There are tons of things we could choose to complain about with children having such easy access to technology—wasting time on games, social networking, sending hundreds of text messages a month, and talking or chatting for hours on end. Yet, even with all of these disadvantages, there are still some incredibly beneficial features that technology offers. In particular, they offer parents multiple ways to monitor the safety of their children.
To illustrate how technology can play a role in physical safety, I want to share a story. Just the other day I had an interesting experience. My best friend received a call from the mom of one of her roommates. The mom couldn’t get a hold of her daughter, who she normally talks to everyday. She asked my friend to check their apartment and find out what was going on. No other roommates had seen or heard from her since that morning. When we arrived at the apartment, we found that her car was still there and her cell phone was sitting on her bed.
Only her keys seemed to be missing. Using her abandoned cell phone, we found the names of all the people she had called or texted and contacted them to find out if she was with them. We came up empty handed and were about to go on a door-to-door search in the apartment building when we noticed that her laptop was also missing. In that moment, we finally deduced where she probably was—in the clubhouse studying. And sure enough, there she was!
This experience just illustrates the various ways in which our reliance on technology affects our lives. First of all, if she had taken her phone with her, there would have never even been a problem. And actually, the fact that she had haphazardly left her phone at home made the circumstances become all the more dramatic, such is our dependence on cell phones in contemporary culture. Only ten years ago, if someone went missing for a few hours without their cell phone, there would have been far less drama. But in this day and age, it’s almost heresy to walk out of the house without your phone.
If you forget to take it with you one day, you feel as if you have one arm tied behind your back. However, even without her phone, reliance on technology gave us a clue as to what my friend’s roommate was doing, and therefore where she could be. Since she didn’t have her phone with her, at least she had another piece of technology, her laptop. And since computers seem almost lifeless without the Internet, we knew she had to be close.
Both phones and computers can play essential roles in safety. And not only because they can usually provide instant contact with someone, but because they provide other information as well. We used the cell phone of my friend’s roommate to find out who she had been speaking to and were able to contact them directly. Many phones, and even computers, come with tracking devices or can have them installed. All of these technology tools are truly important assets in keeping your children safe.
They are by no means able to replace the widespread emergency programs in place, such as the AMBER alert.
However, access to social networking systems and other news sources may actually play an important role in spreading an AMBER alert, for example. So next time you threaten to take away your child’s phone or computer, think carefully about it. There are many ways to set parental controls on your technology—which is a topic for another article—so you may never have to completely disconnect your child from their technology. Just in case.
About the Author:
Natalie Clive writes for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers and helps prospective students determine if an online education is right for them. By helping them understand which online courses and online schools they qualify for, students can have the opportunity to receive a quality education.
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