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Text Bombing: What Parents Need to Know

By Dr. Vicki PanaccioneJanuary 30, 2014

text bombText Bombing:  What Parents Need to Know

Well, another month and another “latest” danger I have to share with you regarding your kids’ technology.  This one is called text bombing, and it’s another app in the arsenal of ways to cyberbully.  There are countless free apps that can be downloaded for the express purpose of sending multiple copies of the same text…up to 10,000 times!  Now, you may imagine that this could be a harmless prank, or even a romantic notion.  But for the cyberbully, it’s an effective way to torment someone.  Fifteen year-old Danielle Cox was tormented hundreds of times with texts, including, “I won’t miss you,” You’re not important,” and “Just end it already.”  These text bombs were influential in Danielle taking her life in 2011.

Text bombing is also used to seek revenge on an “ex.”  A jilted lover can post a phone number on a social site and encourage people to text bomb the “bum.”  Not only can receiving 100’s or 1000’s of text bombs be emotionally distressing, but it can also cost money or even break the phone.

The only real reason to have a text bomb app on a phone is to send multiple messages.  If you see SMSBOMBER OR SMSBARRAGE on your kid’s phone, beware!  And while the Google app store has banned text- bombing apps, they can still be found all over the Internet, just by doing a Google search. The good news:  There are also spam-blocking apps to prevent text bombing, such as Text Bomb Defender and NumberCop.

The bottom line is that technology is changing and apps are increasing at a rate way beyond that of which you or I would want to keep track.  And, I don’t think you have to be the internet police…just a local traffic cop of your kids’ particular programs, apps and social sites.  That means monitoring where they are going, who they are talking to and which programs and apps they are downloading on their various devices.  I suggest that you do an app check on a fairly regular yet unpredictable basis, so that your kids will know you are being vigilant, but won’t know exactly when you will be checking.

  • When you check your kids’ phones/devices, they should be able to tell you what each app is used for, whether there was/is a charge and how it was paid for.
  • Anything they say that they don’t really use or aren’t sure about should be deleted.  Any apps that you are not familiar with should be easily explained and demonstrated to you by the possessor of that app.
  •  Additionally, regular checking of their access settings on social media sites should also be conducted, in order to prohibit unknown users to have access to your kids’ information and/or posts.
  • Furthermore, a review of their photo gallery will show you whether they are being responsible or irresponsible with the images they choose to capture for perpetuity.

On-going conversations need to be the norm regarding advancement of technology.  Your kids really need to understand that anything they put in digital form can be shared with the world.  There are countless examples on the Internet of arrests, ruined reputations, job firings and even suicides based on posts, photos or text messages that ended up where they weren’t meant to be.

Kids have been suspended or expelled from school for videos that show up, comments that have been made or photos that were posted on supposedly “private” chat rooms or social sites.  Your kids really need to understand that nothing seems to be private anymore!  And, don’t forget that with the easy access to video and digital photography, a quick click on a phone could record something that you or your kids would prefer to remain private.  Just look on YouTube to find movies of underage kids smoking, drinking or doing drugs…now able to be used against them in a court of law.

It is debatable in this day and age as to if/when kids need to have a phone and which phone model they are needing to have.  I won’t debate the convenience of having a mobile device…I will, however, argue about which functions your kids need to have on their devices.  Any phone with a camera, Internet access and app download capability can be very dangerous in the hands of your kids.  If you don’t want your youngsters to have unsupervised, unlimited access to anything and everything, and the capability of getting themselves into legal trouble or physical danger, give serious consideration to the devices you allow them to have.  Because, basically, as Steven Woda of uknowkids.com commented, “When you give a child or teenager a cell phone or computer of any type, you are giving them limitless power to do good or to do harm.”

 

AUTHOR OVERVIEW

Child Psychologist and Parenting Expert

Dr. Vicki Panaccione has been called, “The World’s Expert in Parenting,” and “The Oprah Winfrey of Families.” She is an internationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, parent coach, best-selling author and radio personality who has dedicated her 25 year career working with 100’s of children and helping 1000’s of parents raise happy, successful kids…and enjoy the ride! Visit her online at http://www.betterparentinginstitute.com/.

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One Response

  1. mohammad says:

    hey this website has helped me alot. i used this info on my teenage kids

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