February 17, 2010
by Carol Politi
YouTube has introduced a Safety Mode that filters “objectionable content” prior to display on your browser. This setting will ensure that content that does not meet YouTube Community Guidelines (e.g., content that includes nudity, graphic violence, animal abuse, narcotics), and comments that include such content, are blocked.
You can turn Safety Mode ON by scrolling to the bottom of the YouTube page and clicking on the Safety Mode link. This will bring up a menu that allows you to turn Safety Mode On or Off. If you are logged into Google or YouTube you will also see an option in that same spot on the page that allows you to lock this setting in place for the browser you are using. See the YouTube Safety Mode video for more information on how to configure this setting.
Safety Mode is similar to the Safe Search mode you might be familiar with using on the Google Web and Image Search pages. Note that you must set this up for each browser – so if you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc. on the same machine – you must set this up separately for each instance of each browser in order for it to be effective.
There are ways around this: the configuration is cookie based, your child can download a new browser (these are free and it is easy to do), etc. While not perfect, it is a giant step in the right direction and an important setting for parents with kids that love YouTube.
Have you tried Safety Mode? How is it working for you? Comment here and let us know.
February 12, 2010
by Carol Politi
Discovery Girls Magazine is running a great contest for mothers and daughters - with an opportunity to win a trip to New York City! (It actually includes two round trip airline tickets, hotel for a night, a photo shoot with your daughter – and a feature on the back cover of Discovery Girls magazine).
I love the entry requirements for this contest. From their site: “You and your mom must each tell us why your relationship is special. What do you do that’s different and extra-special to keep your relationship close and loving? Tell us your secret! We want details!”
Fun & a great opportunity to talk - and to have fun making a video – with your daughter.
In the meantime, if you are a mom of a tween girl, take a look at the Discovery Girls magazine and website – and their companion Discover Your Daughter site. These sites are dedicated to helping girls and their moms navigate through the tween and young teen years. Discover your Daughter has a great article on managing technology use called “Is Your Daughter Addicted To Technology”. This is a great read given the recent news from the Kaiser Family Foundation study that discussed kids media use (7 hours and 38 minutes a day on average!).
December 30, 2009
By Daniel Neal
When we started kajeet a few years ago, we were grateful simply to have the opportunity to pursue our dreams of creating the very best mobile services for kids and their families. We owe many people a great debt for this opportunity. We deeply thank them all.
Now that kajeet has been a reality for just over 2 years, we have many other things to be thankful for: supportive investors, business partners who believe in us, the families who encourage us in our work and, most importantly, our customers.
We can never say it enough: thank you for your business and for placing your confidence in kajeet. You trust us to deliver critical communication services for your children, your families. With 2 children of my own, I know just how precious your trust in us is.
kajeet is a very young company. Many have experienced our exceptional product, rate plans and service. We’ve been recognized for what we’ve achieved. And I’m proud that, with your support, we’ve done so much so fast.
Still, we do make mistakes (and I can’t promise we’ll ever stop!). Providing a cell phone service – particularly one with unique parental controls and location services – is a notoriously complex business. When we do make mistakes, we’re grateful for those who point them out, and who are patient with us as we hustle to fix them.
Yes, we are grateful for every last bit of customer feedback, no matter how small, or how challenging to address. Our dialogue with our customers is precious. It encourages us to make our services better every day, which is the best way to make kajeet grow.
I’m personally grateful to work on a team that puts our customers first, and goes far above and beyond the call of duty to see that our customers are happy. Because your being a part of kajeet makes us happy. Your satisfaction – your happiness – means that our dream of providing the best and safest cell phone services for kids and families is coming true.
So, please continue the dialogue that helps us be better for you, for your family. And thank you for making the kajeet dream come true each day.
We at kajeet wish you and your family a joyous Holiday season, and a happy and healthy New Year.
December 2, 2009
by Carol Politi
The second known suicide resulting from Sexting - sending explicit pictures via a cell phone – happened this week in Florida. Many kids have been harmed by Sexting – something they originally thought was either funny or something that might make them more attractive turns into incessant bullying at school, reprimands by school officials, and even potentially legal trouble.
The number one reason for purchasing a first time cell phone is safety. Most parents purchase the phone as a way to ensure their child can get in touch with them in the event of an emergency, to coordinate timely and safe pick ups after events, and simply to ensure they can reach their child as they venture out more independently. However, cell phones are also tools for instant communications – tools that require careful education and that support communications methods for which not every kid is ready.
