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Mobile Safety Canadian Center for Child Protection
Know the Risks

Camera/video phones

Virtually every available phone comes equipped with a built-in camera, some of which are also able to record video. Photo/video capabilities of a mobile phone can't be disabled without sending the phone to a service centre. This technology comes with a unique set of risks to children/adolescents. Teaching children/adolescents to use camera/video phones responsibly is key to helping curb the risks associated with camera/video phone technology.

Some key risks involved with camera/video phones:

  • Photos/videos sent to other users can be reproduced, altered, or posted online without the subject's consent or knowledge
  • Photos/videos can disclose a user's appearance and location
  • Text messages containing photos or videos could be shared with other users
  • Camera/video phones can be used to photograph or videotape a subject without his/her knowledge
  • Some public facilities have banned camera/video phones—your child/adolescent taking a picture could be considered a crime

Passing notes in school has been replaced by snapping photos on cell phones and sharing them with friends—often involving nude shots.

Case Study
In April 2008, two students were expelled from a Wisconsin high school after they taped up pictures sent from a teenage girl's mobile phone. After the girl and her second boyfriend (one of the two expelled students) broke up, the two printed off naked pictures the girl had sent and posted them in the boy's locker room.

Case Study
In June of 2008, dozens of students' cell phones were confiscated in Santa Fe, Texas when nude photos of two junior high girls were being circulated to numerous classmates. The girls originally sent the compromising photos to their boyfriends who in turn forwarded them to others in the school.

What can parents do to reduce the risks associated with their child/adolescent's camera/video phone? Click here to find out.

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