Online Safety For Children

Original Source: ThePocketTechGuide

Although it might seem intrusive, having a quick browse through your kids mobile phones is a daily routine for some parents. While the phone is left unattended, parents all over the world are concerned, if not curious about their children’s mobile activities. And if your not – you need to keep reading! Let me be clear – respecting your children’s privacy is one thing – allowing your child to suffer by not being prepared and alert is very different.

If you are one of the few Parents that are already monitoring and regulating their kids smartphone activities – then you can probably skip this post.

In my opinion, the days that phones were only used for phone calls and texting came to an end when Apple released the first iPhone back in 2007. The birth of the first iPhone saw the smartphone market shift quickly too touch sensitive display’s, now seen on almost every smartphone. It changed how we see and use smartphones forever.

Being able to contact your children in an emergency was the reason parents purchased a mobile phone for their little gems. But by trying to protect your children in a logical way, Parents need to stop and think about what types of potential threats his or her mobile device brings.

With millions of applications downloaded daily from the Google Play Store and iTunes – the world is getting really small and information is being given away thoughtlessly.

In the US, 60% of children and young adults have, at one time or another, experienced cyber bullying via their smartphones. Communications were via text and other messaging applications, online social media apps and websites. Abusive calls was also on the list, but at a much lower percentage.

– Where It Begins –

Finding someones phone number is not really that difficult these days with so many detailed “who is” websites out there – and that is where the problem lies. As careful as you are about keeping your personal information safe – your children won’t be. They are quite happy passing email addresses, Facebook details, Google + profile, WhatsApp profile picture, Twitter account,Vine, the old MSN Messenger ID – and the list goes on and on. Actually, we counted a total of 32 different ways that your details could be found using apps and websites that some of us use everyday!

Starting to get the picture? You may be leaking secure data, unintentionally, through your children’s mobile activities. Not to mention the personal data they are giving away about themselves!

The threats that children and young adults face in todays “all online” world are real but not visible. The issues that parents face are serious and sometimes, can be visible, which is very distressing for any parent to see.

– Prevention is key –

Don’t think its all doom and gloom as there are plenty of security apps available for both Android and iOS platforms. One that has been talked about recently is Snooper (link can be found in Helpful Links section). We suggest you have a good look around your chosen OS’s app stores. There are free downloads available – a “try before you buy” kind of deal. Also, be sure to read the app reviews left by others – it will give you an idea of the quality of the application. Of course, there are also some great paid apps that offer more useful features such as boundary alerts if your kids breach a set geo location, the ability to add blocks and only allow your kids to only see certain content and, GPS tracking, so you can find them in an emergency.

Now, some of the features mentioned above might not appeal to every parent – but with prevention in mind – they are nice to have and may come in handy if you suspect your child is in trouble.

– Protect Everyone –

Parents should also change the passwords they and their children use online frequently. Without making it a chore, every 2-3 months is a good time frame. Important sites such as Banking,investment and other financial sites should be changed more frequently. It might sound like a mission if you use lots of sites – but your protecting your money – so its worth it! Financial fraud is always rising as we move more of our lives to the cloud. If you are like me and tend to forget passwords, invest in a password generator – which will generate unique passwords for you and save them.

* For iOS Users – 1 Password is a very highly regarded app and supports desktop management as well.

Keep an eye on the apps your children download and install. Both Google and Apple have been kicked by parents who complained that it was too easy for children to purchase in-app upgrades, leaving the parents with a huge whole in their bank accounts – as payment / card details are given to both Apple and Google during the set-up of iPhones and Android phones.

Cybersmile Foundation is available for concerned parents. Alternatively, you could try speaking to your children”s school to see if they can do anything to help. Most Head Teachers are extremely helpful and are trained in Cyber Bullying, and how to deal with it.

The world has changed and as parents, we need to be more aware of whats going on in our children lives.

I hope this post has helped someone and as always, please feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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