Tech-Savvy Daddy: Cell Phone Safety for Teens
While cell phones bring a certain level of security, there are also dangers that parents and teens need to be aware of. Make sure you talk to your teens about the following safety concerns:
- Never use the cell phone while driving. The Pew Research Center found that 34% of 16- and 17-year-olds with text-message capability on their phones have texted while driving. 52% of 16- and 17-year-olds have talked on the cell phone while driving. Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in many states, but even if it’s not, make it a rule for your family. Cell phone distractions cause thousands of deaths every year – don’t risk it.
- Friends don’t let friends text while driving. 48% of teenagers say they have been in a car while the driver was texting. 40% say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. Your teen needs to have the courage to tell their friends to put the phone down while they’re driving – it could save lives.
- Protect yourself – don’t send inappropriate texts. 4% of teens admit to sending a suggestive or nude photo of themselves to someone and 15% say they’ve received such images. As a parent, you need to have a candid conversation with your teen about the dangers of “sexting.” Make sure they know they can always talk to you openly if they receive a text that makes them uncomfortable.
- Parental limitations help. The Pew Research Center found that limiting a teen’s text messaging can lead to teens being less likely to regret a text they sent, to send sexually suggestive images by text, or to be passengers in cars where the driver texts or uses the phone dangerously. Your teens might balk at some restraints on their cellular freedom, but it’s for their good.