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Category: Articles for Parents / Educators

CyberBullying: A Word for Parents

cyberbullying guide for parents

There was a time when bullying was something we all had to endure in school, on the bus, and hanging out with friends. It was always unpleasant. The next generation, our children, have an even worse type of bullying to deal with… and it’s so much more common than what we suffered!

About CyberBullying

Remember how frustrating it was in school when somebody was upset and reacted passive aggressively, usually by spreading a rumor? How the victim of a bully (maybe it was you, maybe it was one of your friends) would feel singled out, how hard it was to go to school and deal with the drama.

Your children deal with passive aggressive bullying all the time… because the internet brings out the passive aggressive in almost every young person. From shy kids to the straight forward, outspoken kid… cyberbullying can happen by accident. But as you remember about being the victim of a bully… the wounds never heal.

What’s even worse about cyberbullying is this. When a direct conflict among friends is resolved, you can forget and forgive the hurtful things that were said. However, you can never erase them from the internet.

With that in mind, it’s important to be very sensitive when talking about cyberbullying with your child. And yes, if your kid is using the internet than you do need to talk about this!

Teaching Your Child How To Not Be a CyberBully

As mentioned before, the internet brings out certain behaviors in young folk. Of course your child knows not to pick on somebody in person, but do they know not to rant and rave on social media when what they say could unintentionally hurt somebody else?

Watch for passive aggressive behaviors, and teach your children to face their problems (directly) rather than Facebooking them or through any type of social media.

If your child is 13 or younger, you should have their social media log in info, and don’t share the password with your child. This way, you can easily check in on them and you can also protect your child from being the victim of a “hacker” cyberbully by preventing anyone else from finding out how to log into their account.

Cyberbullying is even more common with older teenagers (age 14-17), especially when they have a smartphone that allows them to post on impulse. Teach them to think before they post, and make sure they understand how important it is to never post anything that could hurt somebody else… or could come back to haunt them.

What To Do If Your Child is the Victim of a CyberBully

Be the parent that a child can feel comfortable talking to if they are being harassed or directly attacked online. Be kind and understanding, and be sensitive to their needs. The rest is really up to you, as a parent.

If the harassment is severe enough, you can involve other authorities (the school or the police.) As you may remember, this could backfire on your child so it shouldn’t be your first choice. If the bullying has started over personal drama, encourage your child to confront the person in real life and come to a resolution. Do not “feed the trolls” or respond to cyberbullying online… bring it back to real world interaction.

To protect your child from becoming the victim of a cyberbully, encourage them to make friends with other children who are kind and respectful. Teach your children that friends who are always “surrounded by drama” can be dangerous… you never know when you’ll get sucked into it!

What can a child or teen do to empower themselves against a cyber bully? Have them read our article on CyberBullying: for Kids and Teens.

What can a child or teen do to empower themselves against a cyberbully? Have them read our article on CyberBullying: for Kids and Teens.

There was a time when bullying was something we all had to endure in school, on the bus, and hanging out with friends. It was always unpleasant. The next generation, our children, have an even worse type of bullying to deal with… and it’s so much more common than what we suffered!

About CyberBullying

Remember how frustrating it was in school when somebody was upset and reacted passive aggressively, usually by spreading a rumor? How the victim of a bully (maybe it was you, maybe it was one of your friends) would feel singled out, how hard it was to go to school and deal with the drama.

Your children deal with passive aggressive bullying all the time… because the internet brings out the passive aggressive in almost every young person. From shy kids to the straight forward, outspoken kid… cyberbullying can happen by accident. But as you remember about being the victim of a bully… the wounds never heal.

What’s even worse about cyberbullying is this. When a direct conflict among friends is resolved, you can forget and forgive the hurtful things that were said. However, you can never erase them from the internet.

With that in mind, it’s important to be very sensitive when talking about cyberbullying with your child. And yes, if your kid is using the internet than you do need to talk about this!

