While cellphones have become an inescapable fact of life, they can present a safety risk to children, providing access to inappropriate content and a way for adult stalkers to prey on the inexperienced.
Laurence Seberini, a father who is involved in the mobile industry, has recently launched the web site Cellphone Safety (www.cellphonesafety.co.za) that brings both those areas of his life together.
The site aims to help parents understand how to use the existing technology to protect their kids.
“Cellphones are here to stay and, properly used, are a great technology that can help our kids communicate, explore the world and stay in touch with us,” he says. “But children are by nature vulnerable, and so I wanted to bring together all the safety advice out there into one easy-to-use resource for my fellow parents.”
The new site will offer articles that keep parents up to date with various aspects of mobile parenting. One current article offers parents a guide to cellphone addiction: how to spot it and, more importantly, what steps they can take to manage it.
Other articles look at the issues but also offering a practical guide and helpful tips. Examples include six practical safety guidelines that will help parents manage the problem of cellphone stalkers.
The Cellphone Safety site contains detailed, practical how-to information every parent would like to have at his or her fingertips. Examples include ways to stop children from browsing adult sites, how to set up panic buttons, and how to locate your child in an emergency. Other practical tips include how to disable a phone’s access to the Internet and how to block chat zones on Mxit
“The Cellphone Safety website goes to great pains to provide step-by-step instructions that empower parents rather than drive them crazy,” jokes Seberini. “The main aim is to help families embrace the positive aspects of technology while giving them the information they need to avoid unnecessary harm to children.”