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Wise Use of Cell Phones and Social Networking

Wise Use of Cell Phones and Social Networking

As more advanced cellular software, texting and social networking has become ‘the thing to do’ for children and teens there has been a marked rise in the misuse of these services.

Examples of Cyberbullying

Adults Must Model and Teach Wise Use of Cell Phones

  • Harassment…this is generally viewed as repetitive offensive messages sent to a target or victim.
  • Outing.. sharing personal, often embarrassing information with others.  This is like gossip in real life, but much more hurtful because it can be posted so many more people see and comment on private information.
  • Flaming…a brief, heated exchange in a public setting, such as chat rooms or discussion groups.
  • Cyberstalking…this is the use of electronic communications which is repetitive harassing threats.

Cyberbullying Help

Parents need to discuss internet safety with their children ongoing.  Children need to understand that embarrassing others in person or online is not tolerated or acceptable behavior.

Kids can be very cruel. When they are not using body language or non-verbal communication, it is easy to get much more graphic and a lot more hurtful.

Young people can quickly type into a phone and instantly send their message out to everyone on their telephone contact list.

In a matter of seconds someone’s reputation can be ruined. That may only be part of the problem. There are cases where situations have gotten so bad that children have taken drastic measures such as lashing out at a bully, or even taking their frustration out on themselves.

Several suicides have been reported as a result of cyberbullying.

How Do You Stop Something Like This From Happening?

How do you keep your child from adding fuel to the fire and causing problems for other children?

One of the first things parents need to do is assess whether their child is mature enough to use a cell phone without supervision. Many cellular providers offer a service for parents reporting what has been texted and to whom. This can be a valuable tool for parents and caregivers.

Keep Lines of Communication Open With Kids

The best way to prevent your child from getting mixed up with this type of bullying is to talk to them. Explain the dangers that come with texting hurtful things.

What if your child is on the receiving end? You can encourage them to tell you, and in turn you need to be there from them as they work through it. If the situation gets bad enough you may even consider speaking with the authorities.

By carefully monitoring what our children do with their cell phones, we can prevent situations from escalating and getting out of hand.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Is my child mature enough to handle a cell phone which allows them access to text messaging?
  • What would I do if I found out my child was sending harassing texts?
  • What would I do if my child was on the receiving end of harassing texts?
  • How will I monitor what my child is doing with his or her cell phone?

Teach and model good behavior online and with other people. Respect and kindness is the basis for healthy relationships and happy lives.  You can do it. I have confidence in you.

Judy Helm Wright, author and speaker on family relationship issues

Article written by

Judy is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including care giving. Trained as a ready to learn consultant, she works with Head Start organizations and child care resource centers.


One Response to “Wise Use of Cell Phones and Social Networking”

  1. Michelle Shaeffer Says:

    Good tips, Judy. We have such an important job to do as parents to protect our children and the children around us.