Do you remember learning how to use the phone when you were a child? You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but your parents were teaching you safety skills. It’s time to impart some of those same lessons to your own children. As cell phones have become more common, there is an average of two or more phones per household. Teaching your child simple phone rules will help to ensure not only their safety, but the security of your family and possessions. Here are five lessons that every child should be taught when it comes to the phone.
If you watch the news or read the paper, chances are that you’ve seen a story about a toddler saving the life of a parent or grandparent simply by dialing 911. This is one of the first lessons that your child should learn. It’s not enough for your toddler to know the three numbers, they must practice dialing! Tape the receiver button down and let your child practice pushing the numbers. Make sure that your child understands that 911 is for emergencies only. Provide examples of when it is okay to dial the emergency line so that your toddler is prepared.
Young children should be taught to never reveal any information to a stranger over the phone. A young child on the phone can be a jackpot for a potential criminal. Make sure that your young one understands that they should never give their name, address, or other information to someone whose voice they don’t recognize.
If you permit your child to answer the phone when you aren’t at home, be sure that they know what to say. Your child should never tell someone that you aren’t home. Instead, teach your child to tell people that you are busy or aren’t able to come to the phone right now. This will give people the impression that you are home and ensure the safety of your children.
If your youngster hasn’t learned how to write, have them ask the person to call back later. Relying on a four or five year old to accurately remember a message will only lead to frustration.
Every child has a different level of maturity and responsibility. It is up to you to know if your child is mature enough to answer the phone. If you don’t feel that they are, lay down some rules of the house when it comes to the phone. For instance, you may make it a rule that your child is only allowed to answer the phone when a familiar name or number is displayed on the caller ID. Make sure your child understands that they are not permitted to answer the phone if they don’t recognize the name or number.
Decide on five important phone numbers and set them on speed dial. These can be the numbers of close relatives, neighbors, or even trusted family friends. Write the names and speed dial numbers of these people on a large sheet of paper and post the paper near the phone. Teach your child how to use the speed dial feature on your phone. These numbers can be handy in situations that don’t require 911.
Teaching your child phone safety is a great way to ensure their security. Youngsters don’t understand that not everyone on the other end of the line is a friend. By teaching your kids what information to keep to themselves, when it’s permissible to answer the phone, and how to dial 911, you can help keep your whole family safer.
Guest writer Victor Converse is a private investigator and freelance blogger. There are a lot of tools in the information age to help you learn what you need to know. One of his favorites is the very useful Reverse Phone directory reversephonelookup.org.