Mobile Device Safety

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A while back my sister purchased an HP TouchPad for her 13 year old son for his birthday.  The fire sale on TouchPad’s made them super cheap, and it was the perfect gift.  Before she gave it to HIM, she gave it to me, so I could set up ways to track his activity on the device, and keep him safe.  I didn’t have a whole lot of options at the time, but here’s how we made it work.

The first thing we did is set up some parental controls on her wireless router at the house.  This allowed her to shut down internet access to everything in the house during certain hours of the day.  I like the Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router for it’s EXCELLENT parental control features!  This way, my sister could sleep easy, knowing that no one could get online inside the house while she was sleeping.

The second thing we did was create a Google account for him, and enabled the tracking of his searches within Google.  You can even set up the “Account Activity” within the Google account to see reports on various activities within Google.  This worked pretty well for us too.  We knew exactly what he was looking up!  (I always say that this poor kid won’t get away with anything on technology with me as his aunt!)

Sure, you can set up parental controls on the wifi in your house, but what if the device is on the cellular network?

Sprint  T-Mobile  AT&T and Verizon all have great family safety controls you can sign up for and use for devices on their networks.  Most networks will allow you to set up times the device can be active or inactive (like you can shut it down for during school hours), and you can also set up web content filters.

You can also use an app that will help protect the phone or tablet like NQMobile.

Another thing that parents worry about when handing over expensive equipment to their children is the fact that they can/will break the device.  There are definitely solutions to this as well.  First, protect the device with both a screen cover (check out xoskins.com), and a case (to help with drops).  The second part, which is really one of the most important parts… is to teach your kids the proper care and use of the products.  Even my 3 year old knows that he can’t stick a cell phone in the sink.  There may have been a time he did NOT know this, and something MAY have happened with a loner HTC One X… but that’s neither here nor there.  Which leads me to my next point, that yes, something may end up happening to the device, so the last line of defense is to get the accidental damage warranty or the insurance on the device!  Best Buy has a great warranty program if you purchase your devices there.

The bottom line is that I’m a firm believer that our kids can do amazing things with mobile technology.  There is so much for them to learn and create with the various apps and technology.  There are definitely risks involved, but if you take the time to protect your kids, they will be able to reap the benefits of these devices.  My next project is going to happen around Christmas time when TWO of my sister’s kids will be getting cell phones.. EEEKKKK!

 


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

2 Comments

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  • Sarah, I love that you’ve linked to the safety options offered up by all the major carriers in order to give your readers accurate, complete info. In terms of teens & mobile safety I think you’ve hit all the major bases but I want to offer just one more thought.

    All the protective apps in the world will never replace actual, constant communication with our kids. Teaching them that there are bad things out there, encouraging them to always show & tell us when they see a website or have an interaction online that alarms them is crucial. Also we must role model good net behavior ourselves!

    Great post!

    • Amen Jean! I can’t believe I left that part off! I’m ALL about having constant communication with your children about the real dangers out there! Thanks for your comment!

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