Communicating via cellphone

Introduction: Our young people love their cellphones, and will probably not know a world without them. Again, appropriate communication and conduct is a must.

If you want to know what young people are using their mobile phones for, go to A study on American teens show how many are using them to go online, texting and access social media sites. Most popular is taking and sharing pictures, followed by listening to music and playing games.

Text messaging is by far the most preferred method of reaching friends and text language has evolved into chat and instant messaging abbreviationsAre you up with the play, with text language and 'chat lingo'? Would you even know what messages your children are sending to each other via cellphone? Try interpreting the following @

Issues associated with cellphone use include inappropriate use of phones for sexting and texting which can lead to cyberbullying, damaged reputations and worse. "22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive." and 20-22% of young people have sent nude photos of themselves to others.

Sexting is when someone passes on inappropriate, embarrassing or sexual images/material of themselves to a friend or boyfriend. For a number of reasons this photo can then be passed on unknowingly to third party and so on. It is very easy to capture and share material on photo/video phones and this can spread instantaneously.

As mentioned a number of times through-out this module, Cyber bullying is a real concern, especially as young people want to 'fit in' with their peers and sometimes bullying others is seen as cool. Coupled with the fact that teens admit to acting differently (more aggressive, less concerned) than what they would in 'real life' means that kid-to-kid bullying through social technology is a real problem. Cyber bullying can happen via cellphone or online privately or publicly. For more on Cyberbullying for children, parents and educators, go to
Suggestion: As our children have more and more access to cellphones it is our duty to teach them how to use these appropriately. Start with getting familar with the Commonsense tips for Responsible text messaging. Ensure your child is well aware of sexting and become familiar with tips to help avoid your child sending any embarrassing or potentially harmful photos of themselves. Get familiar with Advice for Parents on sexting. Teach your child how to protect their reputation.

Keep an eye on out for any signs of cyber bullying and if there is, become familiar with ways you can address this. Be supportive and proactive, let them know you are there for them and that they're not going to be punished or have the technology taken away. Get them to talk to you. For more on mobile phone bullying and harassment, go to NetSafe's Parents & Caregivers - Mobile Phone Bullying and Harassment

Some parents may also be interested in Apple's 'anti-sexting' patent. The patent titled "Text-based communication control for personal communication device can - it promises to allow administrators -- or parents -- to set permission controls that could prevent children from sending and receiving explicit text messages, more commonly referred to as "sexting." For more on this, go to

Additional resources to consider

Microsoft and Sexting: Lessons Learned