Teaching Your Child How To Not Be a CyberBully

As mentioned before, the internet brings out certain behaviors in young folk. Of course your child knows not to pick on somebody in person, but do they know not to rant and rave on social media when what they say could unintentionally hurt somebody else?

Watch for passive aggressive behaviors, and teach your children to face their problems (directly) rather than Facebooking them or through any type of social media.

If your child is 13 or younger, you should have their social media log in info, and don’t share the password with your child. This way, you can easily check in on them and you can also protect your child from being the victim of a “hacker” cyberbully by preventing anyone else from finding out how to log into their account.

Cyberbullying is even more common with older teenagers (age 14-17), especially when they have a smartphone that allows them to post on impulse. Teach them to think before they post, and make sure they understand how important it is to never post anything that could hurt somebody else… or could come back to haunt them.

What To Do If Your Child is the Victim of a CyberBully

Be the parent that a child can feel comfortable talking to if they are being harassed or directly attacked online. Be kind and understanding, and be sensitive to their needs. The rest is really up to you, as a parent.

If the harassment is severe enough, you can involve other authorities (the school or the police.) As you may remember, this could backfire on your child so it shouldn’t be your first choice. If the bullying has started over personal drama, encourage your child to confront the person in real life and come to a resolution. Do not “feed the trolls” or respond to cyberbullying online… bring it back to real world interaction.

To protect your child from becoming the victim of a cyberbully, encourage them to make friends with other children who are kind and respectful. Teach your children that friends who are always “surrounded by drama” can be dangerous… you never know when you’ll get sucked into it!

What can a child or teen do to empower themselves against a cyber bully? Have them read our article on CyberBullying: for Kids and Teens.

What can a child or teen do to empower themselves against a cyberbully? Have them read our article on CyberBullying: for Kids and Teens.

Anti Malware: Removing Malicious Software from your Computer

Anti-Malware - Remove Malware from your computer.

Malware is malicious software that infects your computer in the form of a virus, spyware, Trojan horse, bot, adware or a worm. These nasty infections have different purposes, from getting your computer to preform certain tasks in the background, to sending out spam from your email account, to as bad as stealing your personal information.

Malware may infect your computer when you click on a suspicious email attachment, but it is not restricted to that. Malware also comes via software installations from unsafe sources, as well as when visiting infected websites.

Safe Search Kids endorses Emsisoft Anti-Malware for reasons that separate it from other virus removal tools. Mainly – you do not need to purchase the software to clean your computer of viruses. Full scanning and removal of all types of viruses are permitted within the free trial offered.

If you desire to continue protection of your computer, which includes blocking malicious software (malware) from infecting your computer in the first place, then purchasing Emsisoft after the free trial is recommended. This also allows you to preform regular scheduled scans as often as you like.

A personal story about Emsisoft Anti-Malware in action: One morning I logged on to my credit card account and saw a Western Union charge for $940. It was made in a city half way across the country. I quickly called my credit card company to report it.

Upon further investigation I was informed that thieves obtained my complete credit card information through one of my computers in the house. This is done when your computer becomes infected by a Trojan Horse (malware) and when you log into an account – in my case it was iTunes – the software is able to obtain your personal information for later use. I downloaded the anti-malware program on to all of our computers and did a scan. I found the virus on one of our laptops.

Download Emsisoft Anti-Malware!

The bottom line is that no one wants malware on their computer for any reason. Many anti-virus programs do not remove the problem because when a scan is done of the infected computer, the anti-virus software does not detect the malware or it’s possible that the virus database is not up to date. This is why it’s important to dig deeper in your computer scan with a top rated malware detector and removal tool such as Emsisoft.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware – Free Scan and Prevention

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is a premium anti-malware program to clean and protect your PC from all internet threats: viruses, spyware, trojans, bots, adware and worms. It uses a triple-layer prevention engine: Surf Protection, Real-time File Guard and Behavior Blocker.

Surf Protection blocks access to fraudulent and dangerous websites, while the Real-time File Guard scans for more than 10 million types of malware in real-time. It recognizes dangers immediately when they try to run or are being downloaded from the Web.

