How to Prevent Sexting and Keep Your Kid Safe
Every day, we read the headlines and see stories about a new threat to children called sexting, the dangerous practice of sending and receiving inappropriate or explicit content via picture messaging, often on kids cell phones.
This is landing more kids than you might think into extremely embarrassing situations – and for some, even legal trouble. And sexting is impacting kids emotionally during middle school and high school, a time when many view their reputation with their peers to be the most important thing in the world to them. What can parents do to guide their kids toward responsible use of picture technology – both on the cell phone and online? Some ideas:
1. Set up a contract! If you are getting your child a new kajeet cell phone, use this as an opportunity to walk through the account controls and talk about appropriate use of the phone. Discuss whether they are ready to send pictures at the press of a button, or whether this function should be turned off for the phone. You might consider getting them to draft an agreement in writing discussing what pictures are appropriate to send and what pictures are not appropriate.
2. Monitor your kid's account. Even kids with what we might think is extremely good judgment sometimes make mistakes. If you have a kajeet cell phone, you can log into your account to view the phone account activity which shows every number to which picture messages are sent.
3. Consider viewing the pictures your kids are sending. There is nothing better than real time guidance about what’s appropriate. If you see your kid sent one or more picture messages, perhaps you can talk to them about sexting and ask them to show you the phone and the pictures that were sent.
4. Have them do some reading on the topic. Real kids are getting hurt every day by sending the wrong pictures, often to friends or boyfriends who think it is funny to share them around. A quick Google search on the topic will show up many, many articles that might be the reading required to drive this point home.
We find that every family has a different approach toward dealing with issues like this. Some families prefer kids cell phones without cameras. Others turn off picture messaging and just allow their kids to take pictures that remain on the phone. Still others prefer to make these services available, and to monitor and guide their use. At kajeet, we want to give you the parental controls required to make sure you can manage your kid’s cell phone service in the manner that works for your family.