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5 things to do before giving your child a smartphone

Ensure your kids don’t accidentally view inappropriate content or rack up huge bills

It’s a secondary school rite of passage, but getting a smartphone can be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box. It’s important to ensure you’ve put the right security in place to protect your child. When it comes to giving a child a mobile phone, nearly half of all parents think between 10 and 12 is the best age.

More than two in five parents admit the primary reason for giving a child a mobile phone is to check their child is safe, and 37% are happy for their child to take the handset to school as long as they only use it in emergencies, according to research by ID Mobile, the mobile network from The Carphone Warehouse.

When it comes to setting up a smartphone for children, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) said they were confident in setting up the smartphone in preparation for a child to use it, and two thirds believe they are the ones responsible for the content the child accesses on that phone.

But how can you really be sure that kids don’t stumble across any inappropriate content?

Do these things BEFORE you hand over the phone!

1. Start by contacting the mobile provider for the phone and ask for adult content filters to be turned on. This will stop children accessing websites that contain material aimed at over 18s. However, this will only work when they use the 3G/4G connection provided by the mobile network. Make sure your own network filters are switched on for your broadband provider at home so they can’t access inappropriate content on your own Wi-Fi network.

2. Set a PIN Code, password or lock pattern. This stops anyone other than your child using the handset. Make sure you explain to your child the importance of not disclosing this password.

3. Install a child-friendly browser that restricts access to inappropriate content. Try the Mobicip Safe Browser, which is free and available on iPhones (from the iTunes App Store) and Google Android devices (from Google Play). These apps also work on tablets.

It’s also worth restricting access to the usual browser on the phone or tablet to ensure kids really are protected. On Apple devices, head to Settings, General, Restrictions, and then switch Safari off. There’s no need to do this on an Android device, as Mobicip does it automatically. Windows Phone has a Kids Corner setting that lets you install the Kids Browse Safe app specifically to ensure they stay safe when surfing the web.
4. Restrict other apps, such as the camera, video calling and music, video and book stores, or filter music, podcasts, films and TV shows based on age ranges. Users with iPhone should head to Settings, General, and Restrictions again, while those with Google Android smartphones can only restrict apps based on maturity level. Head to the Google Play Store and select Settings. Scroll down to the User Control section and press Content Filtering, then select the maturity level and hit OK. Kids Corner on Windows Phone lets you restrict which apps can be accessed.

5. Stop in-app purchases. Kids can end up running up huge bills because they’ve unintentionally been purchasing extra lives or add-ons in games. You can stop purchases completely or require a pin to be entered before the purchase can take place.

via( Good Housekeeping UK)

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