Giving a child a phone is one thing; keeping them safe as they use it is another. While owning a phone comes with many pros, including easier communication and exposure to responsibility, it also comes with a great deal of risk in terms of safety.
Cyberbullying, pornography, kidnapping and car accidents are just some of the many dangers children are exposed to when they receive a phone of their own. The safety tips below are a good starting point for parents worrying about their new teen or tween’s mobile phone safety.
Teach them how to hide their location
In many reported incidents across the United States, kidnappers, pedophiles and other nefarious internet operatives used the location feature on children’s phones to track them down and harm them. The location and geo-tagging features come with every phone and are useful when put to their pre-determined functions.
But they can also easily be hacked into and used for harm. For protection, parents should teach kids how to turn their location and geo-tagging features off when they feel uncomfortable or go to dangerous areas.
If you cannot come around to having them the location feature off, parents can have kids install the Phone Tracker app. Parents do not have to say what it does, but it monitors every physical and digital moment the child makes, including to venues, websites and apps. The Phone Tracker app is free, legal and used by millions of parents already.
Be aware and alert regarding cyberbullying
One of the biggest vices that come with children owning mobile phones is exposure to cyberbullying. Parents seeking to protect against cyberbullying need to start by retaining remote control of the child’s device.
This involves creating a password for the phone and allows them to access on-demand the websites and apps that the child has been visiting for mature analysis. Parents also need to be alert to the signs of a child experiencing bullying because it can happen right under everyone’s nose. To guarantee safety, parents have to teach kids what cyberbullying is and how they can protect themselves or report it to officials.
Teach children to avoid answering unknown numbers or texts
The easiest way to protect children as they use new devices is by advising them against answering phone numbers or texts from strange phone numbers. Much like with refusing to enter unmarked vans driven by strangers, children need to be instructed to avoid picking calls phone numbers without names they recognize attached.
Random phone numbers are not always dangerous but they pose a high risk of exposure to pedophiles, scam artists, kidnappers and more. This method is great because kids can protect themselves on their own, regardless of location.
Attach a recovery phone number on the phone
It’s not always pedophiles that are the trouble, though. With children, losing the mobile phone is a problem that should be expected often. Before they are fully used to it, children can lose their mobile phones accidentally tens of times.
Savvy parents know to attach a recovery phone number on the device that good Samaritans can use when trying to send the recovered phone back to its owners. Tape works just fine for attaching a parent’s number to the back of the phone. This works best for younger children.
Install a strong antivirus or security software
As parents hand over a device, they should accompany it with security software to protect against antiviruses, hacking and other internet vices. Children are prone to visiting unregulated websites, especially if parents choose to ignore controlling that aspect of the device. Good security software always has a free basic package and works wonders for protection.