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While many might think that smartphones have replaced the traditional landline this isn’t entirely true. In fact, nearly half of the homes in the United States still have a landline, generally as its part of a cable and internet package. And while most people still tend to use their smartphones for calls, the landline will still ring even though many landline owners may not have ever given the number to anyone.
Telemarketers are still one of the annoying things about landlines but there are some other pros and cons of keeping one in your home. They can still be a handy way to screen calls from the aforementioned telemarketers but people with other intentions can also access your home number with relative ease.
If you have a landline and have children in your home it’s important that you teach them about the difference between the landline and their own smartphone as well as what to do in an emergency.
Landline Safety and Etiquette
Most parents of children today have clear memories of what they could and could not say to strangers who called on the landline. They were taught to never admit to anyone that they were home alone or to give out any personal information. However, kids today might not have received those same instructions.
If you allow your children to answer the phone at all it’s important to instruct them on what to say, what not to say, and to always let their parents know who called. Obviously very young children should not have access to the landline at all but older children may have that privilege, especially if they don’t yet have their own smartphone.
The first thing they should do is check the caller ID. Older kids should be able to recognize names and numbers that belong to friends, family, or their parents’ place of business. It’s wise to advise them to ignore all other calls and let those go to voicemail.
Parents should always check the caller ID history on the landline. While it’s likely that you’ll only find names and numbers of people you know what do you do when a strange number with no name attached shows up in the history? What do you do if that number shows up multiple times?
Reverse phone lookup is a simple and easy way to determine the origin of any number you find suspicious. It may be a telemarketing company or it may be someone you’d rather not have calling your home. Regardless, using reverse phone lookup allows you to determine who’s calling and to block that number if your phone has the option to do so.
What to Do in an Emergency
Studies have shown that up to 60 percent of emergency dispatch centers in the United States either have limited ability to determine your location if you dial from a smartphone or it can take up to ten minutes or more for them to accurately pinpoint where you are. In an emergency situation ten minutes is a long time.
Calling from a landline allows emergency dispatchers to almost immediately pick up the exact address from which the call is originating and this can be a life saver for kids at home. Parents should definitely take the time to teach children how, why, and when to dial 911 for emergency services. If anyone in the home has had an accident the child should know how to dial the number and how to answer questions from the dispatcher.
It can be scary for children to even think about the possibility of an emergency so role playing is a good way to help them understand. The parent can act as the dispatcher and the child can answer the questions. Depending on your child’s age this can also double as a first aid lesson in that they can learn to tell if a person is breathing and other information that might be needed by first responders.
Landlines have been long forgotten by many people in the smartphone age but they still serve a good purpose yet also hold the potential for problems, especially when it comes to your kids. Teach them carefully about what information they can and can’t give out over the phone and how to use it an emergency. It’s not likely that your landline will ever cause you any problems but it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it.