill shock (I remember that well!)
- Kids at this age say the phone defines who they are.
- This is the time when you need to define the limits.
- It is important for parents to pay attention at this age. Many kids have had phones for a few years and parents may feel the kids know the rules now. It is important to remind them and be sure they understand the consequences.
Mobile Safety Ages 15 – 17
I have one son who is 16 and while the phone is not the center of his universe, it is very important to him. He gets a lot of his information from his phone. He does use texting most of the time to communicate with his friends, but being a boy, he doesn’t have as much to say as my daughter does.
- At this age the phone is a necessity and kids say the phone is part of their life.
- This is when parents begin to extend some freedoms with the mobile phone.
- Kid need to learn to monitor their time with the phone because in a few short years, they will be on their own.
- Both sexting and bullying are huge concerns in this age group.
- It’s important kids learn that everything they say and do has consequences.
- They must think before they text or post online.
- Parents must follow the rules they set down. If there are no phones at dinner, that should include parents.
- Remind kids that anything they do today can be used against them tomorrow.