Mobile phones have allowed individuals of all ages to stay connected and communicate with ease. Today, more than 75% of U.S. teens and an increasing number of younger children use mobile phones. This technology has become a key part of our daily lives, enabling us to complete tasks remotely that were once relegated to our homes or workplaces.

With the benefits of smartphones also come risks, and it is important to be aware of how to lessen these threats, particularly when it comes to young people. That’s why AT&T joined with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon to work with CTIA on creating “A Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones” by ConnectSafely. The guide is also available in Spanish.

As a major cellphone carrier, we are committed to empowering our customers to use their devices safely and responsibly. However, we also want parents to feel informed and empowered when it comes to helping their kids make safe choices on mobile phones.

Addressing mobile safety is a dynamic and situational choice for each family that will fluctuate as children mature. “A Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones” aims to make navigating the mobile ecosystem simpler for parents. This guide addresses key topics such as: a child’s first phone; helping kids protect their safety, privacy and security; and parental controls. We also include a user-friendly “Cellphone Safety Checklist” and tips for smartphone users of all ages.

As a major cellphone carrier, we are committed to empowering our customers to use their devices safely and responsibly. However, we also want parents to feel informed and empowered when it comes to helping their kids make safe choices on mobile phones.

In addition to our effort on the mobile phone guide, we have been busy collaborating with a variety of partners on other online and mobile safety initiatives that focus on educating and empowering consumers to protect themselves, use technology responsibly and maintain a positive digital reputation.

Examples of some of our trusted third party partnerships include:

  • Common Sense Media: Common Sense Media provides AT&T customers with digital literacy materials available online. In addition, AT&T collaborated with Common Sense Media in the development of a digital footprint curriculum for Aspire Mentoring Academy – our key community engagement program focused on high school  success leading to college and career readiness.
  • Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI): AT&T sponsors FOSI’s annual conference that convenes thought leaders to discuss the latest developments in online safety and privacy issues. We also support A Platform for Good, a project of FOSI, which encourages good digital citizenship, online behavior and using technology for positive change. Together, we’re working on a new direct-text program to reach parents with the It Can Wait® message to never text and drive.
  • iKeepSafe: AT&T supported a program by iKeepSafe and the Harvard Center on Media and Child Health to create privacy-related curricula for youth called BEaPRO™, which launched as a Facebook app for parents. We also fund iKeepSafe in the development of a program, in conjunction with LULAC and Dialogue on Diversity, to enhance the Latino community’s digital literacy and the benefits of being connected, including digital citizenship, online safety and managing online reputation.
  • National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA): In addition to sponsoring their annual Data Privacy Day, we also support Stay-Safe-Online, which is a public/private partnership dedicated to education and awareness initiatives to help keep sensitive information more safe and secure online and encourage a culture of cybersecurity.

If you’d like to learn more about AT&T’s consumer education and empowerment initiatives, check out our http://about.att.com/content/csr/home/people/consumer-safety.html page for more information.

 

About the Author

Andrea Brands

Director, Consumer Safety and Education

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Since she began her career more than 20 years ago, Andrea Brands has had a varied career that includes high-level positions in government, political and corporate communications and public affairs – largely in the Chicago area of Illinois. She spearheads consumer education programs that include driver safety (AT&T’s anti-texting-while-driving campaign, It Can Wait) and online safety, where she has developed educational outreach programs for students, parents, external organizations, communities and seniors. Just recently, Ms. Brands was named AT&T’s first Director of Consumer Safety & Education, dedicated to empowering consumers with tools and information to help them use technology safely and efficiently.

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