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Addressing Safety and Security of Smartphones With Your Kids

Although many parents try to keep smartphones out of their kid’s hands for as long as possible, there will inevitably be a time when your child will ask for their own phone. Kids can ask for phones at different ages, but regardless of the timeframe, you must take the steps necessary to ensure their safety and security if you give in.

Although giving in should be seen as a defeat, there are risks that you should be aware of as technology evolves and your kids become more interested. Today, we will talk about the current dangers of smartphones and going online and what parents can do to give their kids some independence without letting things get out of hand.

Understand The Risks

Many parents are likely aware of the risks that they take when they go online, including the possibility of scams and criminals who want to take advantage of your information. You must protect your kids from the same issues.

For instance, there has been a rise in the number of smishing attacks and spam text messages in recent years. That is when a criminal sends you a text that looks legitimate, but it contains a link, and when clicked, it opens a door for the hacker to enter your phone and steal data. Many of these scams can specifically target kids. Hackers can send fake links that look like contests or giveaways, and it can lure kids into clicking. Parents should warn kids not to click any links unless mom and dad inspect them first.

Also, it is an essential rule of cell phone etiquette that you keep your conversations and your activity private. However, many apps try to do everything in their power to make your life and the lives of your kids an open book. Companies like Google and Facebook want to track your data because that information can help them to modify their product. Plus, they can modify their ads based on what you and your kids view online. Hackers can also take advantage of these gateways. If your kids install these popular apps, then change the sharing settings so that your data can remain private.

Then there is the risk that your kid could accidentally turn on the phone’s camera or microphone on accident. If that happens, then your child could give up their location or other private information that could put them in danger. Before you give your kid a phone, make sure that you teach them how to use it.

Set Parental Controls and Set Guidelines

To avoid the scams above and to keep your kids out of trouble, you must enable parental controls on their phone before you hand it over. By turning these functions on, you can control the websites that your kids can see. This is important to protect them against the threat of data sharing and to prevent them from going to inappropriate websites.

In addition to limiting the content they can see, parental controls can help you to control other aspects of your child’s smartphone usage. For instance, many parental controls can allow you to set screen limits so that the phone shuts down after it has been used for a preset amount of time. Limiting screen time comes with plenty of benefits, but the main benefit is that it can remind kids they need to spend time outdoors, where they can learn new things about the world.

While it depends on the program or type of phone, many devices also have parental controls that can pair up with the GPS so you can track your child’s location. Finally, many parental control programs can also help you to back up the photos, videos, and other memories on the phone to the cloud. This could be important if the phone is compromised by a cybercriminal and you need to do a factory reset. You will still be able to reclaim what you had.

There Are Also Health Concerns To Consider

When it comes to smartphone safety, there are more than just privacy issues to consider. For example, physical and mental issues can develop when we use phones too often.

When we use our phones, many of us tend to bend our heads or necks over the device, which requires us to round our upper and lower back. When that happens, we put stress on our vertebrae, and that can cause pain and posture issues down the road. On top of that, the constant scrolling that we do on social media can be stressful on our hands and cause damage to our thumbs. You don’t want your kids to start to have these issues too early, so monitor their phone time.

There is also a mental health issue. Kids can get hooked on their cell phones, and they can forget about the outside world. When that happens, they can forget to exercise, practice self-care, and create meaningful relationships. On top of that, social media has made it so that we can start to feel bad about ourselves if we don’t get enough likes on a post or picture. If your children don’t also seek outside validation, then they may believe that the world is only what they see on their phones, and that is not good for their mental health.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you decide to give your kids their first smartphone. Consider the tips discussed here, and don’t be afraid to take control — your kids will be better for it.

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