November 20, 2008, 9:55 PM
Technology is a wonderful thing, but used inappropriately, it can also be a mischievous and hurtful prank.
Teenagers are now using their cell phones to call other teens, leaving obscene and sometimes vulgar messages. They're doing it without anyone knowing who's calling.
These days, almost every teenager carries a cell phone. But some are dialing up trouble with SLYDIAL. A new free phone service that allows you to jump directly to someone's voice mail, avoiding an actual conversation.
"I would use it if like I was mad at a guy or something and I could just leave him a voice mail," said Bailee Brown of Brandon.
These two girls had never heard of SLYDIAL, but once it was explained to them, they were fascinated.
"I think it's kind of a good idea because if you don't want to talk to a guy and you're mad at him you can leave him a mean message," said Kelsy Bickley of Brandon.
This is how it works. You just dial 1-267-SLYDIAL, listen to a quick advertisement, then dial the number of a person's cell phone you want to leave a message. Here's the kicker, your number doesn't show up on missed calls.
"I think a lot of teenagers have like problems between friends and I think a lot of teens would use it if they knew about it," said Bickley.
But not everyone knows about it or uses it to make prank calls. Some people legitimately want to leave someone a message, but don't have time for conversation or perhaps they know that person is in a meeting and can't take a call.
Some parents are concerned about this new service and how kids might use it.
"Me, myself as a teenage parent of a 17-year-old I don't think I would really appreciate it," said Jodi Schneider-Ceroll.
She thinks kids could also SLYDIAL their parents and not be truthful.
"There's a reason they're doing it. They don't want you to know where they are or they aren't saying where they are," said Schneider-Caroll.
Teenagers agree. They could leave their parents a message and make up a story about why they're getting home late.
"Yeah and they wouldn't get it. You'd be like, yeah I left you a message, but you didn't get it, so you wouldn't get into trouble because they don't know how to use it," said Bickley.
But thanks to this story they do now, so teens might not be as sly as they first thought.
"There's a reason why it's called SLYDIALING. You know, the name says it all," said Schneider-Ceroll.
Depending on the type of phone you're calling, the phone may ring briefly, but the other person won't be able to answer before the call goes to voice mail.
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