On average children are 12 years old when they get their first mobile device. But over half of all kids 8-12 have a cellphone.
If you’re a parent you’re obviously aware and concerned that kids can see anything in the world on a smartphone or tablet. Through web searches, YouTube videos and social media, any child with a mobile device can see pornography, profanity and runs the risk of being contacted by a stranger you don’t know. The fact today is most kids have access to either a smartphone or tablet and if they do it’s very difficult for a parent to monitor their online activity every second of the day just by watching them.
Thankfully there are gadgets and apps to help parents.
“When you’re dealing with a Samsung device, they have kids mode build into it,” said Jessica Danaei of AT&T. “It’s almost like mommy mode and kid mode. When you’re in mommy mode, you’re in full device, go into the browser, go into whatever you want as if it were your normal device.|
But she demonstrated Samsung’s kid mode with a tap on the screen. “It immediately takes it into a locked kids mode and what I mean by locked is that they can’t go into the other mode, they have to put a 4 digit pin in there.”
In kids mode, they can play some simple games and take pictures. Parents can also give them permissions to use other apps such as YouTube Kids or DirectTV or Facebook Messenger for Kids. They can also make calls to only people their parents have approved.
The Kid Mode feature is available on all Samsung devices through an app in Samsung’s Play Store.
With iPhones and other devices, parents can download an app to manage what their kids do on a device. Unglue is an app that allows parents to set time limits or parameters for internet use or certain features such as entertainment. Parents can monitor what their kids are doing on their phones whether they’re on home wifi, cellular or on the wifi at a friends’ house.
Some wifi routers give parents some control of what they’re doing on the device while at home. The Luma mesh wifi router spreads the signal throughout the house and also allows parents to set limits on when their kids can go online.
Disney’s Circle is a device that connects to the wifi router and gives parents the ability to customize filters for each member of the family, can pause the internet at the press of a button, can set a bedtime for devices so they cannot connect at certain times and can see where the kids are spending their time online.
Another option good for young children especially is an Amazon Fire tablet which has safeguards built-in that will restrict the content the user will see or access and also allows for parents to set time limits.
Instead of just tossing your child a smartphone or tablet and hope they don’t run across something you don’t want them to see or how long they can be online, check into these options.
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