If your child has a smart phone, you may think of the phone as a tool for safety. Your children can get in touch with you in case of emergency, update you about changed plans and alert you if they’re not feeling well.
But having a smart phone also means that a child can be in constant contact with the outside world, download inappropriate apps, and run up big bills for in-app purchases. Smart phones come complete with cameras — sharing photos and videos with others can happen within seconds.
If your children have smart phones be sure to take precautions to keep your children safe, your bank account from being drained and their phones from being lost. By educating your children about the proper use of their phones, you can help keep them safer. If your children are about to get their first smart phone, you can take these steps as part of the process of setting up their new phones.
This infographic illustrates steps you can take to make your children’s use of a smart phone safer:
Infographic courtesy of Pumpic
1. Restrict In-App Purchases
Many apps, especially gaming apps, are free to download but offer in-app purchases that make spending money deceptively easy. These often make the game easier, or help the player to level up faster but can add up to big bills.
Many children don’t realize that when they’re making in-app purchases they’re actually spending real money. Or they don’t care. Either way you want to be able to prevent in-app purchases from happening (without your permission) on your child’s phone.
Check out Apple’s website that tells you how to prevent your child from spending your money on their iDevice:
For Android phones, check out Laptop Mag:
2. Monitor Which Apps Are on the Phone
Check your children’s phones to see which apps they’re using. Open the apps to see what the apps are about and how your children are using them. Ask your children about their apps to see their reaction. Look at the list in the infographic above and do a Google search of any apps you’re unsure of.
3. Secure the Phone
Make sure your children use passcodes for their phones and advise them not to share their passcodes with their friends. Even better, make sure you know their passcodes. If their phones are lost or stolen, you don’t want your children’s information available to others nor give people the ability to post on your children’s social media accounts.
Even adults frequently lose their phones, children are bound to misplace their phones more often. Learn about how you can help your child find their phones.
For your child’s iPhone, make sure that Find My iPhone has been set up. Check out Find My iPhone – The Very First App You Should Get to learn how to enable this feature to find a lost iPhone.
Also be sure that you can find your child’s iPhone even after the battery has died. Take a minute to set up the Send Last Location feature. See, How to Find Your iPhone Even After the Battery Dies.
Make sure that your children know they can find their Android phones by doing a Google search. Don’t miss Lost Your Android Phone? Find It on Google! and make sure your children’s Android phones have the latest Google App update.
4. Make Location Services Private
You can use tracking apps such as Find My Friends to monitor your child’s location. But make sure that your children aren’t allowing others access to tracking apps that share their location. Warn your child about using apps such as Facebook to check into place. Check Settings to see which apps have permission to track your child’s location.
5. Talk About Appropriate Sharing
Discuss with your child the impact of sharing photos and videos with others. Posting a silly picture of a best friend on Facebook or Instagram may result in humiliation and retaliation. Make sure your child understands that once a photo has been shared, deleting it permanently may be impossible.
Have you thought about keeping your children safe with smart phones? What steps have you taken to keep your children safe on their smart phones? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with others to keep children safe on smart phones? Let us know in the Comments section below!