Today’s parents remain divided about whether or not to allow their children to carry their own smartphones. For those who support the idea, providing a safe and easy way to stay connected wherever they go is worth dealing with the additional costs and potential for distractions that can occur when children carry mobile handsets.
However, simply handing you child a smartphone without taking the time to explain how to use it safely and without installing important security applications is not a good idea. When used correctly, handsets are great tools. However, without the proper privacy settings, they are as dangerous as an unprotected laptop. Before purchasing a phone for your son or daughter, check to see that parental controls are available for that particular model. Each Android-powered smartphone will have distinctive software, and some are easier to use than others. Apple has its own security features as well.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CHILD AND YOUR CHILD’S SMARTPHONE SECURE:
• Educate your child about the benefits, responsibilities, and dangers of carrying a smartphone. Teach him or her how to turn off location devices that are used to tag photos and come with some apps and to avoid connecting to unknown wireless networks or free Wi-Fi hotspots that don’t require a password.
• Set up a password or PIN for your child that you will also remember so that you can monitor activity on the phone. Change the code periodically.
• Set up a Google account for your teenager or add the phone to your own account for a younger child. You have the option of keeping or sharing the password. Synchronise with Google’s privacy settings in case the phone gets lost, broken, or stolen. You can even set up an automatic restore feature.
• Install privacy and security apps. Android smartphones tend to be more susceptible and therefore, more dangerous if left unprotected. Trend Micro is a useful software program that can block unacceptable sites and unknown text messages, send unknown callers directly to voicemail, and track your child’s phone, which means tracking your child. It also allows you to send out a location tone, to lock the phone remotely, or to erase all private information.
• Add your child’s new smartphone number to your phone.
• Consider adding any of the following programs and apps for further protection: Zoodles, Android Parental Control, Web Nanny, Phone Sheriff, Avast! Mobile Security, Game Time Limit, and Trick or Tracker, a program that lets you and your child locate each other instantly.
Keeping your children safe means having good communication at all times. By keeping their smartphones protected and secure, you are also protecting your loved ones.