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Use Taser Technology on Your Kids

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How far will you go to monitor your kids' cell phone use?

Taser Technology

Lori Getz: In the last decade, Taser International has been a leader in innovative technology for law enforcement. Their mission is simple: "Protect Life." Now they are bringing that innovation to parenting.

With 75 percent of teens (ages 12 to 17) having cell phones, sexting, driving while texting, and cyber-bullying via cell phone are quickly becoming ubiquitous in their lives.

The statistics are staggering:

  • More than 20 percent of teens have admitted to sending naked pictures of themselves.
  • 1 in 7 kids admitted to receiving pornography on their phone.
  • 1 in 3 kids said they had engaged in sexting (either as the sender or receiver).
  • 2 out of 5 kids said they had been bullied on their cell phone.
Teen drivers are twice as likely to be injured or killed if they regularly text while driving. At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, Taser rolled out their new mobile-phone parental controls system called "Protector." Protector (also known as Taser's Family Safety Platform) can be installed on any smart phone, including the iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile, and it allows parents to screen calls, text messages, and even allows them (with a hardware addition to their car) to prevent their kids from texting or calling while the car is in motion.

Phone calls and text messages are received by the parent first, then the parent can choose to release the call to the child, deny access, or even permanently block the user from calling or texting. And children, beware ... if you ignore your parents, they can jump into your current call and speak to you directly (it kind of reminds me of the days my mom would pick up the receiver and interrupt my phone conversation after she grew tired of my ignoring her yelling at me through the door).

The software is not yet available, but is coming soon. It is believed to cost about $20.00 per month per account.

Some critics are questioning whether or not this is overparenting. I recently spoke with two parents who did not agree with the critics. They are concerned about their 14-year-old son's iPhone use. He was using the smart phone to download and send pornography to classmates. The parents had spoken with him about their feeling about inappropriate use and ultimately took the iPhone away (hindering his ability to communicate with peers and his parents). The parents were at a loss.

For now, they have decided to get their son a new cell phone without texting or an Internet capability, but they believe they would reinstate his smart phone use if they had an option such as Protector.

I also spoke with a 15-year-old boy that had texted a nude photo of himself to his girlfriend that was subsequently forwarded to the entire high school.

"It absolutely would have stopped me!" he said, with the utmost conviction. "It's weird, having your privacy totally violated like that, but I think I would have been happier never going through the humiliation of having that picture spread around school."

We all know that hindsight is 20/20 -- and teenagers have a difficult time understanding abstract consequences. Until it happens to them, they have a hard time seeing the potential damage. But as parents, we have to ask ourselves: How far do we want to go to impede their ability to make decisions? So parents, the technology is here. How will you use it?

next: New Mass. Law Forces Tooth Brushing in Day Care
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous January 19, 2010, 6:14 PM

Who cares about sexting? If parents want to keep their kids from doing things like that, they shouldn’t get them an iPhone in the first place. They make phones like Firefly for kids to communicate with parents if that’s what they’re after. I’m 19, but I’m pretty sure people survived up until recently without getting their kids cell phones for their thirteenth birthday…just learn to say no.

parent place February 5, 2010, 5:53 PM

I just read a couple of articles on Taser Texting Teens. Well my kids are grown now, so, I don’t have much of a problem about texting. Whatever they text is their business now. But, I have to say I am not really sure about this new “tech” I think it is a good thing to keep up with your children though. Watching what you teens do is simple, and forgive me, but, spying the old fashioned way is best. I have spyed on their cells when they were not around, and hubbys too. I know I sound like a hypocrite, but, I think spying has gone to far. It is a good thing to be protective, but, I think Big Brother is really the root cause of this new “tech” in the long run.

Allie March 29, 2011, 6:21 AM

I totally agree with the first comment here. people did survived without the mobile phones earlier. I don’t think its essential to buy cell phones for your kids. Allie from Android Development.

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