Cell Phone Bullying – An Issue

January 8, 2009

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.

One Response to “Cell Phone Bullying – An Issue”

  1. When I was a kid, we had to worry about the neighborhood bully. Now kids have to worry about cell phone bullies? Kind of funny in a weird way. I do agree with sitting your kids down to discuss cell phone etiquette and for heaven’s sake, don’t let your 7 or 8 year have their own cell phone. Way too young. They have their whole life to be tied to electronic devices.

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