Cell Phones and Kids Part 3

The following is the third of three parts  from Technology Safety Through the Eyes of Faith, www.faithandsafety.org, a resource guide brought to you by a collaboration between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and an attempt to give you some simple, straightforward advice and tools on how to navigate this digital world with your family.  PART ONE. PART TWO.

Parental Controls for the iPhone and Android

Provider-based controls won’t work on the iPhone and Android phones. You’ll need to either settle for the built-in parental control options on the device itself, which are not very flexible, or use some of the parental control apps available for the iPhone and Andriod. If you need more extensive parental control options then look at SafeEyes mobile at www.Internetsafety.com or Mobicip at: www.mobicip.com.

Cell Phones Made Just for Kids

If you just want a cell phone made for kids, then the good news is that there are several options. If you currently have a cell phone plan with one of the major carriers, contact them about their kid-friendly phone offerings. Sprint and T-Mobile have specific plans for kids while Verizon and AT&T have lackluster offerings.

Good options for parents are Kajeet (www.kajeet.com) and FireFly Mobile (www.fireflymobile.com). These two companies offer a nice selection of kid-friendly cell phones and plans with parents in mind. You can block unwanted calls, set time limits for phone usage, prevent access to web sites, set school-accepted usage limits, and find your child with the built-in GPS feature. Evaluate the offerings of both companies and your cell carrier to see which one has the best solution for you and your family.

Family Discussion Starters

When you get a child a cell phone, you probably do so for increased safety and reliable communication. Your child likely sees their new cell phone a gateway to social communication with their friends or as an exciting new toy. They may not understand the implications of some of the new capabilities in their hands. It’s important to set expectations and help your child understand that some of those “cool” features (like texting or song downloads) may end up costing you a lot of extra money on your monthly bill. Here are some questions to get the dialogue started.

What is the reason for you getting a cell phone?

What are some of the things that excite you most about your new phone? How do you plan to use it? What features do you love most? What are the right ways to behave with those features?

What are appropriate times to use your cell phone? What are some inappropriate times?

What are your school’s rules for appropriate and inappropriate cell phone usage?

Do you know that your cell phone costs money each month? What are some of the features your phone has that you think cost extra money each month?

Should you let your friends use your phone if they ask?

SOURCE  Cell Phones and Kids

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The Department of Internet Ministries is responsible for identifying, leveraging, and developing technologies appropriate for Orthodox Christian digital ministry.

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