As a tech-savvy mom, I realize that kids nowadays are part of a world where technology is ever-present. More importantly, it isn’t just a fad that will disappear into the retro world much like Alf and the Dukes of Hazzard – it’s here to stay.
So how do you keep your kids safe from accessing and seeing things that are inappropriate for their age?
Here are 3 rules every parent should follow:
Don’t let them know their passwords.
While this can be time consuming for the parent, it is an important tool in monitoring the content they are allowed to see and download. I’ve come across many 9+ apps that I wouldn’t allow my 9 year old to play – yet. If a child doesn’t know their password, they must come to you to download anything. This is great way to be a gatekeeper and avoid $100 in-app purchases for robobitzy coins that will save the world - or so your child believes.
Geo-locators should be disabled.
Most electronic devices come with Location Services – and often they are defaulted to being “on”. This allows the device to be tracked down to the GPS coordinate of its location – including your child’s bedroom. Also, if turned on, every photo they take and upload is then stamped with the GPS coordinates. So say, for example, you upload a picture of your little one to Facebook. Anyone who has access to that photo can then right click it, save the photo to their computer, and also locate where the photo was taken.
How To: to turn this feature off on your child’s iPhone/iPod device, follow these simple steps: select Settings > Privacy > Location Services – and then slide the button to “off”.
Remember it is a mobile world.
74% of teens access the Internet on a mobile device. So while we applaud you for locking down your home computer, remember that your child will most likely access the Internet nowadays from an electronic device such as a Kindle, iPad, iPod, Android, iPhone, and more. Make sure you have restrictions set on these devices as well.
How To: to set restrictions on any iP device, follow these simple steps: Select Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions > set a password known only to you > scroll down and set the restrictions as you see fit. I always advocate for not pushing the age limit – they are there for a reason. So if your child is 7 years old, they should be allowed only to see apps for 4+ because the next level is 9+.
Stay tuned to the NOBL blog for more advice on the social media front and keeping your kids safe online.