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Entries in kids cell phone (3)


Who is Really in Charge of Your Child's iPod, Mobile Phone, TV Viewing or Internet Activity?

The Best and the Worst Gift Ever

Last December, with much trepidation on my part, we gave our 8.5 year old twins each an iPod Touch for Christmas.

Not only was I hesitant to spend that much on eight year olds, but I had to think long and hard about giving them a portable device that gave them access to the Internet.

We live in a very different time.
When I was eight the coolest thing I had was call waiting and the ability to conference in a friend…who would then conference in a friend…who would then conference in another friend.

But having 20 kids on a conference call is very different than 20 kids who can take pictures, or trade emails or texts and shoot them to 100 people each within a matter of minutes.

If you make a wrong statement to your friends online, it's out there permanently. A text that says "I don't like that person" still lives a year later. It can still do damage a year later.

All this is reeling around in my mind when my mom says she'll go halvsies on the iPods so then we only have to get one, and my husband is nodding and saying, "take it and call it a day", and before I know it I've agreed to getting them each a $200 device that can basically ruin their life before they've even it puberty!

Here's my own neurotic version of parental controls:
It's my iTunes account on their iPods so I have to approve every app download
YouTube is deleted (have you SEEN the "popular" stuff that pops up when you launch YouTube???)
The do not have an email of their own yet (so they can't Text or use FaceTime either as far as I know)

Learn More about Parent Controls from Cox Cable and John Walk on June 28th

As a Lifetime Moms Affiliate I'm excited to tell you about a Tweet Up on June 28th where a local DC blog friend of mine, Leticia from @TechSavvyMama and the amazing child advocate, John Walsh, will be talking about parental controls and monitoring tools for TV viewing, Internet and mobile phone use as an important component in keeping kids safe.

Join me, @Cox_Comm (Cox Communications), @Techsavvymama and other concerned parents and child advocates on Twitter:

Date: June 28th

Time: 6 - 7 PM

Hashtag:  #CoxTakeCharge

As I was browsing the Cox Take Charge website I found this great list of 10 Tips for Parents About Internet Safety.

The Number One item?

1. Talk with your kids about Internet Safety.
Talk to your kids regularly about what they do online and what they shouldn't do. Research shows that kids whose parents talk to them about Internet safety are less likely to engage in risky behavior while online.

I have started to talk to them regularly mostly because they keep asking when they will get an email and get to text and FaceTime their friends. They might not be happy with the discussion, but I know that my reasons are slowly seeping into their heads. When it IS time for them to start using more functions on their iPods, I hope they will do so responsibly.

What are you doing to ensure your child's safety online?

I'd love to know the steps you have taken.


Disclosure: as a Lifetime Mom affiliate I have been compensated for this post and for helping to spread the word about this Tweet up and the Cox Take Charge cause. All that said, ALL opinions expressed here are my own and are based on true experiences I have documented. This is a cause that is close to my heart. I'm excited to learn more on the 28th!


Internet Safety for Kids: Parental Supervision is not Invasion of Privacy

Last week I attended one day of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) annual conference in Washington, DC as a guest of AT&T and I was shocked. Here are just a few things I learned, and my thoughts regarding this very important issue. Be sure to download the FOSI State of Online Safety report to motivate you to address online safety with your family.

Did you know....

46% of US parents studied, wtih children age 8-17, do not use parental controls.

Study conducted by FOSI and Hart Research


As a mom of young girls who are turning into tweens before my eyes, I know the cell phone / texting thing is not far off. As the wife of a computer expert, my girls are already on their 3rd computer, and they can maneuver around an iPad like anyone's business. They are already on the internet, by themselves, sometimes unsupervised.

Lucky for us, computer expert Dad knows how to install parental controls.


Did you know...

58% of teen internet and cell phone users say their parents have been the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate when using the internet or cell phone.

From a study on Teens, Kindness and Cruelty conducted by Pew Research, FOSI, and Cable in the Classroom

I once heard a wise mom say that just when you want to let go of your teenagers because they are all grown up and self-sifficient, that is when they NEED you the most. They need your guidance, your listening skills, and they need you to continue to set boundaries. This is how they learn how to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly when they are out there in the real world by themselves.

