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Mobile phone use

If a child or young person in your care wants a mobile phone, you need to talk to the child’s Case Manager first to make sure there are no safety concerns that may prevent them from having one. If there aren’t any concerns, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of allowing them to have a mobile phone, as well as whether they are old enough and responsible enough to manage one. If you decide to let them have a phone, the cost is covered by the carer allowance. It is recommended carers consider the prepaid option because it enables them to keep control over the phone bill. However, if the mobile phone is being used as part of maintaining family contact for a child or young person in care, then payment of the phone should be discussed with the child’s Case Manager and included in the case plan.

Sexting

Sexting is when a young person sends a highly suggestive or sexually explicit photo of themselves to their friends via their mobile phone. It’s a growing trend among young people and can lead to public humiliation, cyber bullying and even sexual assault. As the child's carer, you need to: explain to the child or young person about the potential risks of sexting and sexual predators; give them clear rules about what they can and can’t do with their mobile phone; remind them to 'think before they act'; and explain to the child or young person that they have no control over who sees their photos, where they may appear or how they might be used after they are sent. You also need to make sure that children and young people understand that it’s illegal to send or pass on sexual photos of children or young people, including photos of themselves.

For more information about sexting visit the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner iParent website​ or Kids Help Line website​.