For the majority of children and teenagers, the cell phone is the main connection to their social outlets, but we believe the majority do not realize the dangerous situations or individuals that mobile can expose them to. Both parental involvement and education will make a difference in combating these risks.
Dublin, Ireland (PRWEB) May 26, 2008
AdaptiveMobile, http://www.adaptivemobile.com, the leading provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, today issued a warning to parents to be aware of the risks and hidden dangers the mobile environment poses to children. The company is making this announcement to commemorate National Missing Children's Day, to honor the estimated 800,000 children that go missing each year, more than 2,000 per day. The dangers in unrestricted internet usage is well known among US parents, and AdaptiveMobile wants parents to be aware that cell phones can allow predators and strangers to have almost unrestricted access to their children via social networking sites, texting and MMS. In one recent chilling example, a 14 year old girl in the US was sexually assaulted by a man who contacted her through her a profile she posted by cell phone on a mobile social networking site.
Many of the guidelines for child protection and safety overlook the cell phone and focus on the computer, but doing so can have dire consequences for children. In a 2007 survey, AdaptiveMobile found that children access the internet from their phones an average of nine times per day, often without their parents' knowledge. AdaptiveMobile is highlighting the following risks for parents:
- Mobile social networking sites - sites like Bebo and Facebook are easily accessed by cell phone, allowing children to communicate freely with both friends and strangers alike. The mobile environment is increasingly becoming a haven for predators who recognize that the lack of controls works to their benefit.
- Text messaging - many teenagers are most active on SMS, or text, after 10:00 p.m., and parents are many times unaware of this activity. Texting has become a means by which predators reach children, using the cell phone numbers that children and teenagers often post on their personal web pages or social networking sites. In March of this year, an Air Force employee based in Colorado was arrested after sending inappropriate text messages to a decoy he thought was a teenage girl under the age of 15.
- MMS - Even if mobile internet capabilities are disabled, children can still send images using their camera phone and MMS. In the US this year, a number of young teenagers were caught taking nude photos of themselves and sending them to friends' cell phones. In a few cases, these images were passed on to outsiders and ended up on the Internet, viewed by adults.
- Mobile internet - there are virtually no controls inherent in mobile phones, leaving children free to surf sites like YouTube, mobile pornography and sites advocating violence, gambling and alcohol and drug use.
AdaptiveMobile is committed to warning US parents of the dangers involved with mobile so that they can provide the safest possible experience for their children.
"Children and teenagers are, by nature, the fastest adopters of technology and mobile is no different," said Lorcan Burke, CEO of AdaptiveMobile. "For the majority of children and teenagers, the cell phone is the main connection to their social outlets, but we believe the majority do not realize the dangerous situations or individuals that mobile can expose them to. Both parental involvement and education will make a difference in combating these risks."
What parents can do:
- Understand the risks and dangers in the mobile environment
- Communicate openly with your children on what is acceptable behavior on the cell phone
- Work with your mobile service provider to block certain web sites, technologies and access from outsiders to your child's phone
Today's children and teenagers use their cell phones as a sophisticated communications tool, many times bypassing their parents in terms of knowledge of what the phone can do. Parents should not let this learning curve frighten them or cause them to restrict the use of what is a powerful outlet and safety device. The mobile operator is a natural first step for education and for advising parents on how to put safety controls in place. The next crucial step is establishing open, regular communication with your children on the dangers of the mobile environment. This will let your children know of your concerns for their safety and why they need to be careful of what they do on their cell phone.
C&E Creative for AdaptiveMobile
anne @ cecreativepr.com
AdaptiveMobile is the leading mobile security provider of unified customer protection for enterprises and individuals. The company offers comprehensive proactive protection from the increasingly prominent threat of mobile viruses, malware, inappropriate content, unsolicited communications and spam at a corporate and consumer level. AdaptiveMobile's software works across all mobile and wireless bearers, for all technologies including messaging, internet and video.
AdaptiveMobile was founded in 2003 and boasts some of the world's largest mobile operators as customers and the leading security and telecom equipment vendors as partners. The company is headquartered in Dublin with offices in the North America, Europe, South Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
More information is available at http://www.adaptivemobile.com