Cell Phones and Handheld Devices

We live in the era of the smartphone, with the market currently split between Apple iPhones and Google-based Androids. One of the hallmarks of a smartphone is that the capabilities of such a phone rival powerful laptops of even a few years back. That includes high-resolution graphics and web surfing capability.

As a parent, when you consider providing your youngster with a cell phone, think about it as a powerful but highly compact laptop computer. Then apply to it everything we’ve talked about in this chapter about pornography, and add a significant aspect of portability, mobility, and 24/7 connectivity independent of location. Keep in mind that smartphones have dramatically fewer protection mechanisms than laptops. It’s generally a really bad idea to put that kind of computing power and high-resolution graphics into the hands of your child.

Now add to the mix the presence of a camera and the ability to send and receive graphic images from other cell phone users, and we get something called “sexting.” It’s very much what it sounds like (we’ll talk about this more in Chapter 7: Cell Phones and Mobile Devices). Sexting is currently an epidemic and is the epitome of user-generated and dynamically shared content for teenagers today. My recommendation is that you should consider very carefully before placing such power into the hands of an adolescent.

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