Defenders: Keep your kids safe on mobile, social media

Published On: Sep 05 2012 08:20:44 AM EDT
DETROIT -

As the school year starts, now is the perfect time for parents to teach a lesson about cell phone and social media safety.

Experts say too many parents simply hand over a phone to their child without setting guidelines or explaining the dangers they can encounter.

According to research, 22 percent of children ages 6 to 9 have a cell phone. So, it’s never too early to start having conversations about sexting, sending photos out and texting and driving.

Stephanie Ochoa is the social media director at EyeGuardian, an application that monitors content that’s being shared on mobile phones. The app alerts parents if their child is sending inappropriate images, videos or language in texts. It also shows URLs that they’ve visited.

“Parents have been alerted to drug, suicidal speech, you know – all the things we designed it to do. We’ve received a lot of good feedback,” Ochoa said.

Experts say parents need to do three things:

Talk to their children about communication in general with people they don’t know

Check if there is GPS installed on their phones

Talk about the danger of taking pictures of themselves, or having others take them, and then spreading them on social networks.