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Mobile Safety Canadian Center for Child Protection
Know the Risks

Text /multi-media messaging

Cell phones are most commonly used by youth for sending text and media messages. Three areas that you should become familiar with include:

  1. Text messaging (SMS): these messages are typed on the keypad and exchanged between friends. These messages are stored on the phone until they are deleted. SMS is limited to 160 characters.
  2. Multi-media messaging (MMS): similar to text messaging, these messages also include photos, videos, or sounds along with the text message. MMS in unlimited for its text.
  3. Information messaging: these are message that are requested by your child and can include updates on celebrities, sports, etc.. These messages are often expensive and are a charge over and above normal text rates.

Some key risks involved with text/multi-media messaging:

  • Texts containing private, personal information could be sent to the wrong address
  • Texts containing personal information could be shared with other users and misused. Once the user sends the text, control is lost
  • A child/adolescent could receive harassing/unwanted texts/IMs, and/or spam text messages which could contain inappropriate material
  • Children/adolescents whose mobile phone does not feature unlimited messaging use could be racking up large bills without a parent's knowledge. Remember that MMS and information messages would fall outside of "free unlimited" texting offers - you will incur charges for these things
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