iMessage is an instant messenger application for an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch which allows users to send texts, photos, videos, contact information, and group message. The application is free and allows a user to send unlimited message to other iMessage users without using allotted text messages in a mobile phone service plan. However, the program will use data an iPhone and a 3G (mobile) connected iPad, if the device is not connected to Wi-Fi. The appilcation can only send messages on an iPod Touch and non-3G connect iPad when the device is connected to the Internet.
It is important to note that communications sent via iMessage will not be recorded in the details of mobile phone bill like traditional text messages. Even if your plans has detailed billing, there is no trace of these mesasges in billing records. The only way to see messages sent on your child's phone via iMessage is to look at their message history. To view your child's message history, open the device's message application (usually found of the bottom, the icon looks like a white quotation bubble that may or may not say "message"). Provided your child has not deleted any messages, look for any messages with blue buttons and text bubbles in the communications. In contrast, traditional text or SMS-based communication in the iPhone will appear in green text boxes.
This application poses risks for children because of the instant access they would have for communication with people they don’t know and trust in real life. In addition, the portability of these devices means children may have more unsupervised use than if they were at a computer. Parents and guardians should always be aware of what applications children are downloading and using on their phones just as you would know which websites they are accessing on the computer.
NetSmartz411 recommends that parents and guardians always know who their children are communicating with, especially on cell phones and what images or text messages they may be sending or receiving. Cell phones may allow for more unsupervised communication with adults. Consider confiscating cell phones from children at bedtime to prevent late night and unsupervised communication. Talk to children about the potential risks of communicating with adults they do not know and trust in real life. If you ever feel that your child is being exploited, make a report at www.cybertipline.com.