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Interact with Tact with these Smartphone Tips!
Is your son or daughter among the many youth begging for a smartphone
this holiday season? And are you among the many parents considering the
Smartphones certainly have their advantages. The number one reason
parents cite for purchasing their child’s first cellphone is that it
provides location tracking and makes it easier to communicate with
their son or daughter. Children however typically want a smartphone for
the ability to connect with friends, download their favorite music and
apps, and access social media sites.
While there is no magic age in which children are ready for their first
smartphone, 73 percent of teens either “own” one or have access to one.
Therefore, ready or not, it’s a good idea to talk about what is
acceptable and unacceptable smartphone behavior.
Youth are impulsive by nature, and that can get them into trouble when
it comes to sending messages or using social media on their always
handy cellphones. Children must fully understand that once they send a
text or post something online, it is out there for all to see, and they
cannot take it back. Even if a message or photo is intended for one
person only, they must assume others may see it. And those “others” may
include someone’s parent, grandparent, a teacher or coach – which can
lead to extreme embarrassment, hurt or even school or team
Children must be taught to think before reaching into their back pocket
to haphazardly text, tweet, snap, post or partake in whatever new tech
craze pops up. In general, if a comment is not okay to say to a person
face-to-face, then is it not okay to type it behind the “security” of
their handheld computer screen.
While such information may seem very basic and simple common sense, you
shouldn’t assume your child has heard it before, unless they’ve heard
it from you. Plus, they can only benefit from hearing it again.
The Federal Trade Commission shares the following tips to help children
Interact with Tact:
• Politeness Counts: Quick comments or texts can lead to
misunderstandings. Before sending a message out, read it a second time
and think about how it may be interpreted.
• Digital Body Language Matters: How you type it can be just as
important as what you type. ALL CAPS, bolded fonts and multiple
exclamation points are all viewed as shouting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Send Group Messages with Care: Think about who really needs to see
your message before including every “friend” you know. When replying to
a group chat, consider the feelings of all who will be seeing your
response. And if you choose to reply to just one person, double-check
that you’re not in fact replying to the whole group.
• Do NOT Impersonate: Creating fake accounts in order to send anonymous
messages or making it look as if a comment or post has come from
someone else is wrong and can be extremely hurtful.
• Do NOT Bully or Stand for Other People Bullying: This goes for on and
offline. Treat others the way you want to be treated – with kindness
and understanding. If online bullying occurs and your efforts of
blocking them or telling them to stop doesn’t end it, save the evidence
and ask for help from a trusted adult.
A cellphone can be both helpful for you and fun for your child when
used appropriately and in a positive manner. However, this technology
has disadvantages, too. In a future story, we will look at some of the
ways smartphone use can lead to hurt, harm and potentially risky
behaviors, and what you, as a parent, can do to set a positive example
and keep life online in check for your child.
Learn how to get the conversation started at StartTalking.Ohio.Gov.