Off The Hook Or Off The Derech: Kids At Risk From Any Phone

kid on phoneThere’s a new rage amongst kids using free conference calling services. How does it work? They easily set up a free conference call service with the number provided by the phone company (or third party like, get this, Home Depot. The provider gives them a conference PIN number and anyone who calls the number and enters the PIN code is in on the 24/7/365 conversations. Anyone can talk to anyone else on the call, and in some cases have “private” conversations with other PIN codes that are shared with as little as two callers.
Why is this a problem? Criminals such as stalkers and worse posing as teenagers can easily access the conversations and obtain personal information.
Not my kids, no way.
Well, according to my own investigation I was able to access Sprint’s conference call number, I’ll get to that in a minute, and join in with Yossi, Suri, Chaya, Simcha, Miriam, Josh, Sarah and the list goes on. “Frum” kids as young as 10 years old everywhere from Lakewood to LA are on-line 24 hours a day. And if I can make an inappropriate quote from Art Linkletter, “Kids say the darndest things”. I only say that it’s inappropriate because he meant that in a positive way, but what I’m saying could be daring, dangerous and downright deadly, G-d forbid.
So I’m going to cut this call short and leave it to your imagination. I have plenty of cases on my website to scare you. Now I’m going to tell you, parents, what to look out for.
First of all, one of the popular numbers is (401) 694-1602. This belongs to Sprint. Numerous frum kids use this number to “say the darndest things” to say the least. How many creeps are impersonators trying to get info is anybody’s guess.  There are many others depending on the provider. Because there are 11,400,000 Google results, I can’t start listing them. But this gives you an idea about how prevalent this is.
What can you do?
Make sure you check your phone logs (on your bill or online) and look for this number or any other number (typically with an out of town area code or 800 area code) that you don’t recognize and has several entries with usage details for recurring or different times of the day for one minute or more.  This could be a sign that someone is participating in these services. There is no age check and anyone can access the numbers from any phone and obtain a PIN code from a “friend” or from the net.
We all know the Internet can be dangerous, but that phone in your pocket, on the table or on the wall may be even more dangerous.
I’m offering you another way to check on and protect your kids. Please do it for everyone’s safety.
Let’s get kids off the line and not off the derech. Ron Benvenisti. TLS.

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  1. Here’s another article that mistakes the symptom for the problem. Of course, you should know and regulate what your kids are doing, but most of the time, the risky behavior comes AFTER the risk, and doesn’t cause it.

  2. We called our daughters principal as a parent in her class decided to let all the girls know this numbers. I found my daughter on the phone late at night on one of these lines and YES I listened in.

    PS My daughter is innocent frum ehrlich girl from the TOP school in Lakewood.

    The principal told us that you can not imagine the topics these girls are talking about. ”EVERYTHING”. And that this is going on for a long time. Its a shame that the schools did not notify us- the parents- that this is going on.

    Although I have Kosher NET which is an automatic filter and I don’t allow my children to use the computer (in 100% agreement with my children schools that its not for them to use)- am I supposed to not allow them to use the phone. This article can help and maybe we can figure out how to block the phone numbers.

    Our daughter goes to the top school in Lakewood. Because some insane MOM thought it was cool to let her daughter tell her friends, our daughter found out. Call the number and listen to the chutzpah of the kids on the line. The topics, the music…. Your children are being exposed to things they need not know (and things they should not know) and to kids whose derech eretz is lacking. There is no adult supervision. AND EVERY SCHOOL /CLASS FROM LAKEWOOD, MONSEY, BP, FLATBUSH ,,,, has their own PIN and/or phone number.

    There is also a safety issue as irls have arranged to meet at a location and supposedly a male adult was listening in and also showed up.

    This is dangerous for your kids safety both physically and spiritually.

    The schools know about this but they sweep it under the rug. Thank you TLS for letting other know. We parents must keep our eyes open. If you see your phone line is being used at late hours –passed their bedtimes and it’s not you or your spouse. Pick it up and listen. And then talk to your children about the dangers.

    If you don’t believe me call the number (ask your child for the pin) and listen for half an hour at night.

  3. this directly exposes these children for the first time. A small little thing called chat lines.

    its letting your child speak directly with anyone in the street.

    woudl you allow that? Dont you tell your children NOT to speak to stangers.
    If you care about your child you would sit down with them and explain to them the dangers of calling these “frum” chat lines.

  4. @1 I don’t see a symptom/problem dichotomy here. Did you already know this is something you have to check for? How can you regulate every phone call your kids make?

    @2 This info is a heads up to parent’s to check their phone logs. If your kid reads this, great – now they’ll know that someone’s watching.

    @3 Correct.

  5. My daughter is a shy Bais yaakov girl. She has trouble socailizing . she has met many nice Bais Yaakov girls fron around the country.(like Pen pals) But I hear what you’re saying if a creep gets a PIN number. u can make up your own PIn that noone could figure out like 613 oops. anyways I doubt that there are 11 million free party lines

  6. when I was in high school, i called in to these conferences regularly, and b”h i’m happy to say that I’m still alive and very frum. To be honest, the way i found out abt it was when my principal made an announcement tht noone should call, and another point is that although there was a few creeps and undesireables, most of it was innocent networking with other frum ppl our age. I think evryone shud chill on the hype, and yes, protect your kid, but in proportion.

  7. #7 there are miilions of free party lines
    #8 we are talking about young elementery girls. I listened when one was so rude it was unbelievable, She also laughed how she played disgusting goyish music and scared some girls off.

