More Information on Phones
Remember predators can continue to reach a child once they have their mobile number, even if internet contact has been severed.
Do not allow phone calls in private. If your child wants to talk on the phone to a friend, they should do it where an adult can hear. This may not always be possible, but it is the only way to be truly aware of what is happening.
Be aware that teens may go to great lengths to talk to someone secretively.
1. They can pick up the phone and call a recording (like a local movie listing), and have the other person call them at a pre-arranged time late at night. This way, no outgoing phone call appears on the phone bill, and the incoming call never rings. Precautions you can take:
- Disable call waiting
- Don't allow your child to have a phone in their room
- Know where all cordless handsets are in the house, and if necessary, do away with them.
- Disable the phone outlet in your child's room. (Teens may even purchase an extra phone and hide it, only to bring it out and plug it in when no one is around or everyone is asleep).
2. Caller ID is not foolproof. Teens may have knowledge of caller ID, and use it to their advantage by blocking numbers, or erasing logs.
Precautions you can take:
- Consider signing up for 'Caller ID Blocking' with your local phone service. This will prevent any incoming 'anonymous' calls. You will always be able to see who is calling. (Remember however that if you still have call waiting, you may not hear every incoming call).
- Keep a caller ID phone that will monitor all incoming calls and cannot be erased (keep it out of reach, locked away, hidden, etc.)
3. They can use cell phones to communicate with friends or others late at night or in secret.
Precautions you can take:
- Monitor cellular phone bills closely. Make sure your wireless provider allows itemized billing of every call, whether it was at peak hours, or not.
- Do not allow your child to have a cellular phone with them in their room (if necessary, put it away each night).
- Realize that just because they don't have their own cellular phone doesn't mean they can't borrow one, or, with the advent of the 'pay as you go' phone, many are able to obtain their own phone without their parents' knowledge.
Again, perhaps most importantly, take an active role in your child's life. Know who their friends are, who they interact with socially, and watch for behavior or mood changes. You want to be the one they can turn to if things are troubling them, not someone online.
Developing a trusting and open relationship with your child is always better than feeling that you have to watch them at every moment. It is good to keep the above information in mind, but it is better for your child to have the knowledge that they can be honest and open with you, and talk to you about anything.