Protecting Young Cell Phone Users from Predators

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says sexual predators are now looking for victims using the cell phone. He urges parents to protect their children in the wireless world. Pat Hernandez has the story.
A recent survey finds nearly 80-percent of teenagers have mobile devices. As a result, an increasing percentage of children are using cell phones to communicate and access the internet.

Greg Abbott : "Ten years ago, parents would worry about the safety and security of the children playing in the neighborhood down the street. Today, the neighborhood that kids play in more than any other neighborhood...is the neighborhood of cyberspace."

Texas AG Greg Abbott says it is a constant learning curve for law enforcement.

"We're now dealing with both child pornography over things like Apple iPods, as well as internet messaging from cell phones, where predators are communicating with teens in that way. So, it is constantly evolving. One of the jobs of law enforcement is to keep up with these ways."

image of Lea Bird speaking at a press conference with AbbottLea Bird with AT&T says parental controls are offered to limit unnecessary usage by young users.

"When it's activated, the media net purchase blocker prevents downloads like ringtones and games. The media net content filter can block the dating or the chat sites that might not be appropriate for children. These two controls can be switched on or off at any time by the parent very easily."

Angela Davis says her daughter is more aware than she was at her age, but she accepts the challenge that every parent faces.

image of Angela Davis"It's actually quite easy to log into your account, just like you would be paying your bill, and you can actually monitor, or put the restrictions on, just as if you were paying your bill. It's very easy and very user ready."

Abbott commended Davis for her diligence, because he realizes law enforcement can do so much.

"We've arrested 104 of these predators, but we recognize were not going to arrest all these predators. The most important tool in keeping children safe is parental involvement. We urge all parents to be involved and making sure that children stay informed and stay safe."

Abbott urges Texas lawmakers to update laws requiring sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses, mobile telephone numbers, social networking aliases and other electronic identification information.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...