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Parental Controls on Cell Phones

Although a cell phone is a great way to keep in touch with your child and ensure that they are safe, there are other aspects of cell phone use that can jeopardize your child's safety. This is why some of the major cell phone providers have provided parents with tools that give them control over what their children can access and what is off limits.

In addition to keeping children safe on the Internet, cell phone use poses a whole new security risk with news reports of children sending explicit text messages and photos ("sexting"), not to mention running up outrageous bills and downloading programs that may be laced with malware.

If you know some of the types of parental controls for cell phones that are available you can choose the ones that are appropriate for you and your child.

Smart Limits

This is a parental control that you can access through an AT&T plan that allows parents to limit the number of text messages and downloads for a specific time frame. It also provides a way to restrict the time of day the phone can be used, configure a list of who can be called, identify specific text message recipients, and restrict access to certain content on the Internet.

Radar

This is a monitoring installation that allows parents to keep track of incoming and outgoing calls, email messages, text and photo messages, phone calls from people who are not on the list, and a GPS feature that allows you to track your child's location. Radar can be controlled via the Radar website where you can also find the application for download.

Chaperone

This is an application that is provided by Verizon which allows parents to monitor their child's location from a remote computer or a mobile phone. The parental control allows you to set specific geographical boundaries with a feature that will alert you via a text message if your child leaves the area. The application will also allow you to periodically check your child's location to track their whereabouts during different times of the day. The system provides you information on their whereabouts via maps and text messages.

Firefly

This is a cell phone that is specifically designed for children aged 12 and under. The device contains five buttons for sending and ending calls with a PIN protected phone book that parents can program to add specific callers. There is also call screening that will only allow incoming calls from numbers that are programmed in the phone book. It does not contain all of the features of an adult sized phone and is designed to be user-friendly for smaller children. The phone is offered by Cingular.

These are only a few of the parental controls that exist for cell phones. Cell phone providers have been carefully listening to parent's concerns and as a result, are working to design more controls. There are additional controls that you can find online and in cell phone plans that will serve different needs for your child's cell phone safety.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.