Do your kids have a smartphone? I'm guessing they do.
In March of 2013, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, said that "78 percent of young people, ages 12 to 17, now have cellphones. Nearly half of those are smartphones, a share that's increasing steadily..." as reported by the Huff Post, Tech page, in the March 12 post titled, "Teenagers Increasingly Use Smartphones To Access The Web: Report"
As I work with students, the one thing I find is that most of them have a smartphone. But my question is, how often are your as a parent checking what your kids are doing with their phone?
The capabilities of the smartphone are almost endless as manufacturers discover new advancements in technology. With every release of a new phone, another huge step forward is taken. Like wise, mobile apps exist for just about everything. And if it doesn't exist now, it will tomorrow.
The smartphone is a great tool, when used wisely. But left to the natural devices of the teenage mind, the smartphone can be just a dangerous as an unmonitored computer. With powerful browsing capabilities and the internet access at their figure tips, you can search and view just about anything and everything on the web.
As parents, you should know what is on your child's phone. From the contacts in their address book, to the apps they downloaded, to the sites they visit, you should be aware of everything and everywhere the phone goes. And just as you would check the browsing history on you desktop, you should be checking the browsing history on your child's smartphone.
Not too long ago I was asked by a friend of mine who is a parent. She was concerned with how our child was using his phone, and was looking for suggestions. I shared with her these 4 thoughts.
1. Be the law. As the parent, you have full freedom to inspect, confiscate, and control iPods and iPhones and their usage. Randomly take an iPod and inspect the history, cache, and memory of the device.
2. Connect All devices to one cloud account. In our home, all mobile devices are connected to my cloud. It's one account that I control. This way, all devices are connected and I can keep tabs on everything that is downloaded.
3. Download with Approval. Nothing gets downloaded without parental permission. To help monitor that, you can set up to iPhone and iPad so that whatever is download from the App store downloads right to my devices. I always know when something is being downloaded. Beyond that, my kids, know that they have to ask permission before downloading anything.
4. Set the restrictions. In the settings menu there is a restrictions tab. You will find it under the general button. Here you can set the parameters for the device. It is password protected so you can set it up and your kids can't change it. You can disable the wifi, the safari browser, installing and deleting of apps, adjust content ratings, active location services, and manage the FaceTime and camera setting. If you haven't started using the restrictions feature, you need to.
Be a proactive parent. Know what your kids are doing when they are on their mobile devices. Police where they've been and where the go. There's nothing wrong with checking up and knowing what their doing online. Because, whether you realize it or not, someone else probably is.
What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Share what you do and how you handle the issue of smartphones and internet usage with your kids. Got a couple of good ideas, post them for others to read and use. And as always, thanks for reading!
- the higham family
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.