The New Talk: Birds, Bees and Mobile Safety

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The New Talk: Birds, Bees and Mobile Safety

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More than 1 in 5 kids have been bullied via text message. Learn more from the @ATT study and find resources to help http://3bl.me/bmatdr

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Janiece Evans-Page, assistant vice president - community engagement, AT&T

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 5:00pm

CAMPAIGN: AT&T: People

CONTENT: Blog

The New Talk: Birds, Bees and Mobile Safety

Janiece Evans-Page, assistant vice president - community engagement, AT&T

When I became a parent, I agonized and prepared myself, to the extent possible, for “the talks” I’d have to have with my kids as they grew up – stranger danger, the birds and the bees, say no to drugs. But a recent study we commissioned with GfK reinforced the importance of another talk we all need to have with our kids – mobile safety. 

The results of the AT&T Mobile Safety Study are impactful and relevant. It found that more than 1 in 5 kids have been bullied via text message. Nearly half of kids have a friend who has received a mobile message/picture that their parents would think was too sexual, and more than half of kids report that they have ridden with someone who was texting and driving.  So, I should not have been surprised when the assistant principal at my kids’ school sent a message to parents of middle school students alerting us to how many kids are using some of the popular social media sites – without their parents’ knowledge!

The study made me reflect on how I’ve approached these conversations with my own kids and left me wondering if what I’ve said has sunk in. The fact of the matter is that it’s a whole new playing field for me and a lot of parents. The study found that, on average, kids receive their first mobile phone at age 12, with a third of those with a phone having a smartphone. I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was in my 20s and I still don’t understand all of the texting lingo out there.  

AT&T’s Mobile Safety Study did contain a hopeful ray of light: 90 percent of kids think it’s OK for parents to set rules on how kids can and cannot use the phone. Can’t wait to let my kids know that Mom and Dad aren’t alone in setting limits on phone use! 

In our home, we’ve set clear rules for how our kids use their phones. Whether or not they always follow them is a different story, but I’ve made a commitment to playing an active role in making sure they know I expect them to be safe and responsible wherever they are connecting – online, offline or by mobile.

I’m proud to be a part of a company that has made a commitment to helping families use mobile devices and services safely. The new AT&T Mobile Safety program is available to help families find the balance between the freedom children crave and the safety controls parents need. The site, located at www.att.com/familysafety, offers families educational resources to help start the mobile safety conversation. The site also features AT&T safety tools to help parents and kids manage their mobile device experience, from who they connect with to the type of content that can be accessed.

I’m getting ready to approach my kids again, are you ready to have “the talk” with your kids?

Keywords: Innovation & Technology | Innovation & Technology | Social Impact & Volunteering

CAMPAIGN: AT&T: People

CONTENT: Blog