How to Protect Your Kids in the Age of Smartphones
For many parents, the pros of smartphones outweigh the cons by far. You can get in touch with your kid wherever they are. They can get in touch with you. You don’t have to worry about missed buses or call their friends’ parents to see if they’re at their house. Yet, there’s always the nagging thought: are they really safe? The issue is tricky, especially considering that you’re talking about children. You’d be amazed at how much information sites like UnMask.com can reveal, even about kids.
Quite a few things come to mind when we consider the risks of children using cell phones. There is the danger of racking up a huge bill of accessing inappropriate web content, cyberbullying, and strangers contacting your child (and vice versa).
It’s even more concerning when parents aren’t knowledgeable enough to protect their children. Children are much better at anything tech than their parents, even parents in the group of young millennials who might not be able to remember the days before smartphones. Generation Z grew up with smartphones, the internet, social media, and apps. They are part of who they are.
Enter Parental Control Apps
The good news is that apps to exert parental control do exist. They can help make sure not only that your kid is safe, but also keep them from racking up a giant bill. An example of one such app is the free Google Family Link, which works on any Apple or Android device. If the parent uses an Android device, their tablet or handset requires the 4.4 version in order to use Google Family Link. Go to ‘Settings’ to check what software your device has.
If the parent uses an iPad or iPhone, it needs no earlier than Apple’s iOS 12 version. Again, go to settings, then to About to check your device’s version. Your software number will be under ‘Version’.
If the parent uses an iPhone, they need to go to the child’s phone’s settings menu to use Apple’s parental controls. Then, they can set time limits for social media apps, gaming, and entertainment. The limits can be daily or weekly, just as with Google’s Family Link app. If your child wants more time, they can send a request for the same to the parent’s phone!
Like Google’s bedtime, parents can establish a “downtime” period, during which the kid can only use functions and apps chosen by the parent. To carry most of these tasks out before the iOS 12 update, users needed to download a third-party app.
Content and App Control Access
If you use Android, the operating system makes things simpler for parents by allowing them to set up more than one account on a smartphone or another device. This limits the use of the smartphone or other device when in your kid’s hands. At the same time, it allows you to share the phone with them. You can create an account, manage it from your Android or iOS device, and log in on the kid’s phone.Android users download Family Link for Android from Google Play store. Parents using iPhone or iPad must get the Family Link version from the App Store. You sign in as a parent. Children under 13 require a separate account. At the top of the screen, there is a +sign. Press this sign to locate the account sign-up option. It takes less than 20 minutes to create a Google Account for your kid.
Final Thoughts on Protecting Your Child
Technology is changing more rapidly than possible for parents to keep track of. It is not enough to check chat messages, if only for the simple reason that children are quickly losing interest in chat functions, and soon, there will be nothing to check. Be aware of safety recommendations and take any steps necessary to control your child’s smartphone use. Better safe than sorry.