Top 4 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe on Their Smartphones
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Published by TOP4 Team
The advent of smartphones and tablets has changed how kids play these days. Although there are child-friendly educational apps, there are also those that aren’t suitable for young users. It’s important to keep tabs on your child’s smart gadgets, especially those that are connected online. Here are some modern day parenting tips to help keep your child safe from online perpetrators and other dangers brought about by mobile phones and the Internet:
1. Always check your child’s downloaded apps
Kids are prone to clicking pictures that interest them. They might get into installing ads that have suddenly popped up on their screens, so make it a habit to check their installed apps regularly.
To make things easier for both you and your child, ask them what apps they would like to install, so you can do it for them. You can also explain why you need to scan their apps every now and then.
Here are some apps that may pose danger to your child:
Tinder – a dating app that allows people as young as 13 years old to join.
Whisper – an online confession app that allows users to post anonymously. Some posts can be sex or violence related.
Snapchat – this app might look harmless, but since posts are only available for a specific time, it can be used for “sexting” and sending and receiving inappropriate photos or videos.
Poof – this app hides other apps on the phone. Make sure to check the app manager if Poof is installed on your child’s device.
2. Install an anti-virus software and tracking app
Protect your child and his smartphone from hackers and viruses by installing a trusted anti-virus software. Always opt for apps that have good reviews from Google Play or Apple App Store users.
You can also install a tracking app that will allow you to monitor your child’s smartphone activity. Some data trackers come pre-installed in the phone like iCloud and Android Device Manager.
3. Set location data to private
Certain apps and search engines will access a phone's GPS and then forward the location data to third parties. If you use a family location service to monitor your kids' whereabouts, make sure that only you have access.
Discourage your child from using 'check-in' services on social media, too. You can set the location data so that it's not publicly available or searchable.
4. Teach your kids appropriate sharing
Posting irresponsible things can potentially have both immediate and long-lasting detrimental effects. Explain to your kids the emotional and social consequences of irresponsible sharing. Create a social media account and link it to theirs to encourage them to think twice before posting.
The best way to make sure your kids are safe on their smartphones is by talking to them about it and sharing the cons of unsafe smartphone use. You can ask them what their favourite apps are and what they like about them. Let them know you are on their side and you would like to protect them from online bullies and perpetrators, and you need their help in doing so.