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Common Sense Media: Parents' Guide to Kids and Cell Phones

What are the basic safety rules for cell phones?

Basic safety skills are essential for kids' safety and privacy. Here are the areas kids will need to be responsible for, plus some best practices.

Texting
  • Be respectful -- both to the people you're texting with and those around you.
  • Be careful. Assume that even "private" texts can become public.

Calling
  • Verify the caller or texter . Don't respond to numbers you don't know.
  • Answer the phone when it's Mom or Dad. Make sure your kid knows to answer when it's YOU calling!

Cameras
  • Ask permission. Before you snap someone's picture, take a video, or forward something, ask if it's OK.
  • Don't publicly embarrass people. Don't post someone's photo -- especially unflattering ones -- from your cell phone without permission.

Apps and downloads
  • Manage costs. Make sure your kids understand that they're spending real money when they download apps, games, and music.
  • Use filters. Check your phone for parental controls that let you filter out age-inappropriate content, restrict downloads, and prevent in-app purchases.

Posting
  • Be selective -- not impulsive. Make sure kids know to be very selective about what they post from their cell phone.
  • Be safe. Explain why they shouldn't use location services.

— Common Sense Media

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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