It seems to be a given these days that kids use various devices to get online, play games, listen to music, and more. In fact, if you hand your child a mobile device, they seem to pick up how to use it faster than you can. It’s natural for parents to worry about these things though, especially when devices are connected to the internet. Your kids could see things they’re not meant to or even end up chatting to strangers. Before you hand them your iPad, there are a few bases to cover if you want to keep them safe.
Buy Kid-safe Devices
The first step you can consider is buying a specific device just for kids. While many adult tablets and phones have a kids mode, you would be surprised by how easy it can be to turn it off. Even if they’re not trying to, your kids could accidentally switch it back. There are some great kids devices that have limited functions and preloaded apps and content that are designed just for kids. For example, O2 has a family tablet that helps to keep the fun safe and secure for your children. Some kids devices don’t even connect to the internet – they just have games and other fun things to do.
Download Apps Just for Kids
Even if you don’t use a children’s device, you can still look for apps that are designed just for kids. The O2 tablet comes with a safe kids app that’s loaded with audiobooks, TV shows like Horrible Histories, puzzles and games, and an art studio. The app is approved by the NSPCC, so you know it should be safe for your kids to use. When you’re looking for apps, keep in mind that just because it looks like it’s for kids, it doesn’t mean it’s perfectly safe. Some games can still have content you don’t want your kids to see or might allow your children to chat to anyone, unless you set very specific settings.
Supervise Device Use
Even if you think everything on a device is safe, it’s still a good idea to monitor how your child is using it. There are different ways you might approach this, depending on what they’re doing. One rule you can make is that they can only use the device in the same room as you, and never alone in their bedroom. Another good idea is to check the device after they’ve used it to see what they’ve been doing and if they’ve downloaded anything. With any games where you can connect with other players, you could even play with them on your own device so you can see what’s going on.
Talk to Your Children
Don’t forget to have important talks about the appropriate use of devices too. You need to make it clear how you want your child to use any device. Rather than having one big talk now and then, you can try to make it an everyday topic to talk about. This helps to make sure your child feels comfortable talking about it and telling you if anything is wrong.
You don’t have to ban kids from using mobile devices completely. But you should be careful if you want to make sure they’re safe.