Smart devices have become ubiquitous, as most individuals are in constant communication through the use of their phones and tablets. In fact, smartphones have almost become an extension of our bodies, and users are getting younger and younger. Parents are recognizing the need for smart phone safety in order to protect their kids online, and thus protect their devices from the damage small hands can sometimes cause.
Smart Phone Safety
Parents do have a certain level of power to protect their children from encountering viruses and malicious software on cellphones. A conversation about safe Internet usage is paramount to protecting everyone. When parents feel that an added level of protection is necessary, there are programs available to offer assistance.
Several companies offer affordable and easy to use programs that add a higher level of security to cellphones and computers. Both iPhones and Androids fall victim to malware and viruses. By installing an antivirus for Android or an iOS software update, parents can rest easier knowing that their children will be less likely to encounter inappropriate images or fall victim to downloading a virus. A few of the options these companies and programs offer to parents include:
- Game restriction
- Time parameters for Internet usage
- Monitors outgoing information to the Web
- Image control
How Young is Too Young?
We rely on these handheld pieces of technology to obtain a myriad of instantaneous information, to engage in global communication with family, friends, and sometimes strangers, as well as for pure entertainment and enjoyment. In fact, there are hundreds of devices designed just for gaming, and aimed toward a younger generation of users. Adults are able to navigate through the negative websites, but children may be curious about the more negative aspects of the web.
Only a parent can determine if a device is age-appropriate, but many come with guidelines. For instance, there are lots of thick-plastic tablets made for children. They feature designs that can be dropped or dirtied, but won’t be damaged. These devices often feature advanced parental controls, so parents can restrict access to inappropriate content. Virgin Mobile’s Data Done Right gives you control over your minutes, data and special parental controls over the phones in your account.
Unfortunately, the amount of time individuals spend on their cellphones directly opens up a world of viciousness and threat, especially when our kids use our devices. By putting so much of our personal identity on the Internet, especially through the use of cellphones, hackers are finding it much easier to access critical information about individuals. This is an especially dangerous situation for parents who allow their children access to their mobile devices, so make sure your child keeps their identity safe while browsing the web and using social media.
Malicious Downloads and Hacking
Smartphones have become the newest target for hackers and viruses. As consumers of these products, individuals often hold a false sense of security regarding Internet usage. It is commonly assumed that if an application, text, or email comes from a reputable and trusted source, it is purely immune to spiteful behavior.
Unfortunately, hackers are extremely tech-savvy and are constantly on the hunt to find ways into the unsuspecting individual’s personal information. When a parent allows a young child to use their smartphone for educational or entertainment purposes, the outcome could lead to disastrous results. The following are some of the ways a person’s phone can pick up a virus or lead to a hacking situation:
- Downloading Apps
The information with an app that is downloaded from a reliable source is rarely read by a consumer. It is assumed that it is safe. However, the fine print that is often ignored contains information about how the app will have access to a considerable amount of your personal data.
- The Web
The Internet has anything a person can want. When downloading the newest podcast or video online, a person may be downloading more than what they bargained for.
- PC Hookups
Being able to connect your smartphone to your home computer opens up many opportunities. If a trusted computer has a virus and a person connects his/her phone to the computer, the virus has just become part of the phone as well.
- Email or Text Attachments
Once a virus in on your phone, it can send a person emails or texts that mimic trustworthy material from known contacts, likely leading a person to open malicious downloads.
- Bluetooth Connection
Compared to the common cold, Bluetooth connected phones in the same vicinity can infect other phones almost instantaneously.
Deciding if a cyberattacking system is the right choice for your family is one that should not be taken lightly. Remember, however, that safely using the Internet leads to happier children and parents.