New malware definitions (signatures) updates are available at least 24 times per day. The third layer, the Behavior Blocker with Live Cloud-Verification, scans and monitors all running programs – all the time. It catches zero-day threats that aren’t yet included in the signature database and as soon as a program does something suspicious, it’s stopped and alerted. It provides the ultimate protection that others can’t catch.

Beware of less credible virus removing software that makes you pay before you can remove harmful viruses from your computer. Also, do not install any software from a source you are not sure about. The ironic thing is, you may be downloading malware contained in the very software program promising you malware removal. This is not the case with Emsisoft.

To see if you are infected by Malware including viruses, spyware, Trojans, bots, adware and worms – Scan Your Computer for Free!

Additional Internet Security Solutions

While we have mentioned that Anti-Virus Software is not an effective tool against Malware, please don’t misunderstand. Anti-Virus is still important to protect your computer against infections through your incoming email. For complete internet security, check out these resources below:

These programs are not to be confused with Parental Control Software, which allows you to block access to websites that do not have appropriate content for kids and teens… Learn More!

Malware is malicious software that infects your computer in the form of a virus, spyware, Trojan horse, bot, adware or a worm. These nasty infections have different purposes, from getting your computer to preform certain tasks in the background, to sending out spam from your email account, to as bad as stealing your personal information.

Malware may infect your computer when you click on a suspicious email attachment, but it is not restricted to that. Malware also comes via software installations from unsafe sources, as well as when visiting infected websites.

Safe Search Kids endorses Emsisoft Anti-Malware for reasons that separate it from other virus removal tools. Mainly – you do not need to purchase the software to clean your computer of viruses. Full scanning and removal of all types of viruses are permitted within the free trial offered.

If you desire to continue protection of your computer, which includes blocking malicious software (malware) from infecting your computer in the first place, then purchasing Emsisoft after the free trial is recommended. This also allows you to preform regular scheduled scans as often as you like.

A personal story about Emsisoft Anti-Malware in action: One morning I logged on to my credit card account and saw a Western Union charge for $940. It was made in a city half way across the country. I quickly called my credit card company to report it.

Upon further investigation I was informed that thieves obtained my complete credit card information through one of my computers in the house. This is done when your computer becomes infected by a Trojan Horse (malware) and when you log into an account – in my case it was iTunes – the software is able to obtain your personal information for later use. I downloaded the anti-malware program on to all of our computers and did a scan. I found the virus on one of our laptops.

Download Emsisoft Anti-Malware!

The bottom line is that no one wants malware on their computer for any reason. Many anti-virus programs do not remove the problem because when a scan is done of the infected computer, the anti-virus software does not detect the malware or it’s possible that the virus database is not up to date. This is why it’s important to dig deeper in your computer scan with a top rated malware detector and removal tool such as Emsisoft.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware – Free Scan and Prevention

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is a premium anti-malware program to clean and protect your PC from all internet threats: viruses, spyware, trojans, bots, adware and worms. It uses a triple-layer prevention engine: Surf Protection, Real-time File Guard and Behavior Blocker.

Surf Protection blocks access to fraudulent and dangerous websites, while the Real-time File Guard scans for more than 10 million types of malware in real-time. It recognizes dangers immediately when they try to run or are being downloaded from the Web.

New malware definitions (signatures) updates are available at least 24 times per day. The third layer, the Behavior Blocker with Live Cloud-Verification, scans and monitors all running programs – all the time. It catches zero-day threats that aren’t yet included in the signature database and as soon as a program does something suspicious, it’s stopped and alerted. It provides the ultimate protection that others can’t catch.

Beware of less credible virus removing software that makes you pay before you can remove harmful viruses from your computer. Also, do not install any software from a source you are not sure about. The ironic thing is, you may be downloading malware contained in the very software program promising you malware removal. This is not the case with Emsisoft.

To see if you are infected by Malware including viruses, spyware, Trojans, bots, adware and worms – Scan Your Computer for Free!

