Be a Tech Savvy Parent

Lifestyle / Stories / April 12, 2014

photo-2-1Nowadays, we give our children smart phones to help keep them safe. This phone is a great way for you to communicate with them no matter where they are, but it’s also a portal to get into trouble. Whether they’re misusing social media such as SnapChat or Facebook or simply watching explicit material online, our kids aren’t just using their smart phones to keep in touch with us.

Luckily, the iPhone offers an easy way for parents to ensure that nothing found on the phone would warrant an R-Rating.

Step 1: Click on your Settings button

Step 2: Find the General Settings

Step 3: Restrictions – Enter a Passcode your child will not guess

Step 4: Enable Restrictions

Parents can then choose what apps their child can use such as the camera or FaceTime. If you choose to allow your child to download apps, surf the web and utilize media on iTunes, you can set extra controls. For instance, apps have six settings, Don’t Allow, 4+, 9+, 12+ 17+ and Allow All Apps. You can limit adult content on websites, music, movies and even Siri, the iPhone’s personal assistant.

The Android 4.3 release and later allows for parental controls, but they aren’t quite as extensive as Apple. The Android controls found under the General Settings allow for parents to create multiple users (for shared devices) or restrict the only user (again, with a passcode to unlock settings). Android controls the maturity of apps available for the user and password protects the Google Play store to prevent children from spending too much money on apps.

In addition to these on-device settings, there are a plethora of nanny apps available that monitor and restrict your child’s activity even when you’re not around. Android offers a free Kid Mode and Windows offers a Kid’s Corner. Search your application store and read the reviews to find the best one for your family.

Social media usage should also be monitored. Children and teens aren’t always aware of the long-term repercussions of their actions. For instance, many believe that once they send a SnapChat to a friend, it’s gone forever, but this isn’t the case. The person receiving the SnapChat could easily screenshot the image and save it to their phone. Private messages on social media don’t always stay private, and some school districts take social media posts very seriously, especially bullying. A dramatic rant about another student could mean disciplinary action.

The best line of defense is being realistic and speaking with your child about how they’re using their phone.

Krissy Tripp is the Digital Media Coordinator of Front Page Digital of Central Missouri. She graduated cum laude from the Missouri School of Journalism with a bachelors in Journalism, with an emphasis in Strategic Communications.

Alvin Leifeste

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