Teach kids cellphone use dos and don’ts

Q: Like many parents, I have been following the story of the girl in British Columbia who committed suicide after being abused for years by her classmates. That story hits too close to home. I have seen some of the text messages that have been sent to my daughter and even though they were not as devastating as were those sent to the B.C. girl, I was horrified. I would like to do something to stop this stuff and protect both my daughter and other kids but I do not know what to do. What do you suggest?

A: Support your daughter’s self-confidence and don’t let her fall into the despair we saw in B.C.

I am not sure you alone can change the overall impact cellphones are having on our youth. You need to work with others in your community.

The explosion of cellphones caught everyone from counsellors to educators to parents off guard. Cellphones managed to swamp the interest of youth before we had a code of conduct in place guiding their use.

Some schools have tried to teach the dos and don’ts of texting with limited success.

The police and the courts are also not having much success.

You and your neighbours could organize a community committee to work with teachers and the police to create a code of conduct for cellphone use. A number of such codes are posted on the internet.

Having a code of conduct is not going to change the behaviour of youth, but if everyone works together in encouraging youth and modelling appropriate cellphone use, positive change is possible.

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