How Safe Are Your Children With Mobile Internet?
As the internet is now accessible on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPods as well as home computers, are parents fighting a losing battle to keep their children’s internet usage under control? Just how safe can you make the internet for children? Here are a few things that every parent should know about mobile internet technology.
Even iPods and games consoles have parental controls, usually located in the ‘settings’ option. These controls give you the option to:
- Block certain websites
- Activate Google SafeSearch
- Set time limits for use
- Filter games by age ratings
- Prevent certain search terms
At this present time, manufacturers are under no obligation to set the parental controls on such devices so you will have to do this yourself. We recommend that you either set them as soon as the product is bought or ask the assistants in the shop to set them for you. All mobile phones come with a filter to block potentially harmful or pornographic sites but you have to ask to get them turned on. You are perfectly within your rights to go into your mobile phone shop or Apple store and ask them to turn on the filter and set the parental controls for you without risk of any additional cost.
Most mobile phones come with a location service app and whilst this can be incredibly useful for you to keep track of where your child is at any given time, do be aware that others can also see where your child is. If they post on Facebook or another social network site then their ‘friends’ can view their exact location. So if you do decide to allow location services, make sure that your child is aware of the potential risks. Vodafone’s guide to location services provides some incredibly useful information.
As with anything it’s vital that you talk to your children about the dangers of the internet and perhaps get them to help you set some rules such as:
- A break every 30 minutes
- No downloading without permission
- Telling you if they come across anything unsuitable
- Allowing you to access their device at any time
Whilst you do not want to invade your child’s privacy, sometimes just getting them to entrust you with their password is enough to make them think about how they use the internet.
If you don’t know anything about mobile technology or the internet then you might have a hard time ensuring that your child uses it in the correct way. So enlist them to teach you, set up a Facebook account so you can keep an eye on them and join in with what your child is doing. Unless you know what dangers are out there, you cannot expect to keep your child fully protected from them.
Have a look at Vodafone’s essential checklist for parents worried about internet safety.
O2 also has a useful guide for parents. Their Parental Control service limits the websites children can use on their mobiles. It only lets them use sites that have been classified as suitable and interesting for children under 12. To turn Parental Control on or off, call 61818 from your child’s mobile. Or visit O2 Parental Control.
Many mobiles can now access the Internet, so it is essential protect your children from harmful or offensive websites.
– The Omniquad Team
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