Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is being done to help educate children and young people about the safe use of their mobile?

The best education is in the home. Parents who guide and encourage their children to be responsible users of technology will not go wrong.

Your School Community Police Officer (SCPO) also has a role to play. The officers visit schools regularly and as part of Personal and Social Education (PSE) deliver lessons dealing with personal safety which includes safe use of the Internet and mobile phones. As part of their supportive policing role they will also deal with issues such as bullying by text and seek to restore good relationships between pupils and others. There is lots of help available on the Internet. You or your child can visit CEOP or WISE KIDS as well as your service providers’ websites.


2. Is it safe for my child to play games on their mobile?

Playing games on line is really popular. Games are now Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) which basically means that the games have endless players and that the game never comes to an end.  Children and young people can play and communicate with other gamers from all over the world! It is worth remembering that other players may be adults. Also remember to set boundaries and rules about acceptable usage. It is very tempting to keep on playing! A screen should not be the last thing they see before sleeping!


3. I don’t understand the ‘jargon’ used. What does it all mean?

Apps - an abbreviation for application. An app is a piece of software. It can run on the Internet, on your computer, or on your phone or other electronic device.

BBN SMS Messenger - is a web based tool for sending short messages to mobile phones. It is built for everybody to send instant SMS to family, friends, colleagues, classmates, etc. The messages can be broadcast to many people.

Blog – is short for web log, a blog is a web page where people can post their opinions. Blogs can be updated daily with text, pictures and videos, and allow readers to post their own comments.

Bluetooth is a method for mobiles to communicate with each other and is often used to swap information, ringtones or personal details from mobile to mobile.

Cameraphone/videophone - Most mobiles have built in cameras that can snap photos or video, to send to other mobile users or upload to the Internet.

Chatroom – is an online meeting place where people can exchange messages.

Content Locks – are systems which automatically bar all mobiles from accessing 18-rated material.

Location-based services – are a way for the location of a mobile phone to be identified.

MMS/picture messaging- is the Multimedia Messaging Service like SMS or texting, but you can add pictures or video to messages.

Personal profile – is personal information that you can make visible to other people in chatrooms, blogs, instant messaging services and community sites. Children should ensure only people they know have access to their personal profile, and should avoid revealing personal details such as their full name, address or mobile phone number.

Post – are texts or photographs and videos that are placed on a website such as a social networking site.

Shortcodes – are normally a three, four or five digit phone number that's often used for premium rate text services - such as TV text voting.

SMS/texting – is a Short Messaging Service text that can be sent between mobiles.

Spam - is junk texts or emails that you haven't asked to receive.

WAP – is a Wireless Application Protocol, the technology used by many phones to access the mobile Internet


4. Is my child too young to have a Facebook account?


Your child should be 13 years of age in order to set up a Facebook account.  If you allow younger children to use sites such as Facebook you are not breaking the law but you are breaking Facebook’s terms and conditions. 

There are good reasons for having such an age restriction. Users of Facebook are predominantly adults and as a result the content is adult.  There is however, a fine balance to be achieved. If you ban your child from the site they may set up an account you know nothing about – and consequently will be vulnerable as you are not able to monitor them.

The best thing is to discuss with your child the age it would be appropriate for them to be on a social networking site. Talk about the risks and then be involved in their use.

  • Help them to set up their profile.
  • Use your email as the main contact.

Encourage them to become responsible users. If you have any questions about Facebook in particular, you can visit their family safety centre for help and advice at


5. My child is receiving nasty text messages on their mobile all the time. What can I do?

It’s important to talk to your child and reassure them something can be done to stop the nasty messages. If you know that the messages are being sent by a friend or another pupil in school, approach the school for help. They have specific anti-bullying polices and will ensure that they act to support your child. If you live in Wales your School Community Police Officer (SCPO) might be able to help too.





6. Should I get a pay as you go or contract phone for my child?

A pay as you go phone is a good idea if you would like to keep a check on the cost of a phone. You will be in control of how much is spent. A contract can seem more expensive at first glance but it is possible for the service provider to put a ‘cap’ on the account so that calls etc. do not go above a certain amount.  There are some safety advantages to having a contract because you can keep tabs on what your child is doing.  You can see the numbers called and received on the itemised bill. This can be a useful way to monitor usage.


7. Can I block my child’s phone if it is lost or stolen?

Yes you can. You can phone your service provider who will have all the information needed to deactivate your account and block your phone. They use an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number which is an unique number to identify your phone

You can find the IMEI number of your phone by looking in the battery compartment of your phone. On some phones the number is obtainable by pressing *#06#. 

Do this now and keep the number in a safe place!


8. My child's mobile phone has Internet access. Is there a way I can put parental controls in place in the same way as on a home computer or laptop?

Yes! Parental controls are important. Mobile phone operators offer free parental control services to limit the kind of content children can access through the mobile network to items suitable for under 18s. Check with your service provider that parental controls are enabled and if they are not, ask for them to be switched on. This is especially important if the mobile was previously owned by an adult.