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Mobile Safety Canadian Center for Child Protection
Safety Strategies

The 411 General Guidelines

The following are general guidelines to consider when discussing safe mobile use with your child:

  1. If your adolescent has voicemail, advise your child to not include his/her name in the greeting message.
  2. Remind your child not to answer the phone if the number that appears is not familiar to him/her. The same goes for texts.
  3. Remind your child that it is not possible to withhold a cell phone number when sending text messages, photos or videos. Messages that are sent and received from a mobile phone can be traced.
  4. Remind your child that sending nude photographs to others is illegal and may result in him/her getting in serious trouble. There are countless examples of photos being sent to a small group of friends that end up being seen by millions around the world on the Internet. It is important for them to understand how a picture could be misused by someone before they choose to send it.
  5. Empower your child and encourage them to be leaders by not forwarding negative messages or pictures they receive about someone else and to talk to share it with a safe adult if it includes a threat or naked images.
  6. Encourage your child to tell a safe adult if s/he receives anything inappropriate on her/his cell phone. Hold onto the message as the appropriate authorities may be able to trace it.
  7. Discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  8. Teach your child about boundaries and the relevance when sending and receiving messages or pictures. Discuss examples of respecting and breaking boundaries.
  9. Remind your child that if someone is bothering him/her, they can cut off communication at any time. S/he has control over that!
  10. Discuss the issue of spamming with your child and remind him/her not to respond to messages offering to sell things.
  11. Remind your child that ringtones, wallpapers, alerts, or texting short codes are charged at a premium rate. All of these activities should be discussed upfront so that you are not presented with a large cell phone bill.
  12. Your advice and guidance regarding your child's mobile use will need to adjust as s/he grows older.
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