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Mobile Safety Canadian Center for Child Protection
Mobile Phone Technology

Before Your Child Uses a Mobile Phone

This information is designed to help you and your child have a positive user experience with mobile technology. Consider having a discussion with your child about the following points prior to him/her using a cell phone for the first time:

  1. Create an agreement: An early discussion about how you want your child to use his/her cell phone may help you avoid any surprises when you receive the first bill.
  2. Bluetooth: Most phones now come with equipped with Bluetooth technology. If this feature is enabled, another Bluetooth phone in the area could detect your child's phone and use this to send unwanted messages. We recommend disabling this feature on your child's phone.
  3. Internet browsing: Most cell phones have the ability to connect to the Internet.
  4. Camera/video Capability: All cell phones now come equipped with built-in cameras (or video recorders). A significant issue among youth today deals with the exchange of nude imagery ("sexting"). Not only it is illegal to exchange nude pictures when you are under 18, it may also result in your child's image circulating on the Internet. Education on this issue is critical to avoid some of the pitfalls that come with this type of mobile technology.
  5. Short Codes: Be aware that when your child uses short codes, you will be charged. This can range anywhere from 50 cents to 10 dollars. You may be able to disable this option on the device itself or at the carrier level (tell your carrier that you don't want your child to be able to SMS to short codes).
  6. Text/Photo/Video Messaging: 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.
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