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Brandt: Parents should teach kids to use cell phones PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 01, 2013 1:47 PM

VAN WERT — Van Wert 911 Coordinator Kim Brandt is urging parents to familiarize their children with their cell phones in case of emergency. The technology of cell phones has developed from standard flip phones with regular key buttons to glass screens with no buttons at all.

Brandt offers classes to surrounding schools and businesses to educate young children on the importance of 911 and how to make this life-saving call.

“I will go anywhere, to any class,” said Brandt. “There is no charge for this free service.”

Brandt’s class includes a 911 simulator which allows children to dial 911 and then think of a proper emergency in which they would need to dial this number.
During this 30-60 minute class, Brandt prepares children for questions that a dispatcher would ask them upon dialing 911 and what to expect. Children will also learn what happens if they call this number as a prank, that officers will often respond to the residence in case of a real emergency.

Brandt also brings an old rotary phone, a piece of technology that many young children have never seen before. Children that have seen one often respond that their grandmas and grandpas have a phone such as this. Kids can also view a DVD with additional information about this valuable emergency service and it’s importance.

Brandt recommends this free service to all local schools.

Unfortunately, this short class time does not allow Brandt to teach children about all the different sorts of cell phones and how to operate them.

“Many homes only have cell phones today and have gotten rid of the traditional landline form of communication,” Brandt said. “Parents need to teach their children about their particular cell phone, how to unlock it, and how to make a call.”

Phones now come in all varieties. It isn’t always as easy as just pressing the numbers anymore as children need to know which button to push just to get to a call option. These phones also have many different forms of locking and code requirements.

Many smart phones also offer an application offering a shortcut on the phone’s home screen to 911. Other apps automatically send a message to predetermined contacts as you dial 911, an app that could easily bring aid from additional family members or adults to a child in need.

After teaching a child about 911 and your cellphone, periodically quiz them on how they would call 911 to keep them in practice. A simple 10 minutes is often all it takes for a child to catch on to this important piece of technology. Those wishing to inquire or schedule a class can contact Brandt at the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at (419) 238-3866.


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