Keeping Your Children Safe From Cell Phone Scams
By Carl Carlson
When cell phones first appeared, they were a clumsy product with little mass-market appeal, and for some time they remained an accessory to up and coming business moguls. As technology has advanced, however, resulting in the creation of neater and more compact cell phone handsets, their appeal had broadened significantly. Today an enormous percentage of cell phone users are under eighteens, as parents purchase handsets with safety matters in mind, and older teenagers work part time jobs to earn enough to purchase the highly coveted devices. And while cell phones provide parents and kids alike with a useful communication tool, there are the unscrupulous sectors of society who wish to use the growing prevalence of cell phones among the youthful population to make a quick buck for themselves.
Part of the joy of being a child is the carelessness that youth allows. Children dont, and shouldnt have to, worry about adult things, but rather than lauding and supporting this time of innocence, there are elements of corporate America that wish to take advantage of it. By exploiting the very natural desire of children to fit in with their peers, companies use aggressive television and Internet advertising campaigns to urge kids to procure a certain product. Some of these products, at least, are expensive enough to require parental intervention, which acts as some kind of protection, but others are affordable by those with pocket money. One of these products is ringtones.
Ringtones have reached the status of fashion accessory in our society, and as such, kids want to have the popular ones as soon as they become popular. With carefully placed advertising campaigns, ringtone providers reach the young audience to whom these sounds
appeal, but with clever sign up clauses included in the small print, children and young adults sign up for the tunes they like without realising they are committing to a more long-term agreement. Soon they are losing chunks of their pre-paid credit, purchased by hard working parents or paid for with equally hard earned pocket money, in order to continue a contract that they were lured into.
Ringtones are undoubtedly a cool way for young people to customize their phones and express their burgeoning identities, and the appeal of these sounds to the young population is highly understandable. While parents should perhaps pay close attention to their childrens cell phone use, it is time that ringtone companies stopped taking advantage of the unformed minds of children.
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