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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Mobile phones seem to be like a vital organ for most teens today. Since it is almost impossible to stop teens from using them, the next best step is to help them use these devices responsibly. Teens have lost their lives simply because they failed to follow safety rules while using mobile phones.

Keeping Safe Online

With over 75 percent of teens owning mobile phones, being safe online is no longer restricted just to logging on to a PC. Most kids visit Facebook and other social media sites using their mobile phones to upload pictures. It is important for them to pay attention to social media safety. Some ways to remain safe when using social media include:

  • Avoid uploading too much personal information: Data such as full date of birth, address, telephone number, email and parents’ information can sometimes fall into the wrong hands.
  • Learn to use privacy settings: To protect and limit who can see pictures and other information, making use of privacy settings on sites such as Facebook should be the norm.
  • Gain a full understanding of apps and features before using them: One app/service that should be used sparingly if at all, is the location feature. This is a neat app, but do you want everyone know your exact location?
  • Remember that not everything should be posted online: The temptation often exists to post everything, but teens should be taught to think before uploading.

Following any of the rules above can help to lower the risk of identity theft. It also minimizes the chances of someone harassing someone online or worse, visiting a teen at school or home. Cyber-bullying is real and in some cases has led to suicides, so practicing safe mobile use is important.

How to Practice Mobile Safety Tips

Mobiles phones can be easily stolen or lost, so using a password is important since they store so much personal information. If a password keeper is used, the password to open this should be difficult to crack. Other worthwhile tips for mobile safety include:

  • Never text while driving
  • Do not take pictures that you would not want everyone to see, such as those of a sexual nature
  • Do not indulge in sexting, that is sending sexual texts or images
  • It is best to not respond to text messages from numbers or people you do not know
  • Learning how to block numbers is an important step

With the verdict still out as to any health implications to using cell phones, it is best if teens follow these safety rules:

  • Buy cell phones with low Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). They need to ask the seller or do the research to find the best instruments with the lowest SAR
  • Try to decrease the transmission of electro-magnetic radiation by using a hands-free device, the speaker (if in a private place) or hold the instrument at least 2 inches away from the ear
  • Keep the keypad towards the body when carried in your pocket as this will minimize contact with the radiation transmitting antennae
  • It is best to avoid sleeping with a cell phone close to the head

Part of teaching teens to be responsible cell phone users is to teach them how to choose the best cell phone plans. Parents also have to help teens understand the risks of mobile phones and the responsibilities that come with them.