CELL PHONE SAFETY
Most teens today are comfortable with documenting their lives online. Posting photos, updating their status messages, sharing rapid-fire texts, and being a click away from friends are the new normal for teens. But this “always on” culture also creates an environment where teens can make impulsive decisions that can come back to haunt them.
One example of this has been in the news a lot lately: sexting. When people take and send sexually revealing picture of themselves or send sexually explicit messages via text message, it’s called “sexting.” Sending these pictures or messages is problematic enough, but the real challenge comes when this content is shared broadly.
As far too many teens have found out, the recipient of these messages is in possession of a highly compromising image or message that can be easily posted on a social networking site or sent to others via email or text. In a technology world where anything can be copied, sent, posted, and seen by huge audiences, there’s no such thing as being able to control information.
The intention doesn’t matter — even if a photo was taken and sent as a token of love, for example, the technology makes it possible for everyone to see your child’s most intimate self. In the hands of teens, when revealing photos are made public, the subject almost always ends up feeling humiliated. Furthermore, sending sexual images to minors is against the law, and some states have begun prosecuting kids for child pornography or felony obscenity.Technology can be very deceptive. To keep your children safe, it’s best to monitor their phone. Look through their apps, text and pictures. Our goal at HMS is to be supportive of our students and to our parents. (commonsensemedia.org)