The following post is by Leticia Barr, a parent, former educator and blogger who originally wrote this for her TechSavvyMama.com site.
Mobile devices allow our kids to use their smartphones for more tasks now than ever but with every tap comes the opportunity to share sensitive personal information, make a purchase, or download an infected app. With more than half (56%) of kids under 17 using their cellphones regularly to text, make calls, take pictures and video, and access social media sites, our challenge becomes knowing what they’re doing on their smartphone to ensure they’re safe.
As tempting as it might be to hover or put your kids in a protective bubble to shield them from the risks of using a smartphone, neither are very realistic. Friend, fellow parent, and founder of KidVuz.com, Rebecca Levey appeared on NBC Chicago this summer to provide a Parents Survival Guide For Tweens & Social Media and recommended that parents know what their kids are doing, join the sites they’re on, visit their browser history, and have a conversation. She also provided some great tips about how to know the sites your kids are accessing are safe. Take a look!
Like Rebecca, I am a huge advocate of creating conversations with our children but acknowledge that there are times where I might need a little extra help. Downloading a protection app like those from the Asurion app center can assist parents in making informed choices about your family’s privacy and security. The app will help by scanning for viruses, showing which apps are accessing what data, and warning you, or your child, if they’re about to browse a questionable web site.
Since kids shouldn’t feel like a monitoring tool is a way of spying on them, talk to them about the advantages and disadvantages of using a mobile device and why it’s important to know what they’re doing. Chances are if you’re honest and frank with them, they’ll respect that far more than you going behind their backs.
You can also let them know that Asurion’s service can also help if their phone is lost or stolen. The Mobile Protection Center lets families lock and erase the content of the missing phone online so their data and their identity remain safe, regardless of where their phone may be. You can also sound an alarm if it’s wedged in the couch cushions at home before tearing the whole house apart.
Even though a protection app isn’t a substitute for an in-real life conversation, it’s a helpful tool that provides another layer of protection for peace of mind that busy parents and kids can appreciate.
For more information, contact your cellular carrier or visit Asurion.com/appcenter.
Leticia Barr is the founder of Tech Savvy Mama, a site where she’s incorporated her experience as a parent and background as an educator to provide useful advice for families about technology since 2008. She can also be found writing for Parents.com and Babble Tech.