By Kyle Albert
As a parent, one of my major concerns about my son owning a smartphone, is his safety. Although he’s already in middle school, I can’t help but be worried about him accessing restricted online contents or experiencing online bullying on social networking sites. While I can’t deny that it’s been a great help for his homework, I still have to be watchful about his mobile consumption.
Today, I’ll share with you some of my effective solutions for ensuring safety with kids using iPads and other mobile technology.
Set boundaries for kids using iPads
Setting mobile boundaries are the first step that you should do before providing them with the device. If your children are old enough to understand how to use a smartphone, it’s about time that you talk to them about the things that they can and can’t do with it. Similar to laying out some household chores, you should come up with a set of rules when using the smartphone. What are the websites that they can visit? What is the age-appropriate apps and games for them? You may also use a tool like the Verizon Wireless FamilyBase to keep track of their mobile usage and to limit the amount of time that they can access the mobile internet.
Consider the following checklist:
- For applications, pre-load their gadgets with the ones that have educational value such as dictionary applications, pocket museums, science and math apps, vocabulary builders and e-readers.
- For games, avoid the ones that contain violence and/or gambling.
- Impose a time on when they can only use the device. For example, I only allow my son to use his phone when he’s done with his assignments.
- Set the parental mode on their device, so you can block unsecured sites.
- Load their device with age-appropriate music and movies.
You can also be creative about it, by giving them a parent-child contract where you can set all the rules and the punishments when they fail to meet the requirements. But, be realistic with your rules and consequences.
Monitor their social accounts
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are ideally recommended only for 13 years old and above. But, my son’s excuse is he’s been utilizing the social media to connect with his classmates and even some of his teachers. My solution? I was the one who created his account. I made it private and only displayed some of his basic information. You have to explain to them why you’re doing this and why they shouldn’t expose too much information about themselves online.
It’s also best to trust your children when using this platform. This will create a sense of respect between the two of you making the relationship closer.
Use GPS tracker
Knowing his exact location gives me and my wife a peace of mind. By activating the GPS (Global Positioning System) tracker, we get real-time information on his whereabouts. This will also be helpful in case his phone was stolen or got lost.
There are various third-party apps to do the trick, but what we’ve been using is the default Find My iPhone application. By setting up our Apple IDs, all of our locations are shown on a single map on all of our iDevices.
Educate about consequences
It is good for your kids to know about the dangers of constantly accessing the internet and posting on their social pages. I suggest you engage yourselves in an informal talk, educating them about the dangers of cyberbullying and identity theft.
Ensuring their mobile safety is an easy task. It only takes smart parents to make this a success. Do you find this post helpful? Do you have other tips you wish to add? Share them with us.
Kyle Albert, a dad, is always interested in tablets, latest trends, startup businesses, fashion and design. He is also a keen social media user. Inclined to share and write about technology and how it can help people with their daily lives, how it can make things easier and for personal development as well, may it be for kids, adults, people in every walks of life. You may reach him at his Gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @KyleAlbert9, or you may also check him out at their upcoming freelance writers site, techiedoodlers.com