AMTA’s safety messages for the holiday season

1. Understand road rules and mobile phone usage – keep your eyes on the road!

It’s well known that using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is not only illegal but also greatly increases the danger of being involved in an accident. Mobile phone distractions can be higher during the festive season as drivers are travelling around the country visiting friends and family, gearing up for celebrations. If you would like to use your mobile phone for voice calls, the law demands securing the device in a cradle or using hands-free (i.e. via Bluetooth), however you can always avoid temptation by simply using your voice-mail message system and respond when you are not driving. Never attempt to text, email or use social media while driving – it’s dangerous and illegal.
It’s important that you are always keeping your eyes on the road to reduce risks. Remember too, some States have begun using new mobile phone detection cameras and double demerits are in place over the Christmas period – so refer to the specific laws in your State to ensure you understand what you can and cannot do with mobile phones while driving follow the rules and be safe.

2. Teach yourself and your child about the safe use of social media

We all like to stay connected to our friends and family over the Christmas break and with the array of social networking apps and platforms available, children are no different. If your child is spending time on their (new Christmas) devices, make sure you have open and honest conversations about the risks of social media and the platforms they use and how they use them. By staying engaged and aware of how your child may be using devices you can help ensure they are staying safe and acting smart. Some social media apps have age limits which consider maturity levels to match this with access to appropriate content. Privacy settings can also be changed to be suitable for the age of the child. It is in the best interest of each child for their parents and caregivers to be across the array of privacy and safety settings available on social media platforms to keep them safe.

3. Prepare your phone plan for your holiday travels

Before you head overseas on your Christmas break, it’s important to get in touch with your mobile phone provider to familiarise yourself with your phone plan and specific conditions for international use – like international roaming. International roaming typically comes at a higher cost so be sure to check your plan terms and conditions, so you understand what phone usage will cost while you are overseas.
If you’re staying in town, it’s just as important to pay attention to your usage alerts from your service provider to understand your included data allowance. If you need to use more data, contact your service provider to either upgrade your plan or purchase more data.

4. Keep your phone safe and secure

Keeping our data on our phone secure is fundamental to ensure we are protected if our phone is lost or stolen. Ways in which you can be extra careful is being mindful of where you leave your phone and enabling a PIN protection code, so only you have access.
If your mobile phone is lost or stolen call your service provider immediately to prevent unauthorised use. Fortunately, AMTA runs a world-leading program that protects consumers by blocking mobile handsets across all networks if they are reported lost or stolen.
To have your handset blocked across all networks you need to report the loss or theft to your carrier.

5. Watch out for scams

At this time of the year, scams are unfortunately all too common as scammers tend to take advantage of the holiday season.
One way to counter scammers is to never give any personal information over the phone or over email and be sceptical about online sites you haven’t heard of or deals that seem too good to be true.
While spending time with friends and family over the break, take the opportunity to spread the warnings about the scams out there.
For more details visit www.amta.org.au

For further information or to arrange an interview with Chris Althaus, CEO of AMTA, please contact:
Olivia Dovellos // Illuminate Communications
0420 686 233 // olivia.dovellos@illuminatecomms.com.au

About AMTA:
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) is the peak national body representing Australia’s mobile telecommunications industry. It aims to promote an environmentally, socially and economically responsible, successful and sustainable mobile telecommunications industry in Australia. Please see www.amta.org.au