Back to School: Are you giving your kids cell phones? Talked about sexting?

Aug 19, 2010 by

It’s back to school time.  For those of you with middle school and high school kids in particular, you’re likely sending your child off to school this fall with a cell phone.  Yes, and I’m sure as the age of getting a cell phone continues to drop, there are a good number of you also sending your older elementary kids to school with one, too.

I get this completely.  My kids all have phones and are ready to go back and fill up their phone books with new names and cell numbers. How exciting!

Words of Caution

Yes, you need to remind your children that using the phone during class is a big no-no.  Mine know I’m not going to pay $10-15 in the office to get their phone back if it gets taken up.

But just as important is a frank discussion with your kids about the dangers of sexting, or sending naked or exposed pictures of themselves to others.

The polls all show a rising number of children are doing this on a much more regular basis than most of us would like to even think about.  The news alerts are full daily of examples of someone getting arrested or punished for doing this–including their teachers.

Recommendations

One thing you might consider doing is just going to a store like Walmart and getting what James Bourne would call a “burner” phone. One of those pre-paid deals for about $29.95 that you change out the sim card for with your regular account, but the phone DOESN’T HAVE A CAMERA. (The camera linked here is a little more.  I went to the local store and got the phones.)  That won’t stop the receiving of dirty photos, but it will cut down on the chances that your kids are sending them of themselves.

Of course then there’s the whole age-old conversation about respect.

And then there’s the problem with sending a photo to a temporary “Love of my life” who gets mad in a week or two, breaks up, and in spite or anger, forwards what were once the prizes of this temporarily permanent relationship now ended.  These are the photos that every boy/girl in the school receives, that wind up on the Internet, etc.

Not to mention, that in many states, sending photos of naked or exposed minors is still a minor!

So as your kids get ready to head back to school and you begin your much needed fall vacation from your kids, an ounce of prevention might just help ensure that your break from the kids is smooth sailing.

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