Cell phones. What did we do without them? This includes portable devices such as mini-computers you can stick in your purse or backpack making it easy to take pictures and post them to the Internet.
There's no doubt that today's teens are outfitted with the latest electronics either from their parents, or purchased with their own money. For parents, the decision to allow their pre-teen or teen to have a phone is almost a no-brainer: Making pick-ups from school or other activities easier, knowing you can get in touch with your child at a moments notice - that is, if they take your call.
Just as cell phones can make life easier in some respects, they can make it that much more difficult. Running up bills calling and texting; accessing the internet anytime, downloading questionable music all takes away from a parent's control. What's even more disturbing are the uses teens can get into trouble for, including Sexting. Here are some interesting facts from attorney Gloria Allred about Sexting.
- What is the difference between Pornography and Obscenity, and how does the law handle each? Where you live can make a difference.
- Texting can compromise your attention and can get you a ticket. Don't Do It.
- Be careful of the pictures you take. They can get you into trouble even if you don't think you did anything wrong.
Privacy & Harassment
About 5 years ago, phones had some ability to take pictures, but they've gotten better and some even have cameras with advanced functionality. PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), Smartphones, and such are now the only ones kids (and adults) want. Sexting isn't just phone-to-phone; it's phone-to-computer - posting on friends' blogs and social media pages. It's often seen as a "prank" or in retaliation for being jilted or other behavior.
- There are specific actions you can take if you're being harassed by someone on the telephone.
- Any web site for children must follow the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
- Cell phones are easy targets to obtain information. Learn what Cell Phone Privacy entails.
- If you operate a business on the Internet, know what types of Online Privacy Policies you need to have.
- Protect your personal computer from Cyber Attacks, just like the government does.
Social Media & Parental Responsibility
As a parent, it's your responsibility to know what your child or children are doing online and off. Facebook and other social networking sites have strict policies about what can be posted and what can’t. And they often work with authorities when illicit activities are posted.
- LexisNexis Parental Sexting Awareness Survey Results - 2009
- There's more and more Bullying on the Cyber Playground. What are the consequences?
- Social Media sites are try to keep their Keep their content Clean. Here are examples of their policies.
- Checked Facebook for information about your new roommate and want to change? What are your options?
- How do you know if the person on Twitter is who they say they are? Here are some ways to find out.
- When your name and picture is used online without your permission, do you have any recourse?
Crime and Punishment
What you and your children might not know is that there is a "permanent record" for these activities. It can vary from state to state, and have lasting effects.
- If you are caught sexting, you could be put on the Sex Offender List for the rest of your life.
- You have the Right to Remain Silent if you're arrested.
- Expungement is when you can erase the errors of your past. However, it doesn't apply in all situations.
- Juvenile court cases are private, but if you feel the punishment is harsher than expected you can report judges to disciplinary boards or judicial inquiry boards.