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What Features Do Teens Need On Cell Phones?

Cell phones are their feature are an ever growing topic in today’s families. It used to be that the hot button issue was whether to get the phone. Now, we have to deal with all the features: texting, Internet, camera…to name the tip of the iceberg!

Clearly we’re becoming a more mobile society with our cell phones taking over features previously reserved for our computers. A recent Nielsen Wire report confirms this observation showing that in Q1 of 2009 21% of cell phone owners used their phones to search the Internet, up from 16% in Q4 of 2008.

At the moment, digital plans are pricey so it’s easy to lock our kids out of their cell phone Internet access. However, not too long ago we said the same exact thing about texting and now we have affordable unlimited texting plans.

Given the impulsivity of tweens and teens and how difficult it is for us to help kids with appropriate Internet use on computers, do we want to open the door to having them have access to the Internet on cell phones? Once data plans become more affordable, should we let them have cell phone internet access?

Perhaps it would be easier to answer if asked slightly differently. How are our teens and tweens doing with the digital cell phone freedom they have right now? Given the rise of extreme texting and sexting, I’d say not so great. Before we open the door to new issues and digital freedoms they are not ready for, we have to help them more with the freedoms they already have – and are clearly struggling with. Plus, as parents, we are still sorting out the issues with the digital uses of technology our kids are currently using. Let’s sort those out first before we give the green light to other mobile freedoms that will certainly be more complex and harder to control.

If all goes well, data plans will remain unaffordable for a while longer so we won’t have to cross another digital bridge none of us are ready for.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*


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2 Responses to “What Features Do Teens Need On Cell Phones?”

  1. riley290 says:

    I doubt many people read their kids IM's when AIM and ICQ first jumped on the scene but this didn't start with texting or mobile phones, it didn't start with AIM either but that's the medium of expression used. Its true that tweens and teens have much more access to adult content from the internet but there are always going to be sexual talk going on with some kids, and some very early. Maybe its that its way easier to monitor their activity on a phone because I know at 13 I was deleting all of my IMs every night when I got off of the computer. My mom would've died if she would have read what I was writing back then and I didn't have a cell phone…

  2. riley290 says:

    I doubt many people read their kids IM's when AIM and ICQ first jumped on the scene but this didn't start with texting or mobile phones, it didn't start with AIM either but that's the medium of expression used. Its true that tweens and teens have much more access to adult content from the internet but there are always going to be sexual talk going on with some kids, and some very early. Maybe its that its way easier to monitor their activity on a phone because I know at 13 I was deleting all of my IMs every night when I got off of the computer. My mom would've died if she would have read what I was writing back then and I didn't have a cell phone…

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