Winter break is almost here. That means kids will be out of school for two or more weeks with oodles of time on their hands. During such time, their mobile phones will likely be permanently stuck to their hand while they are just sitting at home, spending time with friends, traveling, or even to distract them while accompanying you on errands. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.
- Precautions While…At Home
To prevent brain melt, set limits on when and how they can use their phone. Also be sure to install some parental controls to prevent them from viewing or downloading inappropriate material, whether intentionally or not. Unless you are there, warn children to ignore and delete emails, calls, and texts from unknown names and numbers.
- Precautions While…With Friends
Being responsible might be the last thing on kids’ minds when spending time with friends. Encourage them to check-in periodically so you know where they are and if they are okay. As a backup, many phones have tools that will allow you to track their location and activity. Just make sure to be balanced when using this, keeping a clear line between protection and spying.
- Precautions While…Traveling
If your children will be away, their mobile phone can be great for getting in touch with them and for making memories. If they’ll be taking a lot of pictures, make sure they turn geo-tagging off. Also, let them know that it’s better to ‘check in’ when leaving a location instead of when they arrive. If they ever feel in danger, they can use their phone as a panic alarm.
- Precautions While…Out and About
Parking lots are packed, roads are jammed, stores are overcrowded, and lines to check out are longer than those to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland during summer – and that’s just to pick up a bag of chips! With so many people milling around, remind your children how important it is to be constantly aware of their surroundings to prevent injury or theft. They can’t do this if their faces are glued to their phone screen.
The last thing you want is for your child to be harmed by their increased reliance on their mobile phone. “With power comes responsibility,” right? It’s a great device but there are dangers as well. These can be avoided by open conversation and a little ingenuity. Or, you can use a specialized app like NQ Family Guardian for Android. It includes:
- Web Filter: Safeguard your children by blocking inappropriate websites.
- App Filter: Make smart choices about which apps your children can download.
- Contact Filter: Prevent harassing calls or texts by blocking certain numbers.
- Monitors: Keep track of your children’s locations, messages, calls, browsing histories, apps, and photos.
- Schedules: Control your children’s smartphone use by setting up times when they can make calls, browse the Internet, text, and play apps.
- Geo-Fences: Set up safe zones for your children and receive text messages when they are outside of these safe zones.
- Check-ins: Encourage your kids to tell you where they are by using an easy check-in function on their smartphones. You can also track their location if they forget to check in.
- Panic Alarm: If your kids are in trouble, they can send an alert message with their exact location to your phone.
Whatever plans you and your family have coming up, stay safe and enjoy it as much as possible 🙂
I am being compensated for my participation in this program. All opinions are 100% my own.