Additional Internet Security Solutions

While we have mentioned that Anti-Virus Software is not an effective tool against Malware, please don’t misunderstand. Anti-Virus is still important to protect your computer against infections through your incoming email. For complete internet security, check out these resources below:

These programs are not to be confused with Parental Control Software, which allows you to block access to websites that do not have appropriate content for kids and teens… Learn More!

Internet Safety Tips for Kids

We understand that online safety is a top priority for parents and teachers who are providing internet access to younger children and teens alike. Safe search resources for the internet should not replace proper parental or teacher supervision.

Here are few tips to encourage internet safety when surfing the world wide web whether at home or in school.

Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Have an open conversation with your kids about safe browsing and computer use. With freedom comes responsibility.

Do not replace parental or teacher supervision of computer use at home or at school with our safe search engine or any other. No search filtering software or tool is perfect.

A good rule of thumb is to not allow internet use when a child is home alone without proper supervision, even with this Search Site for Kids search engine.

Educate yourself on social media safety and have open discussions with teens about present dangers and long term effects of inappropriate conduct, including posting pictures online.

Keep your computer in an open area. If your computer is in a home office, make a rule that doors are always left open when online.

It’s not a good idea to allow computers or laptops in your kids bedrooms, even while using the free internet filter, unless they are close to the main area of the house such as the kitchen or living room with doors left open.

Educate yourself on how to stay safe when using social media: Read about Social Media Safety: For Parents / For Teens

Do not allow internet use after you’ve gone to bed at night no matter how good your computer security software is or how confident you are in kids search engines.

Consider installing parental control software to give you completed control over how kids access the internet.

If your child is searching for videos on YouTube, learn how you can activate YouTube parental controls.

Do not allow file sharing programs to be installed on your computer. Only use safe and secure music download programs from trusted sources on the internet.

Internet Safety Tips  – What Kids Can Do!

Do not give out personal information about yourself online without your parent’s permission. This includes your name, where you live or your telephone number.

Never to agree to meet someone that you have met online. If you do not know the person in ‘real life’, tell your parents about anyone this is asking to meet you.

Talk to your parents first about pictures you want to post online, whether they be of yourself or your friends and family members.

Do not respond to messages you receive that are mean or speaking meanly about others. Tell your parents about these messages.

Do not give out any of your passwords to friends or anyone you meet online.

Check with your parents first before downloading or installing any software on your computer.

Ensure privacy settings on activated on all of social media websites you use.

Always be kind of others online. Do not do anything that may hurt others including joining in conversations discussing other people’s problems.

Be careful about discussing details about your own personal problems with your friends online. It is better to speak to them in person. Tell your parents or teacher if you are struggling with something.

Remember that the rules for online safety also apply to texting on your phone.

Agree to computer rules set up by your parents, teachers or guardians. With freedom and trust comes the expectation that you will act responsibly.

Internet Filtering Software Solutions!

Internet Accountability: The Covenant Eyes Filter provides options: Decide the times of day the Internet may be used, and how much time per day or per week the Internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites specific to each username.  This software can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols. The basic Covenant Eyes Accountability feature teaches safe browsing habits. Just knowing that an extra set of eyes in watching, encourages your family members to be responsible when surfing the internet. Learn more.

For complete control, especially for younger children or for those times you are not available to monitor computer activity, explore parental control software which actually blocks access to inappropriate content online.

Internet safety should be the first priority of any parent or guardian when seeking protection of children online. It certainly can be a balance to juggle freedom on the internet with a safe level of online restrictions. Implement safe search using a kids search engine along with a filtering software program. Safe Search for Kids is designed to work hand in hand with supervision by parents and educators.

We understand that online safety is a top priority for parents and teachers who are providing internet access to younger children and teens alike. Safe search resources for the internet should not replace proper parental or teacher supervision.

Here are few tips to encourage internet safety when surfing the world wide web whether at home or in school.

Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Have an open conversation with your kids about safe browsing and computer use. With freedom comes responsibility.

