Nearly 20 percent of third graders now have cellphones. As kids use their phones to play games, connect on social media sites, and text friends, parents play a key role in their child’s mobile safety. Not only is Child Safety Month a great reminder for parents to talk to their kids about mobile safety, it’s also an opportunity to review the tools and resources wireless providers offer to help parents manage and monitor their families’ wireless lives.
From 2009 to 2011, the number of U.S. kids and teens playing mobile games increased from 8 percent to 38 percent. With mobile gaming on the rise, parents can make sure their kids have access to age-appropriate mobile games with the help of rating systems and restrictions. Tools such as Content Filters allow parents to set age restrictions such as Children 7+, Teens 13+ and Young Adults 17+ for games as well as videos and websites.
Additionally, social media and networking websites are frequently visited by teens, with 76 percent of them accessing these sites. Parents can set allowances for data usage on smartphones and tablets through services such as Usage Controls, so kids who spend a lot of time looking at pictures on Facebook or watching video on YouTube don’t exceed their data plan allowance.
Texting continues to gain popularity as the volume among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts just last year. Through tools such as Usage Alerts, parents can set limits on who and when their kids text. Parents looking to curb their children’s texting might set time periods, such as during school or at bedtime. And, if parents are concerned about whom their child can or cannot text, they can mark certain phone numbers as either trusted or blocked contacts.
With 58 percent of teens saying that their parents have the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate and inappropriate when using a smartphone or going online, there’s no better time than Child Safety Month for parents to talk to their kids about mobile safety.