By Paul Grossinger
Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:17 PM CDT
Plano Texas parents are facing problems with texting and driving, cyberbullying, and other smartphone dangers. How can Plano Texas parents protect their teens?
The Star Local News broke down how Plano Texas parents can protect their teens:
Smartphone Protection For Kids Of Plano Parents
Smartphones will soon be in the hand of every teen in Plano. Today, over 35% of teens now own them and growth is occurring at a 15% annual clip; making it a reality that nearly every Texas teenager will own a smartphone by 2016.
Smartphones are signs of progress but they also bring serious dangers. Particularly, smartphones are now the worst spreaders of cyber-bullying, which affects hundreds of thousands of Texas, as well as texting while driving, sexting, and dangerous applications. The statistics don’t fuel much optimism:
90% of teen-aged kids report seeing or experiencing cyber-bullying; with much of it taking place over mobile devices.
3,000 teens died in distracted driving accidents last year, which made texting while driving the leading cause of teen deaths nationwide.
At least 25% of teens sext or distribute sexual pictures via mobile devices. One such picture sharing service, Snapchat, added 3.5 million users just in December 2012.
Parents need answers. This op-ed seeks to provide them: discussing multiple, usually free solutions for Android, iPhone, and other platforms that can help keep kids safe.
For parents whose children use Android smartphones, third-party parental control apps are the best solution. MMGuardian Parental Control is free as a basic product and parents can set text alerts for words or phrases of concern, choose whether to turn the Safe Driving feature on to prevent their child from texting while behind the wheel, choose whether to block certain applications and contacts on the phone, and schedule location and lock times for the device.
Kids Place, also available on Google Play, is a free service geared towards parents of younger children. Kids Place enables parents to create a ‘safe zone’ on the phone that contains all the contacts and applications they would like their kids to be able to use and then Kids Place contains the child’s activity to that safe zone.
On Android, parents can also try carrier solutions like AT&T Drive Mode or Sprint Guardian. AT&T Drive Mode is AT&T’s answer to the text and drive epidemic; it limits the texting capability of a phone in a moving vehicle. Sprint Guardian is a more comprehensive product and is Sprint’s leading mobile parental control offering.
For parents whose children use iPhones, options are more limited because the iOS operating system does not give free reign to developers. Parents should manage the phone’s settings and look into web filtering options, which will block inappropriate websites, and communicate with their kids effectively so that they are aware of any issues going on in their kids’ lives.
Smartphone dangers are rising. Plano parents need to know that there is a lot they can do to keep their kids safe on smartphones.