Snow Day

January 27, 2009

by Carol Politi

I woke up this morning to the first snow day of the year.  My kids were thrilled and immediately tasked me with finding all the sleds, snowboards, etc. before I was allowed to leave for the office.

In the middle of all this I suddenly thought about kajeet calendars and thought it might be a good idea to put out a reminder on how to set exception days.

If you are a kajeet customer, you know we allow you to set up calendar blocks that make sure the phone cannot be used during certain hours – like school hours.  Most parents put their own numbers (and other emergency numbers) in as “always allowed” numbers which means these are not impacted by the block.

If you also want to make sure your kid can call their friends on a snow day you just need to add the day as an exception and it will override any calendar block you may have set.  To do this simply go to the TimeManager, click on “exception days”, and put in the override dates.  This works for snow days, vacation days, etc.

Let’s hope there is school tomorrow!

Inkheart

January 9, 2009

by Carol Politi

Recently I blogged about promoting books on cell phones – tweens are a tough group to reach when it comes to reading and it was intriguing to think about reaching them through their cell phones.

We are at it again. Inkheart is a best selling book series by Cornelia Funke. The story is about a dad (“Mo” Folchart) and his daughter Meggie who bring characters from books alive. Every time they bring a character to live, a real person disappears into the book pages. The books have a good dose of excitement and a bit of an edge to them. Common Sense Media calls the first book “a rousing adventure” in their review.  The Inkheart movie launches on January 23rd, so we launched a “read the book before the movie” internet page on kajeet phones to encourage kids to read the book.

Going to the movie might be a great reward for reading the book. Does that work? Let me know what you think.

by Carol Politi

I’ve seen more and more articles recently addressing bullying by cell phones and thought it might be useful to highlight the resources available for parents on this topic.  The statistics are sobering and this topic does merit some careful thinking so we can be prepared in case our kids encounter bullying – on cell phones or in other on-line forums.

A great site addressing overall cyber bullying is the Stop Bullying Now site run by the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Cell phones are viewed as a subset of overall electronic activity by kids and bullying via electronic means is often called Cyber Bullying.

The first course of action recommended by most experts is to have a conversation with your child about cell phone safety before you give them a cell phone.  Many parents establish cell phone contracts with their child when they get their first cell phone.  This is a great vehicle to help start a conversation on the topic of the responsibility that goes with a cell phone.  It also provides a good opportunity to talk about what to do if bullied.  I like the cell phone contract on the “On Youth and Teens Today” site run by Vanessa Van Petten (this is a site written from a kid’s point of view).  And the Stop Bullying Now site has a tips sheet for kids called “What to do if I’m Bullied” that is very useful.

As a kajeet customer, you have a number of tools that will help you deal with bullying.  First, you can block calls and text messages from/to identified numbers – just login to kajeet.com and go to “Configurator”, “Contact Manager”, and input the number.  Select “no” for “allow calls and text”. This will ensure that no calls or texts come from the number in question.  In the same section of the site we offer the kajeet Feature Manager that lets you turn on and off features on the phone.  For example, you can turn off picture messaging and Instant Messaging in this section.

You can also review with your child the calls and messages they are getting each month.  We offer a detailed on-line account activity review that shows each call, text, and picture message the phone has sent and received.  This is a great way to start a conversation and perhaps get a heads up on any potential issues in case your child has not initiated the conversation themselves.

Do you have experience with this topic?  If so please comment and let us know what tools you found useful and what recommendations you might provide.

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