Children are getting cell phones at a younger and younger age. One of the reasons behind this is that it makes it easier for parents to keep in contact with their children. There are also many child-friendly options that parents can choose to add on to their cell phone plans for a small fee from the major cell phone companies that it makes the transition even easier. The lack of telephones or restricted use of telephones at schools and activity centers also promote the need for a cell phone so children can call home easily.
Some parental controls available by the major carriers include picture and video text blocking, blocking unknown or specific phone numbers, time limits for when or how long the child can use the phone to make calls or send text messages, filtered web browsing or app blocking, locking the camera feature, and GPS tracking. Here, on this link, is a detailed list of what the different cell phone companies offer along with the cost.
Positive Features of Cell Phone Controls
Many of these features allow children to have set guidelines of how they can use the cell phone. They are used to help protect children. This way they can use it for the intended purpose of keeping in contact with their parents and friends in a positive manner.
Being able to block photo and video texts, along with the camera feature can prevent children from being bullied or being the bully. The filtered web browsing feature can be used so that younger children, when searching the web, will not see any material intended for an 18+ year old audience. Providing time limits for cell phone use can help to keep the child within the minute allotment of the plan along with providing a structured amount of time that the child can use the device. The GPS tracking can offer parents peace of mind by having the cell phone carrier text the child’s location or by being able to log into a website to monitor the child’s location. This feature has even been used by the police to help find lost or kidnapped children. It can also be used to locate a lost cell phone.
Negative Features of Cell Phone Controls
While all of these features look like great options for parents to utilize with their child’s cell phone, it may not always have a positive effect and may cause a backlash from the child. For any type of block, there is always a solution for a child to get around that block. For example, blocking an unwanted phone number of a perceived negative friend may just push the child to use another phone or cell phone to contact that individual. Blocking all of the features on their phone may not prevent them from doing bad things or receiving bad things. It may cause them to be even more curious and push the envelope further.
It may not be necessary to use the resources that are offered by the cell phone companies, however having set rules with children about how and when they can use their cell phone is a must. Setting these acceptability standards will help children to become accountable and responsible for their use on the cell phone. In the end it is the parents decision how to establish rules that will help their children to grow up safe and be successful in life.
Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont
Picture By Azureon2
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