Keeping Kids Safe When They’re Playing on Your Phone!
Children can’t live in a bubble. Keeping them away from phones, games, and the internet may seem like an easy way to stay safe. However, sooner or later, they will need to learn how to research, play games, and socialize with friends without getting themselves into undue trouble.
It is important to understand the dangers that face children before searching for ways to keep kids safe when they’re playing on your phone. There are many risks associated with going online. Unfortunately, some are less obvious than others.
Danger: Child Predators
Every parent’s nightmare is that a stranger is lurking somewhere online to lure their child away. Predators can entice children to take part in lurid behavior. A predator can even learn a child’s address, which can lead to the worst case scenario.
Just as you instruct your child not to speak to strangers in public, teach them to do the same on the internet. Explain to them that the internet is a public space like a park or a shopping mall. Anyone can interact with anyone else, except online, it is much easier for a “bad guy” to masquerade as a good one. If a child wishes to interact with friends online, encourage them to verify that the person they are speaking with is indeed their friend. This could be through the use of a code word that they decide upon in person.
We generally think of viruses as an annoyance that can often be dealt with through anti-virus software or the trip to a computer repair shop. However, some viruses can harvest data through the phone, which can then lead to loss of privacy and identity theft.
Keep an anti-virus app up-to-date on your mobile phone. Password protect your phone to disallow children from downloading any material without your permission. You should also restrict any websites that are known to not be safe to browse.
Danger: Identity Theft
You may think that a child is in no danger of identity theft, but you would be wrong. An unscrupulous person can get details from anyone and use those to take out credit cards or make mass purchases. The threat of identity theft is compounded when your child is using your phone, which likely has your personal data stored.
Identity theft generally comes in the form of a database being hacked or a phishing scam. While you can do very little about what information a big box retailer has, you can keep your children from falling victim to phishing. Tell them to never open an email that looks suspicious in any way. This is especially true for emails that have attachments. Children should never click on a link inside of an email that asks to verify personal data. If they think it may have come from a friend or trust entity, you should contact them first to find out if the email is legitimate.
Danger: Vulgarity and Pornography
The internet is rife with vulgar language and images. They can appear out of the blue in social media, Google searches, or in seemingly innocuous videos. You can put a restriction on your phone to allow for safe browsing, but sometimes even that isn’t enough.
Along with blocking pornographic sites and images, never allow your child to browse alone. As long you remain nearby, your child is less likely to act on any curiosity about certain websites they may have heard about. Also, you can react quickly to any strange imagery that may appear. Still, you should be able to answer questions that might make you both feel uncomfortable.
Some may argue that the biggest threat facing children when they are playing on your phone is bullying. Social media allows children to have access to each other at any time of the night or day. This is great when it comes to studying. It is not so good when one child is victimizing another.
A healthy self-esteem is the best defense against bullying. Talk to your child early and often about being bullied and being the bully. If you suspect that your child is on either side of this issue, take action immediately.
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Topic: Keeping Kids Safe When They’re Playing on Your Phone!