In this day and age, young children are figuring out how to slide open a tablet or smartphone faster than learning the alphabet. The holidays will almost certainly bring smart devices into the hands of your kids, either as gifts to them or as hand-me-downs from you. Whichever the case, a few simple preventative measures will make sure your tech-savvy kids are safe and happy. Here are Kuna’s top strategies for “childproofing” smartphones, tablets and more:
Physically protecting smart devices is a necessity, especially if you have toddlers. Your expensive gadgets are especially vulnerable to spills, and little hands pounding on touch screens, so put them in rugged cases as soon as possible. Encourage children to play with them on soft surfaces, like rugs, to minimize impact damage. Devices with sharp edges, stylus pens or other small objects should not be in the hands of your children.
Almost all operating systems have parental controls built in that allow you to set and manage the Internet experience of children. You can select what games and programs they use, and monitor which sites they visit (and how much time spent on them). Windows and Apple have specified pages on their websites to help parents install parental controls on various devices.
Android-powered devices running on Kit Kat or higher allow for the creation of user profiles in which you define the rules. You can control the access settings for features, apps, websites, and even device content such as videos, pictures, books and music.
iOS devices have Guided Access, which isn’t a restricted profile for children, but it’s something you can use as a workaround. You can hand over an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to a child and Guided Access restricts usage to a single app for a set amount of time. Learn how to set up Guided Access here.
Always require password to purchase or download any new application. This allows you to read app descriptions (including the minimum age and reviews), see screenshots, and even run demos. Young children should be not be given free access to social media, video, or audio call and chat applications. These features should only be used under your strict supervision. Read our post about Safe Social Media to find out why.
Protecting your children can be as easy as restricting access to questionable websites on your home network. Open DNS Family Shield controls which sites can be accessed via your home connection and provides comprehensive lists of websites by subject or content matter category that you can instantly ban. Open DNS instantly prevents access from your protected network to all Internet devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops, and even game consoles like the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft X Box. Read our post about How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network to learn more.
There is no replacement for you, the parent. All children will have questions about something they have seen, read or heard, and it is your responsibility to act as their guide. Keep an open communication channel to ensure that your children come to you first (and not the Internet) when they have questions.
Children can inadvertently access sensitive information on your phone and even delete valuable data. Learn more in our other post: Protecting Your Important Digital Information.
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