The smoothest cell phone experiences happen when parents and kids discuss the rules and responsibilities before that first cell phone gets used. Here are some tips that might help:
1. Establish a contract with your child before they use their phone. Work with your child to mutually establish guidelines for appropriate and safe use.
2. Decide proactively which services are allowed. It is possible, for example, to initially restrict or shut off picture messaging and let your child learn the power of instant communications first through text messaging. It might be helpful to review some of the news on Sexting to discuss why this might have happened and what could have been done differently.
3. Get agreement on the when the phone should be used. Decide whether it should be physically shut off during school and at night or whether a TimeManager block should be set up during these hours to prevent distractions. Should the phone be on or off during homework hours?
4. Decide what kind of periodic usage reviews should be held. Should you review and discuss usage once per week? Once per month? Will you and your child review the actual messages and pictures on the phone from time to time?
5. Finally, review how much the service costs, mutually agree on a budget for the phone, and decide who pays for what.
Putting a cell phone in a kid’s hand is the equivalent of giving them a small computer attached to a network! Safety tools are available – and one of the best tools might be talking with our kids to ensure they think through the possible impact of their decisions – especially when instant communications are involved.
How do you manage cell phone use in your home? Please comment here with your tips on safe cell phone use.
November 27, 2009
August 27, 2009
by Carol Politi
As you are populating your calendar with all the school activities for the fall, take a few minutes to add school blocks and holidays to the TimeManager for your kid’s kajeet phone (go to kajeet.com, Configurator, TimeManager to do this). You can block calls and messages during school hours and after certain times of night to make sure your kids focus on school and are not interrupted at night with texts or calls from friends. (Note that your emergency or “always allowed” numbers will get through a calendar block).
This is also a great time to get familiar with the kajeet.com site – especially Account Activity which gives you a detailed list of how the phone is being used at various times of day. It will let you know if your child is using picture messaging and whether it might be useful to do some coaching on cell phones and pictures. If you have a teen that is driving, you can check Account Activity to make sure the phone is not being used while your teen is driving.
Good luck with back to school!
April 30, 2009
by Carol Politi
The topic of Sexting – sending inappropriate photographs digitally via a child’s cell phone – is becoming a dominant concern for more and more parents. We are seeing heightened interest in what our customers can do to safeguard their kids against the embarrassment and perhaps even legal issues related to Sexting.
Why this concern? Fox 59 just did a special report on this topic, and one quote in this report jumps off the page. “In a recent national study nearly 40% of teenagers said they had sent sexually suggestive texts or pictures of themselves to other minors.” Statistics such as this one are frightening and push the topic of Sexting on the radar of almost every parent. The Fox report mentions kajeet and describes the features we provide to help parents ensure children use their cell phones safely.
The Fox report could be a good thing to share with your tween or young teen to inspire a conversation around the topic of Sexting. It could be worthwhile to find out if they know kids in their school sending inappropriate pictures, to discuss what kind of picture and text messages are appropriate, and to find out if they are aware of how pictures and texts can move from the telephone to the internet in seconds. Please comment and let us know how you are addressing this topic with your children and whether they feel it is an issue in their schools.
April 1, 2009
by Carol Politi
I love getting notes from kajeet parents and, where they approve, thought I’d start posting some of them here for others to share. Here is a note we received from a recent customer about her experience with kajeet:
“I hope this will get into the right department. I want to thank you for such a wonderful service that you provide. I have seen your ads for a long time, but it appeared that your services were geared more for small children. I responded to a search for unlimited texting, and kajeet came up. I soon discovered that the phones are appealing to kids of all ages, even my fussy teen, and the parental controls are a god send. We have been customers for a little less than a month, but I am so happy with the ease of use, and full protection I am getting. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so happy that my teenage daughter and I can both agree on one phone and service. I have been telling all of my friends about you. Please keep up the good work. You have ended one big point of contention and worry in our house. Thank you again. I hope your company lives long, and prospers. You are doing a very good thing, and you may even save a life, by making them safer.” We received this mail from Rhonda, a kajeet parent.
Thanks for your feedback Rhonda, and thank you for being a kajeet customer. Please continue to tell us when we are doing things right and when we make mistakes. Your feedback helps us to improve our service – and feedback like this makes the entire kajeet team feel great about the work we are doing!
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?