As you know, children are getting cell phones at younger ages and it has become apparent that “the talk” parents have with their children surrounding the birds and the bees and stranger danger must now also include mobile safety. The need is clear: according to AT&T’s Mobile Safety study, one in five children say they have received a bullying text message and nearly half know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone.
The AT&T Mobile Safety study questions were designed to examine parents’ concerns and children’s behaviors, and to better understand where gaps in safety awareness exist today. It surveyed 1,000 parents and 500 children, ages 8-17, and uncovered additional mobile device interactions parents may not be comfortable with:
- Almost 70% have answered a call from an unknown number; and
- More than half of kids report they’ve ridden in a car with someone who was texting and driving.
- The average age a child is given their first phone is 12.1; the average age for a child’s first smartphone is 13.8, among those with a phone.
- 48 percent of children ages 12-14 have ridden in a vehicle with someone who was texting while driving. Among those ages 15-17, the percentage of teens who have ridden with a driver who was texting increases to 64 percent.
- One in four teens ages 15-17 have received mean or bullying text messages (compared to nearly one in five reported by both 8- to 11- and 12- to 14-year-olds).
- More than half of teens ages 15-17 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone (compared to 39 percent among those aged 12-14).
- 58 percent of parents say that their mobile phone provider offers tools or resources for parents to address issues like overages, safety, security and monitoring. One in seven is not sure whether they have access to these services.