Protecting your kids and your family when children have smartphones

I was at Starbucks the other day, sipping my grande Americano and looking around at the people sitting around the café chatting. Most people were looking at their phones and I noticed again that unsurprisingly that several children were also doing something with a smartphone – presumably playing a game.

I’ve often thought that children spend too much time on tablets and phones goofing around. Researchers at the University of Iowa discovered that by age 2, 90 percent of children have the ability to use a tablet.

Then there’s the whole issue around giving your child a phone of their own. On the one hand parents want to be able to connect to their children through messaging or phone call any time while the parent works, or if the child has an emergency they can call family or police when alone.

Two critical issues are raised by this new development.

The first is that it changes the parent and child relationship, encourages the children to relate to parents through an abstraction layer and may lose the ability to communicate effectively.

The second big issue is the safety and security of the child. With so many apps that are malware and so many people in the world that may abuse children over the internet, and many people may try to violate your family’s security through the child’s vulnerabilities and natural instinct to trust adults.

To give you some piece of mind on the who, what, where, when, how of your child’s safety and security in smartphone usage, I recommend tracking their phone usage. To learn all about the usefulness of tracking their phone usage I recommend the SMS Tracker App because it has in-depth reviews of various tracker apps and pros/cons. Some tracker apps have keylogging, GPS, can monitor Facebook, snapchat, Whatsapp activity and learn who they’re talking to and what they’re saying.

Here’s something else you can do. Over Christmas we felt my 8 year old daughter needed a phone for the times we are late getting home and she’s already there from school, we need to be able to tell her where we are, what is she doing and when we will arrive. So I bought her a” dumb phone”. I got the new Nokia 3310.

It’s pretty straightforward, I have to teach her to type using the old T-9 style on the keypad, but it’s safer because it just allows her to text us, no data on the phone so she can’t download apps or access facebook.

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I'm an eternal optimist, follow a Buddhist philosophy, geek of many areas, entrepreneur, learning the Chinese language, a die-hard sports fan, love politics and nuclear submarines.

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