Modern parents buy smartphones for their children when they are as young as 5. It has become an absolute necessity to use mobiles to keep in touch with friends and keep track of emails and frequent messages from schools.
Children will not use the phone to chat with their friends and for educational purposes alone. They will use it to watch videos, browse the net and play games of all sorts. It is important to know that giving them a phone will enable them to watch some sort of unwanted content too. Pay attention to the following 5 points to ensure your child uses the smartphone responsibly and stays away from the unwanted stuff on the internet.
Children tend to break things and lose them frequently. It is in their nature to be a bit careless and they are going to handle the smartphone given to them in the same way. There is no use in buying a costly set and blaming the child for losing it after a few days. Talk to the vendor while looking for the mobile and choose the sturdiest model which does not break easily.
Get theft insurance and breakage insurance. Also, get extra protective glasses and cases, save the contact details on whom to call if a child gets in trouble. Save it as the first contact with AA before the name for it to appear on top of the mobile contact list.
Select a smartphone with an operating system that is parental control friendly. Check with your software services vendor regarding the best parenting control apps for children and check whether the particular OS is compatible with those apps.
It is wise to choose the Android OS as it is adaptable to almost all the parental control apps on the market. Learn how to use them and inform your child that you will monitor all their activities frequently through the app.
Most children feel safe when they know their activities are being monitored by their parents. They will not get scared by online strangers who force them to do unwanted things. Understand how to interpret the various notifications sent by the parental control apps and spend time checking the notifications regularly.
Teenagers might not agree to this setup as they want more privacy and might demand you to stop monitoring them. It is always advisable to monitor them discreetly instead of prying directly on their privacy.
Let your children use certain kid-friendly platforms like YouTube Kid and play games appropriate to their age. Control their app downloads and enable the settings to ask your permission before any downloads or online payments are completed. The Google Family Link app allows you to gain such controls in Android phones easily.
Children do not need very costly models with excess RAM and internal memory as they are not going to use the mobile for any official purpose. Buy an affordable model or preferably a local model which enables them to download the games they like and play without interruption.
Ensure the phone has basic features like a camera, video watching facility and its OS supports the parental control software of your choice. It is best to buy the most affordable mobile on the market as it is the child’s first phone. Get them high-end models once they are capable of keeping them responsibly without breaking or losing.
Talk with the child and set clear mobile data limits. Do not allow the child to use beyond a particular GB of internet per day. Talk with your ISP provider and arrange for the internet to stop after a particular time like after 10 p.m. Do not allow the kids to recharge on their own.
Select the mobile data plan that is suitable for their studies, limited gaming, and video watching. Talk with the child and set clear rules regarding screen time and mobile data usage and do not allow them to exceed the limit as a reward or without your knowledge.
Do not allow them to use your mobile or the old mobile in the house after their time or data expires. Develop the habit of planning properly and enjoying and learning within the given limit from a young age. It is an important life lesson which will teach the child to manage money and time properly in the future when they grow up into responsible adults.
If there is an emergency to use extra data like an exam or downloading a huge document, make the child ask for permission and give proper reasons. Prevent them from using public Wi-Fi and ensure they are not using home wi-fi when prohibited by keeping the password a secret.
Encourage children to talk to you about the games they play, the videos they watch and all the new things discovered on the Internet. Explore interesting things with them, and educate them regarding the various online dangers targeting young children.
Train them to never heed to blackmail and adult web camera activities. Train the children not to befriend anybody online without informing you or accept gifts in the form of game life or gift coupons. Several hackers use children to steal their parents’ data like mobile numbers and credit card numbers in exchange for game favors.
Warn the children about such happenings and tell them never to disclose any details about your personal or family information to strangers online. Use Nuwber to check whom the child befriends and ensure it is a legitimate person. Teach your child to do the same when they meet new people.
Kids need direction and strict monitoring when it comes to digital usage. It is the responsibility of every parent to ensure their child is taught how to use the smartphone responsibly and in a safe manner. Follow all the five steps given above to ensure your child explores the internet to enhance their knowledge without becoming victim of the numerous dangers waiting for them online.