Advertising + Cell Phones X Kids = problems waiting to happen.

This is a Consumer Alert! To all Parents of children who have cell phones.X-(Today I discovered that a company called http://www.FunChatting.com was sending sexually suggestive text messages to my 11 year old son’s cell phone. They send these messages several times per day, and for each message that they send, or to which you reply, they charge you $1.99 to your wireless bill. My 11 year old son states that he unknowingly subscribed to the service when he saw a TV advertisement on the FOX network while he was watching cartoons. The Advertisement instructed him to send a text message to a code number and enter the word “FUN” – what kid watching cartoons could resist that? Well, since that time he has been exposed to scores of age inappropriate lewd text messages, and I am stuck with a very large cell phone bill. When I contacted my cell phone company they said that I would have to pay the entire bill, and that the FCC laws prohibited them from blocking the unsolicited expensive text messages. This is criminal! Shame on TV networks for allowing this company to advertise to our children who are watching cartoons! Shame on our wireless providers for sticking us with charges we did not authorize! Shame on FunChatting.com for praying upon our children and not verifying if the subscriber is 18 years of age or older, or if the subscriber is responsible for the bill!

BlogSafety Community: This is a Consumer Alert! To all …

Just a FYI mixed with a head shake & a “dear oh dear”

Cell Phones are such a mixed blessing. Really– there is no need for a child to have a cell phone for casual use. No need at all. I understand the need for an 11 latch-key kid to have a phone for emergency use only. I understand the need for an 11 year old kid to need a phone for emergency use with parents. I do not understand the need for an 11 year old to have texting abilities or unlimited use.

Perhaps I’m old fashioned and missing the whole point of cell-phones + kids = future. I don’t dig that. Structure. Kids need structure. They’ll endevour to live outside the box… good– makes them work for dreams, and dream of their own future.

Empowerment has to have some sort of definition to it. I do not believe that giving a kid a cell phone is empowerment. I believe giving kids a voice to express their views in a way that parents & adults listen is great. Cell phones = trouble waiting to happen.

My parents monitored my use of our HOME phone… the one that sat in the kitchen… the phone that allowed them to 1/2 listen to my convos. When I was 16 I got a phone in my room and a phone in my car (totally zach morris). My dad is insurance– he knows 16-year-olds & cars. I was allowed to use it strictly for emergency. By the time I was 18 I used it leisurely. But they still saw the bill, and how regularly I was using it. They still got mad at me when I called my boyfriend more than was needed (they didnt’ mind the “Hey, ***, I’m on my way now” kind of calls. But an 18 year old using a car cell phone is a lot different then an 11 year old with the ability to text people casually.

Come on, people… some traditional/old fogie things are still acceptible and necessary.

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  1. janet huntsinger
    March 26, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    My pre-teen has signed up for funchatting.com and flycell. I had the cell phone company block all text messaging on the phone and now they tell me that I will still get charged for subscriptions unless I unsubscribe. The only way to unsubscribe is through text messaging from the phone. I’ve spent long periods of time going in circles on the phone numbers listed on my bill with not luch reaching a live person. What should I do now!?!?!?

  2. March 26, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Hi, Janet!!

    I think the biggest thing is to sit down with your tween and talk about why’s and what naughts of texting. Best thing is– stay open for conversation, but remain strong. Sometimes it’s hard with the crazy amount of knowledge kids have regarding new technology… bottom line is– you’re paying for it.

    I would suggest cancelling all text functions on the phone with your provider, and if that requires you to take the cell phone and text/cancel it– that’s you’re right. If you’re confused/weirded out by the phone, take it to the provider’s store and ask for help.

    If your tween still uses the texts options it will charge you every time. That’s breaking the rules. You then have a valid options to chat with your tween about money & paying for things, etc. They should feel lucky to have a phone in the first place– they’re young and it’s a privilege/emergency-only tool. Respect & responsibilities come along with having a phone.

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