How to keep your kids mobile safe at school
In theory most children aren’t allowed to use their mobile phones at school. I know though from my own boys who are both now at secondary school, that children do use their phones secretly at break and lunchtime. The especially brave/risky ones use them in the hallways or in class and whilst walking home.
It isn’t just phones either, some take tablets to school and even if you think your child doesn’t have a phone so this article doesn’t apply to you… The chances are that your child will be looking at friends’ phones and tablets. To keep your children mobile safe at school, these tips may help.
Talk to them
I know this sounds like a simple one, but it really is so important. Talk to your children about the content that is and isn’t appropriate for them to look at online. Explain to them the dangers of clicking links online, when they aren’t sure about the site it links to and don’t know whether the link is safe.
Make sure that they will talk to you
I find with my own children that being as open with them as possible about things really helps to let them feel that they can talk to me. As I said above talk to them but, also make sure that they know that they can talk to you if they are worried about anything. Or if they have done anything they aren’t sure that they should have online or seen anything that worries them – even if they think they may get in trouble for it.
I have a policy with my own children that they always get in less trouble if they’re honest. Also if something that has happened was an accident or done without them being aware of the consequences, then there’s no blame.
Protect their devices
As much as we like to be able to trust our children and as much as we hope that what we teach them about internet safety will stick, it is always a good idea to have a back-up plan. With internet security on their devices that they understand and that doesn’t slow their devices down, we can feel a lot more relaxed about them being online away from us.
I doubt there are many people that don’t have protection on their home computers and laptops such as anti-virus software these days, and yet so many of us forget about protecting our phones and tablets.
Protection such as the new Kapersky Security Cloud which protects against Trojans, worms and phishing and lots more is a really good idea. It makes connecting to public WiFi much safer and also records search history, which could work as a handy reminder to children to keep their searches age appropriate.
Plus you can turn on a feature that will let you locate the device, very handy for forgetful children and teenagers, plus handy as well if you have children who go off on their own that you may worry about.
Not only that, but like many parents I do have concerns about my children taking their phones to school with them, in case someone steals one of them. However I need them to take their phones with them, so that they can ring me if they need a lift home or if there’s any trouble. With the locator I would definitely be less concerned about them carrying them with them.
Child locks and restrictions
These days often children are more tech savvy than their parents and grandparents, as they have literally grown up not knowing any different. Whereas we have had to learn it over time. Children use tablets and electronic devices from such an early age now, that it really is so important to make sure that we as parents know how to protect them and ourselves.
The protecting ourselves bit is remembering to turn off ‘in-app’ purchases on any device that a child uses. We’ve all heard the horror stories of gigantic bills due to a 7 year old’s desperate need to buy extra chests to complete a game that they’re on. Seriously turn that off straight away before your child is ever allowed to touch that phone or device.
To protect them we need to remember to turn restrictions on wherever they are and where ever we feel appropriate. You can turn app purchasing off on devices, so that it will only work if the person has the password. This will stop them from buying non age appropriate apps and again from spending your money.
Restrictions on a lot of apps like YouTube mean that they won’t be shown any content that is marked as containing adult material. If restrictions are available – use them, they’re the modern-day version of a child lock.
If there’s a form of social media or a specific app that your child wants to download that you aren’t sure on, research it. A quick search online will usually tell you if the content will be suitable for your child and at what age your child should be allowed (according to the rules of the site) onto each form of social media.
The NSPCC site is a good resource for more information on how to turn parental locks and restrictions on with their devices and has lots more tips on how to keep your children safe online, it is definitely worth checking out.
Do you have any of your own tips?