Do not replace parental or teacher supervision of computer use at home or at school with our safe search engine or any other. No search filtering software or tool is perfect.

A good rule of thumb is to not allow internet use when a child is home alone without proper supervision, even with this Search Site for Kids search engine.

Educate yourself on social media safety and have open discussions with teens about present dangers and long term effects of inappropriate conduct, including posting pictures online.

Keep your computer in an open area. If your computer is in a home office, make a rule that doors are always left open when online.

It’s not a good idea to allow computers or laptops in your kids bedrooms, even while using the free internet filter, unless they are close to the main area of the house such as the kitchen or living room with doors left open.

Educate yourself on how to stay safe when using social media: Read about Social Media Safety: For Parents / For Teens

Do not allow internet use after you’ve gone to bed at night no matter how good your computer security software is or how confident you are in kids search engines.

Consider installing parental control software to give you completed control over how kids access the internet.

If your child is searching for videos on YouTube, learn how you can activate YouTube parental controls.

Do not allow file sharing programs to be installed on your computer. Only use safe and secure music download programs from trusted sources on the internet.

Internet Safety Tips  – What Kids Can Do!

Do not give out personal information about yourself online without your parent’s permission. This includes your name, where you live or your telephone number.

Never to agree to meet someone that you have met online. If you do not know the person in ‘real life’, tell your parents about anyone this is asking to meet you.

Talk to your parents first about pictures you want to post online, whether they be of yourself or your friends and family members.

Do not respond to messages you receive that are mean or speaking meanly about others. Tell your parents about these messages.

Do not give out any of your passwords to friends or anyone you meet online.

Check with your parents first before downloading or installing any software on your computer.

Ensure privacy settings on activated on all of social media websites you use.

Always be kind of others online. Do not do anything that may hurt others including joining in conversations discussing other people’s problems.

Be careful about discussing details about your own personal problems with your friends online. It is better to speak to them in person. Tell your parents or teacher if you are struggling with something.

Remember that the rules for online safety also apply to texting on your phone.

Agree to computer rules set up by your parents, teachers or guardians. With freedom and trust comes the expectation that you will act responsibly.

Internet Filtering Software Solutions!

Internet Accountability: The Covenant Eyes Filter provides options: Decide the times of day the Internet may be used, and how much time per day or per week the Internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites specific to each username.  This software can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols. The basic Covenant Eyes Accountability feature teaches safe browsing habits. Just knowing that an extra set of eyes in watching, encourages your family members to be responsible when surfing the internet. Learn more.

For complete control, especially for younger children or for those times you are not available to monitor computer activity, explore parental control software which actually blocks access to inappropriate content online.

Internet safety should be the first priority of any parent or guardian when seeking protection of children online. It certainly can be a balance to juggle freedom on the internet with a safe level of online restrictions. Implement safe search using a kids search engine along with a filtering software program. Safe Search for Kids is designed to work hand in hand with supervision by parents and educators.

Cell Phone Safety Tips

cell phone safety tips

Once upon a time… kids would have to go outside to play a game with friends, get up to change the TV channel manually, and would have to walk 3 miles to school—uphill, both ways. A little further down the road, kids have access to newfangled technology and their parents are struggling to keep up with it all.

If you’re the parent of a teenager (or even an almost-teenager, tween) you may already be familiar with the pressure but still the the numbers are still shocking:

  • A whopping 77% of teens (between the ages of 12 and 17) own a cell phone.
  • Furthermore, 56% of tweens (ages 8 through 12) own a cell phone!
  • 75% of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving.
  • 28% of teens admitted to sending inappropriate pictures via text.
  • A large group of parents were asked what age would be appropriate for a child to get their first cell phone. 22% of those parents felt that 10 was a good age!

So if you haven’t been asked the following question yet… get ready, it’s coming very soon.

“Mom/Dad, Can I Have a Smart Phone?”

