It wasn’t that long ago that we had cell phones that looked like a shoe box. Cell phones that could only make and receive calls, before the technology boom that allowed for texting, pictures, video, and more to be inexpensive and accessible to a majority of the public. This has allowed for a majority of the families in America to own smartphones and tablets. It seems that wherever you go you see kids talking, texting, and playing games on their phones. While there are many positive aspects to children having cell phones there are also dangers involved. By learning how to childproof your device you will have fewer headaches and get a little more sleep at night.
When talking about toddlers and younger children childproofing is rather easy. By not ever enabling Wi-Fi and 3G you are able to make sure that they cannot have web access and therefor will stay away from the things on the internet that you do not want them to see. The tougher challenge at this age is to ensure the structural integrity of your mobile device. Make sure to limit their time with the mobile devices and keep them under constant supervision. It may help to place them at a table with the device so they have a sturdy surface to play on. Make sure to keep liquids as far away as possible to prevent spill damage.
When kids reach elementary ages, things change a little bit. It is still important to be proactive about protecting the mobile device by using a shock absorbent covering of some sort. There are also multiple products on the market that are designed to protect the screen of your mobile device from smudges and scratches. It is also important to talk to your elementary aged child about inappropriate websites, apps, and actions that can be accessed from mobile devices. You also have control over this by downloading a web browser that allows only approved websites to be viewed. Along with this many mobile devices also have parental controls that allow parents to limit the amount of time spent on the internet, disable outgoing call functions, turn of in-app purchases, and disable the camera function.
When kids move into middle school there is not much that changes when it comes to cell phone protection. You may be able to switch to a different browser that allows for more internet access, only disabling specific sites. It is also more important to limit the amount of time spent on the web, talking, and texting. You may also want to look into limiting the maximum volume of the device as this is around the time that they start using headphones.
Once most kids reach high school age they have smartphones. This is terrifying for parents, especially when it comes to texting and driving. There are apps and functions that are available on most smartphones that limit talk and text capability while a teen is driving. When it comes to inappropriate websites you need to realize that by this time they probably know more about the technology than you and you just need to trust them. This is a time when they are transitioning to young adults and you have less and less control of their actions every day. One of your best bets to protect your wallet and teach them responsibility is to explain than any damage, replacement, or bill overage will be coming out of their pocket.
It’s obviously not feasible to know what your child is doing with their mobile device all day every day. There are so many great features, functions, and products on the market that allow parents to keep both their kids and their mobile devices safe. In the end communication and parental supervision are going to be the best bet for childproofing your mobile device.