As smartphones are growing in popularity, a child at almost any age now can easily learn to operate and use a smartphone without the help of a parent. While smartphones have been shown to provide some educational benefits for children, having that technology and communication at your fingertips at such a young age can have a critical impact on a child’s social development. Here are six smartphone security tips that can help you and your kids get the greatest benefits from smartphone technology.
Check for parental controls on the device
Parental controls can be golden for a parent if you know how to use them appropriately. The iPhone actually allows parents to set a variety of restrictions on the phone’s usage. By disabling features such as Safari Internet, iTunes, YouTube and even app installation, this can limit your child from exploring the features of the Internet and keeps them restricted to just using the phone for what you allow.
Monitor your child’s use
It’s never been easy to monitor your child’s every move, even with the powerful technology that we have now. While parental control software is easy to find, it’s important to find the perfect software for your needs. There are certain programs that allow you to hide specific features, block texts and calls from certain numbers, implement time restrictions, block the Internet and app usage and monitor content. These are all important tools to use when giving your child the privilege of having a smartphone at a young age.
If your child is using a smartphone on a regular basis, I’m sure you’ve thought about blocking or limiting their communication with certain users. There are certain platforms that allow users to record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate text messages and ‘sexts’, and allow users to email/text this behavior to parents, teachers and law enforcement.
Use a time manager
If you never see your child without their phone in their hands or by their side, you might want to consider using a time manager to limit the amount of time they spend on their phone. It’s been recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics that parents limit their children’s phone usage to no more than two hours per day. By using a time manager, parents can set the number of minutes their children can play on the device, and start the timer before giving the phone to the child.
Beware of free WiFi
Just as you’re afraid to use free WiFi from your laptop, you should have this same mindset when using free WiFi on your phone. Cellphones are just as susceptible to malware attacks as computers are, and while it might be difficult to explain to your kids the dangers of using unsafe Internet, it’s important to educate them. Explain that spots such as airports, cafes or other free WiFi spots are not safe for Internet mobile use and they will be putting their information at risk if they connect.
Lost phone software
Phones have had GPS on them for quite some time, but lost phone software is fairly new and extremely beneficial, especially if you have a child that misplaces their phone easily. A lost/stolen phone app can help your child locate his or her phone or even erase its data remotely. There are additional tracking apps that can help you locate the phone, even if it’s not lost.
Jennifer Jackson is a freelance writer focusing on smartphone technology. With all that she has researched, she uses NQ.com’s NQ Mobile antivirus software to keep her family’s smartphones safe from hackers.
Filed under: Parenting