How to Keep Kids Safe on a Smartphone
It is a known matter of fact that modern children grow up and go hand in hand to smartphones and tablets, which seem to be irreplaceable these days. One can hardly imagine going out without taking a cell phone along. At the same time, it turns out to be complicated to realize how dangerous all these gadgets may be and how many threats they actually bring about.
Since depriving kids of using mobile devices is rather a too desperate move, parents can at least educate themselves and teach their children behave safely on the web and not run risks.
Parents should learn how to keep kids safe online
To emphasize why parents should learn about kids online safety and teach their loved ones secure themselves while using smartphones, let’s have a look at some statistics.
As surveyed by Pew Research Center, 92% of teens point they go online on daily basis. At the same time, 24% of them admit being connected to the web “almost constantly”. In addition, according to the latest McAfee/Intel Security research, 79% of children learn Internet safety facts from their parents.
Pumpic also supports kids safety and its cell phone security software is dedicated to resist Internet dangers. The company team has gathered essential information on possible perils children face online, how to prevent kids from exposing themselves to many risks on smartphones, and prepared Internet safety tips for kids and their parents.
Child Internet protection: risks and preventive measures
In-app purchases. Once you give your kid a smartphone, the very first thing he or she gets interested in is game apps. Though many of them are free, developers of such chargeless applications know how to earn money. It is called in-app purchases.
The idea is to provide your child with a free application and offer some additional content to buy while using it. Thus, if your credit or debit card is linked to such a free app account, your kid will be able to buy any additional content easily and without your permission.
For example, the amount Apple had to return to parents whose kids had made purchases without their consent equals $32.5 million.
That is one of reasons why you should learn, teach, and monitor your kids using mobile devices connected to the Internet.
Apps to beware. There are too many applications your kid can easily download from the Internet. Some of them are harmless, meanwhile others should be taken carefully. Especially when used by children.
One may wonder what kind of a problem Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Yik Yak, Whisper, or any other social app can cause. However, there are really many dangers such applications bring about: cyberbullying, online predators’ attacks, sexual abuse, online seduction, identity theft, sexting, fraud.
In addition, many of them not without reason are restricted for the underage due to explicit, violent, or other parental advisory content they disclose. That is probably enough for you to lie awake at night and think of social security for kids.
Phone security. Phone robbery is a widely spread issue of today. Statistically, 1 in 10 smartphone owners in the USA are the victims of phone theft. At the same time, 1 in 5 U.S. children have had their cell phones stolen.
Importantly, when your personal or your kid’s device is stolen, it is not simply a loss of a mobile phone. Together with an expensive gadget, some sensitive information may be gone and used for fraudulent or abusive reasons.
That’s why you should avert such a possibility in the making. Installing a mobile phone security app will be useful here. With its help, you will be able to track a stolen phone to find it, block a device or wipe stored information to not let it fall among thieves.
Safe location. Many applications track location of a device owner, which can be transferred on to third parties. Such information may be used by online predators and other web abusers to find where your kids are most likely to be at a certain time.
To protect you children, you should make sure that only you have the access to a location service, which monitors your kids’ whereabouts. Set location data so that it is not publicly available and can’t be searched.
In addition, you should discourage your kids from using “check-in” services on social media and sharing their personal information like school and home address with strangers.
Appropriate sharing. When kids use social networks, they tend to have a sense of impunity. That’s why sometimes their posts are offensive for others, and that’s where cyberbullying eventually starts.
If we once again turn to statistics, we’ll see that at least 1 in 10 teenagers have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission. At the same time, 1 in 5 teens have either posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others.
You should explain your children that posting irresponsible content is dangerous. It may potentially have both immediate and long-term detrimental effects. Emotional and social consequences may differ as well.
Cyberbullying is known to be one of top suicide factors among teenagers. That’s one more reason why teen Internet safety practice and open parent-kid conversation on this issue are so essential.
A good way to control kids’ behavior on social networks is to create your personal account and befriend your children there. Thus, you will be able to view posts they publish, their likes, shares, and friends added.
Hopefully, the aforementioned Internet safety tips for teens and little kids will help you create safe online environment and protect your family. However, don’t forget that the best way to ensure your kids are safe, aware of possible danger, and know how to avoid it is to keep conversation open. Ask them:
- What are your friends doing online?
- What are the coolest new apps?
- What’s your favorite app?
- What do you know about cyberbullying?
- Have you ever seen anything that has made you uncomfortable on your phone?
Encouraging your family to be open about what they do online will help to keep them safe and give you peace of mind. Talk to your children. And remember, if a child can’t learn the way you teach, you should teach in a way a child can learn.