AT&T offers 'smart controls' for TV, Internet and phones help parents create an Internet safety plan along WITH their kids.The biggest issue seems to be getting kids involved in the discussion from the start. No teenager wants to have their parents monitor their texts or online discussions. Yet this is exactly what can help them to understand the importance of thinking before you text, tweet, email, or post. If you don't want your parents to see it, why are you putting it out there on the Internet???


Did you know...

44% of online teens admit to lying about their age so they could access a website or sign up for an online account.

From a study on Teens, Kindness and Cruelty conducted by Pew Research, FOSI, and Cable in the Classroom

Kids need to understand that when you click, "I agree" online, it's as valid as signing your name offline. Be careful what you agree to, and be careful who you share your information with. We learned that 30% of online teens reported sharing one of their passwords with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend. It begs the question, how many teens are not only lying about their age, but about WHO is really behind the online profile? It might not even be the account holder.

We have already had a very serious discussion with our girls about why they cannot sign off on their daily reading log in the space where it says 'parent's signature'. Even if I KNOW they read that night. Even if I forgot to sign it. If I gave them the idea that forging my signature on a homework paper was ok, then it would definitely reduce the importance of an online signature.

Disclosure: I received compensation and attendee pass from AT&T for covering the conference. All opinions are my own and this stuff really does keep me awake at night. This post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published.


Kajeet Giveaway! The kids cell phone that parents love. {Contest CLOSED}

***UPDATE 3/4/09****
This contest is now closed. The winners are:

The three participating blogs eached picked a winner using Then I took those three names and used the List Randomizer from Random. org to come up with the grand prize winner and runners up.

The Grand Prize winner of the Samsung M300 Kajeet Phone goes to....

@auntiethesis from

The runners up and winners of the Kajeet prize packs are....

@minnemom from
Maybe Mama from


Thanks for participating and don't forget, if you didn't win you can still get 15% off the cost of a Kajeet phone by using
promo code: JANINE when you visit!
____________________original post_____________________

Lord knows when the Twofer hit their tween years they will want a cell phone, and frankly, I'm not completely opposed to it. The world can be big and scary and a little crazy, and as a responsible parent with a tendency to be a little neurotic, I'm thinking a cell phone offers some security.

Which is why I'm so happy to have already found Kajeet!

When I first read about Kajeet and explored the website I was really impressed with the level of parental control, and the flexibility of the program. Here's what I liked:


With Kajeet no contract is needed and you can pay-as-you go for $.10 a minute.
But for less than $5 a month you can have 10 minutes of call/text time and if you go over, it's just $.10 a minute as opposed to $.32 a minute most "family plans" charge for overages. See the comparison:

Compare Kajeet's Basic Plan ($4.99/month) to most Family Plans

Parental Controls

Parental controls mean that you can work wi
th your tween/teen to manage when the phone is used (Time Manager), decide what numbers and texts to allow (Contact Manager), and even decide who pays for which phone calls. So calls to Grandma can come out of the parent wallet encouraging more calls to Grandma!
The GPS Phone Locator allows you to find the phone at any time. And all of these controls are easy to manage online.


You can enter to win a Samsung M300 Kajeet phone that will come with a $5.00 credit!

This phone does everything kids want it to do (text, photos, games, etc.) and the Kajeet service has everything you as a parent will love.

What's more, I have 2 Kajeet Gift Sets that will go to two runners up!

Here's how to enter:
Choose 1 of these or do all 4 for 4 chances to win!
1. Leave a comment with your favorite Kajeet feature.
2. Subscribe to this blog (click on the RSS button for posts just above the Kajeet image in the right column)
3. Email this contest to 5 of your friends and cc me: scarytwins at yahoo dot com
4. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter (and leave comment here with link)

**Special Note***
For another view of Kajeet visit my new blog friend Toni's blog, The Happy Housewife, on Thursday (2/26) where you can double your chances of winning and then stop by MommaDJane's Blog on Saturday (2/28) where you can enter AGAIN!

Contest ends Tuesday, March 3rd at 11:59pm. Winners will be chosen by and announced Wednesday, March 4th.

If you don't win the free phone, you can still get 15% off the cost of a Kajeet phone by using this special code at checkout: JN0005

Good luck, and happy phone shopping!