Mobile Phones 101

It’s no big secret - our children are fascinated by mobile phones. They use them to text, talk, take pictures and videos, listen to music, post messages and images on social networks, and much, much more. Many of today’s handsets have advanced features that are fun for teens, but can also be used inappropriately.

So you can keep pace with your child and understand how they’re using their phone, we’ve put together a list of functions and features available on many of today’s mobile phones.

common mobile phone features
  • Texting


    (also known as SMS, Short Message Service) is a feature found on most phones where messages can be typed into the handset and sent to other mobile phones and email accounts. It’s common for the texting feature to live under “Messaging” as an envelope icon.
  • Multi-media Messaging Service

    Multi-media Messaging Service

    (also know as MMS) is a type of messaging that allows multimedia content to be sent to and from mobile phones and or email. This type of messaging is the most common way to send photographs videos, and ringtones. Typically, you can locate the MMS feature in the messaging option by choosing “Picture Message” or “Video Message.”
  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    is a feature that allows users to store and organize images on their phone. These can be photos they’ve taken with their phone’s camera photos sent to them, or photos they’ve downloaded from the Internet. The gallery is where most users store photos of their family, friends, vacations, special events, and other memories. You can locate the photo gallery in your Media Center. Have you ever wanted a picture of your children as the wallpaper for your phone? The Photo Gallery is where you can store this picture and apply as wallpaper.
  • Email


    is a feature that allows you to send messages from popular electronic messaging services like Gmail or Hotmail. You can send email the same way you text a message, just to an email address versus a phone number. To check your email, connect to the internet first via the Internet browser.
  • Mobile IM

    Mobile IM

    is a feature on many mobile phones that gives users access to popular instant messaging services such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Windows Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger. The mobile IM feature allows you to instant message with multiple people at one time. This feature can often be found in the messaging feature or on the phone’s user interface.
  • Social Networking

    Social Networking

    is a widespread term. Connecting to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, on your mobile phone is a lot like connecting on your computer.
  • Shortcuts


    offer a quicker way to get to your favorite phone features (i.e., Internet access, GPS/navigation, etc.) and come in many customizable forms.
  • Widgets


    live on your phone’s homescreen and provide access to simple bits of information like clocks with multiple time zones, stock quotes, or nearby weather.
  • Hot Keys

    Hot Keys

    Hot Keys also live on the homescreen but navigate to applications in your phone.
  • Applications


    Applications are fully functional programs that can be bought, downloaded or shared. Recently, these have been all the rage amongst teenagers and young adults.
  • Camera and Video Camera

    Camera and Video Camera

    features are more convenient to access than ever before. If they’re not accessible with one push of a button on the outside of your mobile phone, you can find these features in your Media Center. Cameras and video cameras are getting more advanced to include more megapixels and editing features.
  • Other FeaturesCamera and Video Camera

    Other Features

    Most phones offer Bluetooth® headset ability and a GPS Navigator to make driving safer. To connect to your Bluetooth headset, before you start driving, find the Bluetooth menu while will likely be in Settings and Tools. Turn on your Bluetooth headset in the presence of your mobile phone and allow them to synchronize. Finding your GPS navigator depends on your carrier but it’s a valuable tool to be aware of. Note that using this feature often has a cost associated with it.


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