In all honesty, it becomes harder and harder to say no. We all remember being on the other end of “but everyone else has one!” and how frustrating it felt when your parents didn’t understand. So, we try to understand because we remember feeling excluded from their generation, and we don’t want to put our kids through that same torture.

Most parents will set forth ground rules similar to giving a child a puppy (remember when that was what they wanted?!). Here’s a sample:

Cell Phone Contract for a Teenager:

  • I do not own this phone. My parents are awesome, and they are giving me the privilege of using this phone.
  • Nothing is free. This phone, and the ability to use it, costs money. I will work hard to earn this privilege.
  • (Prepaid phones / limited texts are a good idea for teenagers.) I will not exceed my limit for monthly calls or texts.
  • I will take care of my phone. If I break it, I have to replace it. If I lose it, I have to replace it.
  • I will never use this phone in an inappropriate way.

More specifically, I will never use this phone to:

– Send a mean or hurtful text. If I have a disagreement with somebody, we will talk face to face.

– Talk or text after 9 PM.

– Have inappropriate text conversations.

– Send or receive inappropriate images.

– Follow policies regarding cell phone use in school.

– Talk or text while driving.

– If I decide to put a lock screen on my phone, my parents will know the password or code. My parents will have access to all of my phone call history and text message history.

{Parents} agree to respect my privacy and will only use their rights of access if I have shown suspicious behavior.

– I understand that this phone may be taken away if I am on it too much, or if I express negative behavior including talking back or failing to keep up with my chores.

– If my grades drop, I will lose this phone until I have brought my grades back up.

– If my phone has the ability to surf the internet, I will use a Safe Search Engine. (For the mobile version of Safe Search Kids, use http://www.safesearchkids.com/app.html or search for our app in the app store – enter search term “Safe Search Kids”. *Learn more about this tool at the bottom of this article).

These are sample items that you may use or modify to create a cell phone contract with your teenager. However, it doesn’t stop there.

As parents of a teenager with a smart phone, you are responsible for:

• Restricting the amount of time your teenager spends on his or her phone. This includes calls, texts, and data usage.

• Encouraging activities that will draw your child or teenager back into the “real world” so (s)he is more attentive of his or her surroundings.

• Understanding the features on your child’s phone so you can answer questions and offer guidance.

• Updating the privacy settings on your child’s phone.

• Understanding how your child is using their phone, so you can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

• Enforcing the rules.

In the end, you are the parent. Unless your teenager has a job and is paying for his or her own phone and phone bill, you should have full control over the situation. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down and revoke– or deny– the privilege until your teenager shows full responsibility on their end.

Safe Internet Use on Smart Phones

*The ability to browse the internet (for tweens and teens that have access to the internet on their cell phone) opens up an entirely new area of safety concerns. Not only can kids search the web more discreetly, most parents do not view this activity as of much of a risk as they do allowing their kids to search on a regular computer. The fact is, the dangers are just as real and even worse when you consider that with a smart phone, kids can search the internet outside of the watchful eye of parents while using their cell phone in school.

We have a safe search tools for kids. It is more of a phone friendly version of our site that automatically ensures safe search is on at http://www.safesearchkids.com/app.html or enter “Safe Search Kids” in your phones app store to get the links. Having your tweens and teens agree to use this version of search will automatically ensure safe filtering is always on. That said, you still need to set up guidelines that allow you to view history on their phone when needed, as well has having them promise to not delete their history knowing you may look at it.

An open conversation about all of these issues is vital to instilling responsible behavior from kids of all ages. To explore internet filtering with more parental control, explore internet filtering software, which can also be activated on smart phones.

Once upon a time… kids would have to go outside to play a game with friends, get up to change the TV channel manually, and would have to walk 3 miles to school—uphill, both ways. A little further down the road, kids have access to newfangled technology and their parents are struggling to keep up with it all.

If you’re the parent of a teenager (or even an almost-teenager, tween) you may already be familiar with the pressure but still the the numbers are still shocking:

  • A whopping 77% of teens (between the ages of 12 and 17) own a cell phone.
  • Furthermore, 56% of tweens (ages 8 through 12) own a cell phone!
  • 75% of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving.
  • 28% of teens admitted to sending inappropriate pictures via text.
  • A large group of parents were asked what age would be appropriate for a child to get their first cell phone. 22% of those parents felt that 10 was a good age!

