Cell Phones and False Security

That the internet is fraught with hidden dangers is pretty much accepted these days. There's a growing awareness that we all need to be more careful about how, where and when our kids have access to the cyber world. I'm not saying we should shut it down, just that we need to be more careful and aware. Well the same thing goes for cell phones. Like computers and the web, users of this technology are becoming younger and younger. Many parents provide these devises as a kind of safety device. You can reach your kids and they can reach you whenever it is necessary or urgent. If they get into any trouble or danger they can quickly call for help. At least that's the theory. But my sense is that relying on cell phones falls very short of these expectations.

First it creates a false sense of security. Because they are wireless, can you every really know where your child is calling from? If they want to hide the truth, there's little to stop them from doing so. The second problem is that kids who rely on instant and constant communication have difficulty developing a sense of independence and self-reliance. They don't need to make their own decisions or find solutions to their own problems, all they need to do is call home to mom.

The biggest problem however is the whole notion of privacy. Like the internet, cell phones are becoming more prevalent in our daily lives and in the lives of our kids. Unfortunately, familiarity breeds complacency. With web-enabled phones equipped with cameras and video and text ability we need to be aware of the same dangers that apply to using a computer. Here's a case in point. And this story is another point to consider.

We need to educate our kids about safe and secure phone use. We need to carefully monitor their use. But most of all, we need to be aware.

No comments: