by Carol Politi
Some of the best feedback we receive at kajeet is from parents who share with us the details of how they work with their kids to ensure their cell phones are used safely and responsibly. We decided to go out to the experts in the TwitterMoms community to spur more moms to share their tips with other moms. Please join the contest here & share your experience with the community! We look forward to learning from you.
March 27, 2009
March 25, 2009
by Carol Politi
Every day we are hearing more and more about how kids are getting into trouble with the pictures they are sending to their friends on their cell phones. “Sexting”, if you are not familiar with the term, is the trend where teens are “using their cell phones and computers to send risqué photos of themselves.”
This is landing more kids than you might think in extremely embarrassing situations and even in 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 phone and on-line? Some ideas:
1. Set up a contract! If you are getting your child a new kajeet 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 kids account. Even kids with what we might think is extremely good judgment sometimes make mistakes. You can login into kajeet.com 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 phones without cameras (we offer that option!). Others turn off picture messaging and just allow their kids to take pictures that remain on the phone (to do this just go into the kajeet Feature Manager and turn Picture Messaging “Off”). Still others prefer to make these services available, and to monitor and guide their use. At kajeet we want to give you the tools required to make sure you can manage cell phone service in the manner that works for your family.
Have you had a discussion with your child on sexting? How are you managing the use of pictures in your family?
March 20, 2009
by Carol Politi
The SunSentinal had a great article recently called “Texting your teens to the family dinner table“. The article discusses more than text – it really addresses how to get kids engaged in the dinner time routine. I love the idea of getting kids involved with making dinner, and suggesting that they invite a friend over for dinner and study hour is also worth trying. They had some good ideas on how to integrate text communications in a way that could make dinner time involvement fun.
Some of these ideas might challenge parents that are not experienced texters. kajeet has a tool that can make it easy to text your kid’s kajeet phone. To text your kid from your computer, just login to MyKajeet and select “send a text message” from the dashboard (under “Phone” in your kid’s section of the dashboard).
I also recently found a a site called WuduPls that makes it easy to setup text reminders for your whole family. The site allows you to set up a list of numbers that you might want to text on a frequent basis – and allows you to write texts and schedule them for a later time.
Try texting your teen to dinner and let us know how it works out!
March 10, 2009
by Carol Politi
That was the unlikely title of a recent NPR podcast about the benefits of small periods of exercise for both kids and adults. One of the segments discussed how incorporating exercise in the classroom (by having kids stand when they read or do jumping jacks while practicing math) was showing positive benefits – especially for those kids that have difficulty staying on task.
I think most parents are proponents of more movement – both during and outside school hours. However, many parents struggle getting kids to move while they are at home because the kids want to be connected to their friends via apps on their computers. I extended the Club Penguin timer last night because my son had discovered yesterday that he could “find” his friend – and by the time he actually found him there was no time left to play with him. Given that his friend was next door and the two of them must have run about 2 miles in the find process by physically going back and forth between each others computers, extending it was actually upside when it came to inspiring exercise. But when he gets the hang of this is he going to want to stay tethered to the computer for hours?
Does the cell phone inspire kids to get outside by allowing them to be connected while they are mobile? If we enable what many of us consider to be the “optional” apps on our kids phones – Facebook, Twitter, etc – will kids be more comfortable leaving their computer and heading out to skateboard or ride their bike?
As with most things, there is no black and white here. On the plus side, when these apps are a mobile extension of on-line applications many of the safety settings and monitoring tools we have in place will work. However, much of the safety monitoring I do consists of watching my kid in the kitchen with his computer. Taking the apps mobile certainly raises the bar a bit. How do you approach monitoring of social applications while your child is mobile? Do you restrict them, have a tool that monitors the applications, or just use your eyes in the kitchen?
The other part of the NPR segment was about the benefits of small periods of exercise at the workplace. An untethered phone definitely makes this easier – we all might need to start pacing during calls!
March 6, 2009
by Carol Politi
The kajeet LG Rumor QWERTY keyboard phone has been extremely popular and it seems that it is expanding our customer base to include an even higher number of kids that love to text.
To respond to the needs of these more heavily texting teens (and their parents), we have launched a value package that includes unlimited texting combined with voice minutes. The offer on our website is $29.99 for unlimited text messaging and 300 talk minutes!
We are testing these unlimited value packages through the end of June to determine how parents and kids like them. If this offer is popular it (or some variation of it) may show up in our permanent rate plans. (Of course, if you purchase the offer you can remain on the plan even after the test period ends.)
Since this is a test offer, it shows up in the cart for new customers as they purchase the phone, however, it does not show up in the rate plan options for current kajeet customers. If you are a current kajeet customer that would like to take advantage of an unlimited value package please call kajeet customer care (1-866-452-5338) and they will be happy to help you!
While unlimited text may be a great value, many parents still want to limit texting so their kids get a good night sleep and are not distracted during certain times of the day. Note that kajeet parental controls still apply. If you would like to set a calendar block for your kid’s phone, log in to kajeet.com and go to “Configurator” and then “TimeManager”. You can also set an “Always Allowed” number so that certain numbers do get through during these calendar blocks.
Please let us know what you think of this type of unlimited value package option and whether you would like to see it become a permanent part of our rate plans.