The number of children who own a mobile phone has grown exponentially. While this is arguably a good thing, it also presents various safety issues that parents and children need to keep in mind. Following are some important pointers regarding teaching children about mobile security.
Securing the Mobile Device
Because mobile phones are both small and valuable, they are a very attractive target for thieves. Children should be taught to never put their phone in a back or even side pocket. A front pocket, when possible, is an ideal option. If the phone is placed in a purse or backpack, children should never let the bag in question out of their sight.
Locking the Device
When teaching children about mobile security, teach them how to choose a secure yet easy-to-remember password for their mobile device. This password should include at least one number and/or symbol. Children should always lock their devices when not in use; this prevents a thief from gaining access to important personal information even if the phone is stolen.
Set Cyber Security in Place
As most parents know, the internet is full of harmful sites to which children should not be exposed. Use parental controls on the phone to limit what children can access and/or share. Tell your children what is being filtered and why, so they understand the importance of not getting on forbidden sites.
Keep Tabs on Social Media Activity
Parents have both the right and responsibility to see what their children are posting and sharing, and should not hesitate to ask children to take down inappropriate posts. It is also important for parents to explain to children what is and is not appropriate to say online. These rules, and the reasons for them, should be very clear.
Additionally, teaching children about mobile security, parents will want to check the security settings on a child’s social media accounts to ensure that only trusted friends and relatives have access to a child’s social media profile. Children should also be taught not to friend or invite people they do not know in person.
Keep Tabs on Texting
Teach your children that they should never use texting to bully others and/or communicate with strangers. If you are suspicious about a child’s texting activity, ask the phone company for the records of calls made to and from the child’s number.
Parents also need to be aware of exactly how much personal data is on a child’s phone. Remember, a stolen phone could be more than just a financial loss; it could, in fact, tell a pedophile your child’s full name, where he or she lives and goes to school, and other personal information.
While a strong password will, in many cases, prevent someone from accessing your child’s personal information, it is also important to teach a child to be careful regarding what is and is not kept on a mobile phone. Parents should carefully assess all documents, photos, videos and other files on the phone and determine which ones would be best moved to the child’s computer at home.
Parents who give a child a mobile phone need to teach the child how to use the phone in an appropriate manner and keep it secure at all times. At the same time, parents also need to supervise a child’s usage of the phone and investigate and deal with infractions of the rules and/or suspicious activity. Those who are not familiar with the various aspects of mobile phone security may want to consider a training course such as those offered by Global Learning Systems, as being aware of the security implications of owning and using a mobile device can mean the difference between keeping kids safe and exposing them to multiple, unforeseen dangers.