We live in a very disgusting and dangerous time.  I just read an article that addressed the fact that,”young”, boys are regularly asking young girls they meet online to send them naked photos of themselves.  Even more concerning is the fact that those young girls often comply!  Haven’t the parents of these girls warned them about online predators?  Don’t these kids realize that once their photos are sent, they could show up anywhere online?  Do these girls know that those photos could be used as blackmail against them to provide sexual favors, money or you name it?  I’m astonished.

It’s one thing to have a home computer or a computer for your child, because as a parent you can check to make sure your child isn’t engaging in dangerous behavior, but when you give a young person a smart phone, you’re just asking for it.  They can do just about anything they want with a smart phone and hide it, especially if it is encrypted.

There is no question a cell phone can be a life saver to report a dangerous situation, and to allow the parents to contact their children randomly as is prudent.  But that function can be performed easily with a simple flip-phone that does not have texting as an option — and no camera.

Where it comes to your children, you must always inspect for what you expect.  Don’t ever trust your children to always do what you tell them.  In fact, you can expect they will always push that envelope because they are Human Beings — just like you.

Young kids on smart phones have been, “bullied”, by other kids to the extent they’ve gone home and hanged themselves.  Physical bullying used to be something that usually only happened to young school-aged boys, but with the advent of smart phones, psychological bullying against young girls has been used against them extensively, and sometimes with tragic results.

If it can be abused, it will be abused, so my suggestion is to not allow your child to have a smart phone at all.  It will be a lot cheaper, too.  I don’t own a smart phone because I don’t need one.  In truth, most people don’t.  Instead, I pay a whopping $100.00 per year to recharge my ATT flip phone with 1,000 minutes, and I always have minutes left over at the end of the year.  I realize that’s asking a lot from a teen, who might exceed 1,000 minutes in short order — if you let them!

This smart phone phenomenon is potentially a very unhealthy situation, both physically and mentally.  Kids seem to immerse themselves into those gadgets day & night when they should be playing sports or engaging in recreational activities, and the only way you’re ever going to enforce compliance is don’t let your children have one.  They’ll still sneak around and use their friends’ smart phones when they can, but at least you won’t be handing your child’s future to some stranger on a silver platter.

Carl F. Worden

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