    If i can listen anyone else can listen in.

    THIS IS NOT HYPE. Does a young frum girl need to hear about subjects before the appropiate time? call the number and listed to waht these girls are talking about.

  8. #7 Actually, these new communication technologies actually make kids worse at socializing. Stay tuned to TLS for a scientific and clinically study based article about this coming up IY”H later this week.

  9. My children’s school used this system to have a conference class with the rebbi during winter storm school cancellation and during winter break.

  10. All those that want to argue that its fine, skould let their kids on it. Its your child at risk. But please don’t sit here and convince me that its ok for my child. And please don’t allow your child into my childs school. I’m sure these are those wonderful parents that can’t get into school and can’t figure out why!

  11. @#6: This was presented as a big bad thing that is going to eat your children. But it actually sounds more like any one of innumerable implements that can be misused by people who are wont to misuse things. You don’t need to be afraid of conference calls, you need to be afraid of your child using them for bad things.

    If your child is stable, healthy, and upstanding, you don’t need to worry that they are likely to be sucked in by the siren song of conference calls. If they are unstable, etc. then the specifics are usually almost irrelevant.

  12. I agree, this type of thing was in use backl when I was in high school, in the 1970s! Yes, I went to a top school. My parents A”H encouraged me to be friends with a girl with a lot of “issues”, sort of a home grown kiruv project, and this girl introduced me to this type of “leisure activity”. This was in the day before phone logs, but my mom caught on to what was going on and let’s just say that was the end of my phone privileges! This is probably a lot harder to enforce nowadays with cordless and cell phones, but I was no longer allowed to have an extension in my room. I had to use the phone in the kitchen. Interestingly, my parents continued to encourage the friendship with this young lady. Yes, the conversations were VERY inappropriate. I can only imagine what they are like now. That being said, the phone itself is not the problem, but the lack of parental supervision and pure parental cluelessness….well now, THAT is a real problem. My kids know that I have a conference number that is used for tehillim phone conferences. They have never used this number for social purposes….but I better go check my phone logs! And no, they do not have cell phones of their own.

  13. to chaim Z. You are soo right. First make sure the kids are normal and well adjusted. The technology won’t stop and won’t go away. We have to teach our kids how to use it wisely. Hashkafa classes anyone?

  14. if u are so worried about ruining SOLID children from exposure of socialising then chances are your child is not a solid as you think and if u are stilled concerned ,take them out of school and home school them . and im sure thier social skills will be way up to par

  15. I read the comment of the parent of the top girl from the top school. You are kidding yourself. We have shoved all kinds of issues under all kinds of rugs. In fact, in Lakewood, the dissemination of the first of these conference call numbers was a young girl who had been abused and abused other girls and was not dealt with. She then spread her filth to Brooklyn. As a former teacher and as someone who has worked with youth at risk, I can say that every child today is going to be exposed to shmutz. period. no school is safe. The best thing to happen would be if you and the educators introduce issues about tzniys, body awareness, yichud and negiah to the children before they learn the information from the street. In fact, it is completely against every facet of Judaism that we don’t teach this — as the laws of Yichud apply to a girl from age THREE and we don’t teach it until seminary or beyond! Are we nuts? No wonder kids end up with warped ideas.

  16. @12
    that is the most arrogant and foolish comment EVER!!!
    you have just encapsulated the problem in this community and the cause of children at risk. YOU CANNOT INSULATE YOUR CHILD FROM THE WORLD! Nor can you judge and say this is why parents cannot get their children into schools! My husband works ( horror upon horror ) my children do not listen to goyish music watch movies etc…
    I am a kallah teacher and trust me it is ALL types that are talking about *topics that are inappropriate *
    The solution is OPEN COMMUNICATION!
    Your children WILL hear things their whole lives that dont mish with our hashkafos. When they know they can come ask us about it and we talk to them and answer their questions then they will learn from us what is proper.
    We dont live in solitude but we can educate and communicate.
    They are talking about these things anyways, let them hear our side as well.
    I cannot tell you how many kallahs ACROSS THE FRUMKITE SPECTRUM Ive had to reteach the material with the Torah veiw.
    we are parents and educaters, not the street, lets step up be aware, TALK AND LISTEN to our children.

  17. #17, I can’t tell if you are serious about homeschooling bringing social skills up to par or if you are being sarcastic. In any event, numerous studies have shown that homeschooled kids do in fact have social skills far superior to those who are in traditional education model school environments. This is because they are not limited to socializing with a cohort of peers who were born in the same 12 month period of time who are stuck in their seat in a room, locked in a building all day every day, 9 or 10 months of the year. Instead, they are exposed to a range of people of all ages, in a variety of settings and their parents, yes, their PARENTS, actually are involved in their lives and have a handle on who they are with, what they are doing and how they are doing it.

    Yes, I totally agree, social skills go way up when kids are homeschooled. You can e-mail me off list for study citations.

  18. Actually I caught my daughter on once. Its as bad as they say. Boys and girls chatting, inappropriate talk etc… I listened in quietly. Who knows who else was listening( with bad intentions). Had a long honest talk with my daughter, who happens to be a great girl (and a typically curious teen). Made it very clear that this kind of conferencing is off limits. Parents need to talk with their children ie; how will a child know to steer clear from someone offering drugs to them if their parents never explained to them in unequivocal strong terms that its bad???

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