Share a smile to your child even when you are thousands of miles apart…have a wave of hello when you are checking on him from work…enjoy two cameras in one phone – these are features that basically make the iPhone. A personal digital assistant with an address book, a calendar, a to-do-list organizer, a push e-mail mobile network service and Wi-Fi connectivity – enjoy all these with a Blackberry.
These exciting perks make these smartphone devices very much enticing to adults. Well, these same perks attract young ones as well. But before you buy these phones with all the advanced capabilities that they offer, practice the “Buyer Beware” warning. Why should you keep some things in mind before buying a smartphone for your teenager?
For one, there are online predators.
These are adult internet users who may exploit young and vulnerable people for the purpose of having sex or any abusive act. Your young ones may become a victim while using their iPhone or Blackberry smartphones. This is because of the tons of applications that can be explored using these devices.
What can be examples of what these online predators may do to prey on your child? There can be requests from these adults for your child to accept invitations not knowing that this will result to sexual activities. There is also that chance of exposure to sexual documents and photos. Threats and all forms of online harassment may also take place in this regard.
How alarming are online predators? Well, this can be answered by the results of the study made by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2006. The study covered a five year term.
- There is a 9% increase from 25% to 34% when it comes to exposure to unwanted sexual materials.
- Online harassment cases heightened by 3% from 6% to 9%.
- 40% of teenagers using the internet said that online predators were asking for nude photographs.
- 31% of cases showed that solicitations from online predators resulted to an attempt for offline contact with the teenager.
In another, there is sexting.
This is a primary concern for mobile users. Sexting, as defined, is the sending of messages or photographs (those that are sexually explicit in nature) from one mobile phone to another. The term was actually popularized in the year 2005.
Sexting became a concern for a lot of countries that have respective laws on anti-child pornography. The US gives charges both to the sender and the recipient of pornographic images through mobile phones. The charge is called distribution of child pornography in the case of the sender. In the case of the recipient, on the other hand, the charge is called possession of child pornography.
The sociology of sexting says that the latter is a result of the advanced technologies launched every now and then. Smartphone devices like the iPhone and Blackberry allow photograph and video distribution. In fact, these phones can capture clearer pictures and with iPhone’s Face Time technology, video calling is even possible.
Sexting is as alarming as the dangers brought about by online predators. Some studies showed proof to this:
- In the year 2008, Cosmogirl.com made a survey of 1,280 teenagers from both sexes. This was sponsored by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The study showed that 20% of teenagers aged 13 to 19 had sent semi-nude and nude photographs through electronic means while 39% of these teenagers also sent sexually explicit text messages to other mobile phone users.
- In a UK study of 2,094 teens aged 11 to 18, the researchers also found out that 38% received sexually offensive images using mobile phones and online means.
Now that you know facts about online predators and sexting, it is high time you get alarmed when it comes to buying your teenagers a smartphone device. You may always buy these gadgets if you have the means but make sure you have presented the risks of using such a device to your child.
This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.