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Mobile phones are great…aren't they?

mobile; cell; phones; text; messages;


Using a mobile

Mobile phones are a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. (Mobile phones are called cell phones in some parts of the world.)

mobile phones are great!
  • You can call them on their mobile or ring home.
  • You can send and receive text messages. This is a good and cheaper way to contact people who may not be able to answer right away, but they can get your message when they have time to look at their inbox. 
  • You can pass on important information or even take a picture or short video, if your phone has a camera in it. (It's much more expensive to send pictures and videos to someone else though.)
  • Some phones can connect you to the internet, send emails, and let you talk to or message lots of people at once.

Then there are games, a calculator, calendar, organizer, GPS and so on, with more happening every day or so it seems.

Wow! Mobile phones are truly amazing.

They can also be amazingly expensive - so be sure that you and your parents or caregivers know exactly what is included on your phone and how much it all costs.

Be a responsible mobile user

Sometimes mobile phones can be used in a way that really annoys someone or hurts their feelings.

Here are some tips on what not to do.

  • Don't use someone else's phone unless they say it's ok.
  • Text messages are private so don't read messages on someone else's phone.
  • mobile phoneBe careful about what you text to someone. Maybe you are just kidding but think about whether the msg is something you would not like to read yourself. Nasty, hurtful messages are the same as bullying or harassment. This 'cyber-bullying' is against the law and you could be in trouble.
  • Only text people who have given you their numbers.
  • Never text people who have asked you not to text them as that is harassment and illegal (against the law).
  • Always add your name to the text unless you are sure you are on that person's contacts list.
  • Don't pass on anyone's number without their permission.
  • Don't give out your number unless you want that person to contact you.

When it's not OK to use a mobile

We are so used to seeing mobile phones used everywhere these days but sometimes they really need to be switched off.

  1. You need to switch off in places like hospitals and planes where the signal from your mobile could affect machinery, life saving equipment or computers.
    switch off your phone near machinery
  2. You need to switch off when you are in places like theatres, classrooms, lecture theatres, meetings, libraries or any building in which there is a sign showing no mobiles.

Families are important too, so why not switch off your phone at mealtimes and talk to each other.

The other times when it's not ok to use a mobile are really to do with good manners. Talking really loudly on a mobile in a café may feel pretty cool but…everyone else who is forced to listen may not think so. If it is an important call then you should excuse yourself to your friends and go outside to talk.

Anyway, how do you feel if you are with a friend and he or she is talking on her mobile to someone else the whole time?

Your phone can be switched to silent mode so that you can still get any messages without making your friends feel unimportant.

Keep yourself safe

Mobiles are great if you remember to keep yourself safe.
Have them switched on if you are alone or walking alone.

If you are being cyber-bullied then:

  • Save the messages into the saved messages box with the time and date.
  • Text the bullies and tell them to stop.
  • If they keep texting or calling turn off your phone.
  • Tell an adult straight away.
  • Show the messages to a responsible adult like a parent or teacher. You can notify your service provider who will have some advice such as blocking that number, or if necessary, changing your number.
  • You can notify the school if it is someone from school. Your school has a policy on bullying, and cyber-bullying is included in it.
  • Your parents or caregivers can notify the Police if the bullying continues. Even if the bully is blocking his name they will be able to find out who it is. That's why it's important to save the messages.
  • Remember that cyber-bullying is against the law.

If you know of someone who is harassing someone in this way then you and your friends can let the person know that you think it's uncool and cowardly. Often kids will stop bullying if they think others will dob them in or not want to be friends with them.


A good tip - ICE - 'In case of emergency

The students at a school in Adelaide suggested this as a good tip for you. Do you have ICE numbers on your phone?

  • ICE stands for 'In Case of Emergency'. You could list your parents or caregivers, with who they are, eg Mum, Dad, Aunt etc, so that if you need help people such as emergency services or the police can contact them more easily.

What kids say

  • "My brother got a 3 page text about really disturbing and gross things. I think it was meant for someone else because it started "Um yeh I get that." My mum sent a text back saying, "I don't know who you wanted to send txt to but it ended up on the phone of a 9 yr old child!"
  • "I heard that some kids sent a threatening txt to an athlete and the Police came to their school to talk to them. They thought it was a joke and no one would know. Wrong!"
  • "My friend got a camera phone and was sending pics to everyone. His mum took it off him when she saw the bill. It was huge!"
  • "I use my phone to call mum when I'm finished at sports training or at a friend's place, then she can pick me up."
  • "My friends and me are all with the same mobile company so we can talk for ages to each other without it costing anything."

Here are some short texts which you can use to save space in text messages.

msg message
Txt text
Wru? Where are you?
cul See you later
Wyd? What are you doing?
lol Laugh out loud (or lots of love)
luvu I love you
jj Just joking
jk Just kidding
Thx   or tnx thanks
gd good


Got to go
omg Oh my god
kl cool
brb Be right back
hw homework
dw Don't worry
nw No worries
cya See you
u you

There are lots more.

Remember that if you use all capital letters it's like SHOUTING at someone, and rather RUDE!

Dr Kim says

Dr KimMobiles are a great way to communicate but they can be a nuisance to you and others around you. You can leave a message that you are busy and then switch it to off or silent so that you can catch up when you have time.  

Dr KateMobiles can be very expensive and some kids have got huge bills because they didn't really understand the charges. Your parents or caregivers are responsible for the bills so make sure that you are doing the right thing or you could be the only kid in your group without a mobile…for a very long time! Having a phone card is a good way to go because if you run out of credit that's it!


Here is an Australian Government website which can help you and your family learn more about using mobile phones and the internet:

phone bill

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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