What are some cell phone safety tips for kids?

Some parents buy their children cell phones to make their lives easier and safer; for instance, so children can call their parents if they need to be picked up from school or if they're lost. However, cell phone usage may actually cause more damage than what parents are trying to protect their children from. Physical dangers of cell phone use include electromagnetic radiation, children being distracted while talking on their cell phone and walking into traffic, and teenagers talking on their cell phones while driving and being involved in accidents. Some studies have shown a higher incidence of brain, mouth and salivary gland cancers due to frequent cell phone use, with children's brains absorbing twice as much radiation as adult brains. Researchers recommend that children use cell phones only in emergency situations and that they use the speaker option instead of placing the cell phone directly against their head.

Other dangers of cell phones are physical and psychological. Cyber bullies, adults and children alike, harass others by sending threatening or rude texts to cell phones. Sexual predators use cell phones to lure children to a meeting, and cell phones equipped with GPS are used to pinpoint their victim's location. A good tip for children is not to answer the phone or text back if they don't know the caller or recognize the number. "Sexting" is when people send sexual text messages or pornographic photos via cell phones. In addition to the fact that this action is illegal and that they run the risk of being prosecuted for producing and/or distributing child pornography, children should be aware that once a photo is sent it can never be retrieved, and it can easily be forwarded to other cell phone users or posted on the Internet, causing extreme humiliation. To avoid this situation, talk with your children about never using the cell phone to take revealing pictures of themselves or their friends.