Monday, March 1, 2010

"Sexting" and cell phone use

Our next Kohl's a Minute for Kids campaign topic is "sexting" and responsible use of cell phones.

One of the big decisions parents face as their children get older is whether or not to get them a cell phone. After all, if they have a cell phone, they can stay in touch with you and their friends, you can reach them when you need them and, besides, most kids have cell phones these days. Children may start asking for a cell phone by age 10 or even younger.

Before saying "yes" to your child’s wish for a cell phone, make sure you understand the risks. One of the greatest risks is "sexting," or sending text messages with pictures of children or teens, who are naked or engaged in sexual acts.

Greg Ramey, PhD, a child psychologist at Dayton Children’s and Dayton Daily News columnist, points to sexting as one of the greatest risks of preteen and teen cell phone use. "Kids this age are totally unaware that such pictures can constitute child pornography and can result in criminal prosecution and designation as a sexual predator," he says. This can result in emotional pain for the sender, the receiver and the child in the picture.

For tips to protect your child from "sexting" and how to approach responsible cell phone usage visit our Kohl's A Minute of Kids microsite.

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