The use of smartphones by children is growing. According to SafetyWeb, 22% of children between the ages of six and nine years own a cell phone, the figure reaches 60% in preadolescent from 10 and 14 years, while 84% of teens already have one.
The busy lives of adults, extracurricular activities and the risks of living in large cities are some of the reasons used by parents to buy smartphones for their children.
But while these devices are very useful, also they pose risks and it is the responsibility of parents to ensure internet safety and make their children aware of these risks. To help out, we have four recommendations for all you parents so they can guide your young children on the proper use of smartphones.
Kids Smartphone Usage
1. Prepare Clear guidelines
According to the Center for Security and Protection Microsoft, it is important to establish guidelines with the child on using their smartphone. You can prepare a set of guidelines for them and add key points in that such as:
– Established timetable of when they can use their smartphone and when they cannot.
– What information they can share with strangers and what not.
– Remind them to take your permission before downloading games or other applications.
– Instruct them to turn off their cell phones in the class rooms etc.
For the child to be taken seriously these rules, you can write the Decalogue of use and sign, as a covenant or contract. And if it fails, the child must know that he will apply punishment as confiscating the smartphone for several days or weeks. To avoid this failure, you can seek help from screen time limit apps that allow you to put auto-screen locks for specific time intervals while empowering you to lock your kid’s’ devices remotely!
2. Explain the Risks
Inculcate the sense of responsibility in your child by explaining them the risks attached to the smartphone. You can talk about the privacy breach, stranger danger, exposure to inappropriate content and device theft etc. Once communicated, ask your kid to open with you to share their problems. This is the only way they can seek help from you.
3. Use Digital Parental Tools
The smaller is the new user, the increased oversight is needed the make kids take best advantage of the smartphone. For younger children, parents can install digital parental tools such as FamilyTime to keep a keen eye on how the device is being used. With the tool you can:
- Keep an eye on their kids’ browsing history along with the date and time for each URL.
- View their bookmarks and favorites.
- Monitor call logs and check the caller details and view their call timing along with date stamps.
- Mirror contacts and view every contact saved in their kid’s phone along with the listed details.
- Watchlist contacts and get instant alerts on the connection.
- Check all of their installed apps along with app version and date of installation.
- Block questionable apps & games.
- Check location-history and stay in the know where their kids were the whole day.
- Add specific places to Places list and get alerts when their kids enter or exit those places to ensure child safety.
- Receive SOS alerts in case of emergency from the kids with location details.
- Receive PickMeUp alerts from your children and stay informed when it’s time to pick them up.
- Schedule auto screen locks for certain time durations such as study hours, meal breaks and sleep time etc.
- Put screen locks at any time they don’t want kids to use their smartphones.
4. Share and receive data and images
It is very important to discuss the issue of taking pictures and videos that they can share with other as there are many risks attached to it. We must take it serious as any attack, humiliation, blackmail, or sexting (when children and teens send nude or semi – nude photos of themselves with their mobile smartphones) can become crime, according to security experts. So the better idea is to look at what they capture and keep a keen eye on what they do with those images etc. It is also recommended that you attend your kids nicely if someone sends them a threatening or alarming message. In case your kids are stalked, harassed or threatened in any way, you report the incident to your service provider and local police while supporting your kid. And if the material is lewd, obscene or illegal, also report it to some child advocacy organizations.