So if you haven’t been asked the following question yet… get ready, it’s coming very soon.

“Mom/Dad, Can I Have a Smart Phone?”

In all honesty, it becomes harder and harder to say no. We all remember being on the other end of “but everyone else has one!” and how frustrating it felt when your parents didn’t understand. So, we try to understand because we remember feeling excluded from their generation, and we don’t want to put our kids through that same torture.

Most parents will set forth ground rules similar to giving a child a puppy (remember when that was what they wanted?!). Here’s a sample:

Cell Phone Contract for a Teenager:

  • I do not own this phone. My parents are awesome, and they are giving me the privilege of using this phone.
  • Nothing is free. This phone, and the ability to use it, costs money. I will work hard to earn this privilege.
  • (Prepaid phones / limited texts are a good idea for teenagers.) I will not exceed my limit for monthly calls or texts.
  • I will take care of my phone. If I break it, I have to replace it. If I lose it, I have to replace it.
  • I will never use this phone in an inappropriate way.

More specifically, I will never use this phone to:

– Send a mean or hurtful text. If I have a disagreement with somebody, we will talk face to face.

– Talk or text after 9 PM.

– Have inappropriate text conversations.

– Send or receive inappropriate images.

– Follow policies regarding cell phone use in school.

– Talk or text while driving.

– If I decide to put a lock screen on my phone, my parents will know the password or code. My parents will have access to all of my phone call history and text message history.

{Parents} agree to respect my privacy and will only use their rights of access if I have shown suspicious behavior.

– I understand that this phone may be taken away if I am on it too much, or if I express negative behavior including talking back or failing to keep up with my chores.

– If my grades drop, I will lose this phone until I have brought my grades back up.

– If my phone has the ability to surf the internet, I will use a Safe Search Engine. (For the mobile version of Safe Search Kids, use http://www.safesearchkids.com/app.html or search for our app in the app store – enter search term “Safe Search Kids”. *Learn more about this tool at the bottom of this article).

These are sample items that you may use or modify to create a cell phone contract with your teenager. However, it doesn’t stop there.

As parents of a teenager with a smart phone, you are responsible for:

• Restricting the amount of time your teenager spends on his or her phone. This includes calls, texts, and data usage.

• Encouraging activities that will draw your child or teenager back into the “real world” so (s)he is more attentive of his or her surroundings.

• Understanding the features on your child’s phone so you can answer questions and offer guidance.

• Updating the privacy settings on your child’s phone.

• Understanding how your child is using their phone, so you can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

• Enforcing the rules.

In the end, you are the parent. Unless your teenager has a job and is paying for his or her own phone and phone bill, you should have full control over the situation. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down and revoke– or deny– the privilege until your teenager shows full responsibility on their end.

Safe Internet Use on Smart Phones

*The ability to browse the internet (for tweens and teens that have access to the internet on their cell phone) opens up an entirely new area of safety concerns. Not only can kids search the web more discreetly, most parents do not view this activity as of much of a risk as they do allowing their kids to search on a regular computer. The fact is, the dangers are just as real and even worse when you consider that with a smart phone, kids can search the internet outside of the watchful eye of parents while using their cell phone in school.

We have a safe search tools for kids. It is more of a phone friendly version of our site that automatically ensures safe search is on at http://www.safesearchkids.com/app.html or enter “Safe Search Kids” in your phones app store to get the links. Having your tweens and teens agree to use this version of search will automatically ensure safe filtering is always on. That said, you still need to set up guidelines that allow you to view history on their phone when needed, as well has having them promise to not delete their history knowing you may look at it.

An open conversation about all of these issues is vital to instilling responsible behavior from kids of all ages. To explore internet filtering with more parental control, explore internet filtering software, which can also be activated on smart phones.