Many children receive new phones or tablets during the holidays — and dive right in to all kinds of fun games and social media. If you haven’t checked out the privacy settings on your kids’ new devices, now is a good time to do that.
What To Check
Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to pay attention to the various settings on their devices.
- Purchases: For younger children, you definitely want to restrict their ability to purchase apps or make in-app purchases without your permission, since they may not even realize the consequences of making a purchase. Even for older kids and some teens, you may want a password or parental notification for this.
- Location: Lots of apps use location information, but some of them make it public. For kids and teens, keeping location private is an important part of staying safe online. Keep in mind that you may want location services working on your child’s device so you can keep track of them, particularly for older kids and teens — but you may not want apps to use that same info. You can set location availability app by app on both iPhone and Android.
- Apps: YouTube is popular with kids for the amazing variety of crazy videos—including many you don’t want your kids to see. YouTube (and some other apps) offers a restricted search mode you can set in the app settings.
- Browser: For younger kids especially, consider a child-friendly browser that restricts all searches and pages that are inappropriate. Mobicip (free on Android and iOS with a premium account available) is a browser and sophisticated parental controls and notification services for a child’s mobile device.
Controls for all these settings vary between iOS and Android, so don’t forget Asurion premier support can walk you through step-by-step. Watch how this mom setup and verified multiple safety options on her daughter’s smartphone in well under 7 minutes:
What To Say
No matter how old your child is, talking about online privacy and safety makes a big difference. Once a child is old enough to use a device without your moment-by-moment supervision, it’s time to start talking about how devices use the Internet — which can connect you to anything and anyone. Strangers you meet online should be treated like strangers on the street. As your child grows older, look for opportunities for them to make choices about online privacy and sharing. Talk about what you share with friends online, and what you decide not to share. Let them know how you make choices about your own privacy, and help them think through how to make their own choices through their teen years.
Be sure to talk about these issues with your kids (as age-appropriate):
- Friend requests from strangers
- Online spending
Check out this great article on all the details of keeping your kids safe online for even more ideas.
What To Do
Remember that keeping your kids safe online isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal. Check the privacy and location settings on their devices regularly—it’s easy for settings to get changed accidentally or for new apps to ask for information you didn’t need to restrict in the past.
Walk through your kids’ devices with them regularly, and engage them in conversation about what they like to do online, what they find confusing, or even scary. Making yourself a part of your kid’s online life is the most important factor in their safety!