As tablets become more and more popular with our children, we need to make sure they are using them safely. According to Ofcom, more than one in three children aged 5-7 have their own tablet and this goes up to half of all children in the age group of 8-11 years old. Kids as young as a year old are using tablets to watch tv shows and movies or playing educational games too. Regardless of the activities, the children need to be on the right apps and right sites in order to keep them from the cybercriminals lurking around.
Here are the top tips on keeping your kids safe on tablets:
Children pick up quickly on how to use a tablet so we have to be proactive in watching them. Set rules and boundaries in your home that work for your family. It’s important though to supervise your children while they are on tablets and that they are away from rules you have in place. If the child is very young, keep an eye on what they are doing and sit down with them while they are on their tablet. Plus, you can turn this into a learning opportunity. There are many educational apps for tablets out there that children can really learn with such as puzzles, color and shape recognition, reading, math, etc. If your child is older, I would still recommend keeping an eye on them and what they are doing. You can also do this by checking their browsing history.
Child-Proof the Tablets
In the last few years, this has been easier to do and obtain for each tablet. Whether it’s an Android or Apple there are several parental controls that will allow you to determine what your child can or cannot do. Let me explain both Android and Apple:
For Android tablets, you will need to set up the parental controls as this will not come as the default. In order to set the parental controls go to Play Store, Tap Menu, then Settings, then Parental Controls. Click the slider displayed to “On” and enter a PIN. You can then set up the filters that you prefer for your child’s age.
For Apple tablets, you will need to set up the parental controls as this does not come as default either. Apple also has tools in place to manage your child’s screen time too which is nice! In order to set up the screen time controls you will want to go to Settings, then Screen Time, and then select either: “This is my device” or “This is my child’s device”. If you select “This is my child’s device” then you’ll be able to set a passcode and control this. You can set time limits for apps and even block access to some of the tablet’s main functions during the “downtime” which you control when setting the device time restrictions.
In order to prevent your child from buying anything in the Apple Store, you can control that too! Go to Settings, then Screen Time, then Content & Privacy Restrictions. Here you are able to do several things such as blocking multi-players games, in-app purchases, or just making sure all of these items are password-protected so the child can not participate in these things.
Additional Parental Controls:
*Circle: one of the easiest ways to manage screen time on all your family’s Wi-Fi and mobile devices. You can find more information on Circle here.
Talk with your child and teach them safety features-as discussed in the first part of our series there are many things you will want to discuss with your child:
Never share personal information on the web: phone numbers, locations, passwords, and family members names
Never send explicit images
Never involve yourself in cyber-bullying
Always ask people’s permission before taking a photo or video and sharing a photo or video
Never share anything that you don’t want on the internet- it can build a digital footprint that will never go away
Encourage them to always come to you with anything they have seen or experienced on the internet that is not right
You can always purchase a kid-friendly tablet. There are many to choose form. Some of the more popular ones are Leapfrog Epic Android Based Kids Tablet and Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet. These two are great options if you are wanting a kid-specific tablet with build-in controls! Also, they both come with many educational apps too!
Antivirus Software for Tablets
*Sophos Mobile Security- this helps minimize mobile attacks such as tablets and cell phones.
or more information on Sophos Mobile Security click here. Also, Sophos mobile security is free!
*Lookout- offers security for Androids. You are able to keep your device safe and secure from mobile threats for tablets or phones. They offer a free and premium option. For more information on Lookout click here.
For iPads: there aren’t true antivirus packages for the iPad
With tablets, there are many ways to set parental controls and even screen time, but with this, we should always talk and teach our children about safe use. Please remember these things so you can keep your child or children safe while using a tablet. Cybercriminals are lurking and can cause several issues for your child and your family so stay vigilant. Remember to stay tuned as we have more on this series of cybersecurity for kids.
Bouckley, Hannah. Tablet Safety Tips for Parents and Children. BT. 8 March 2019. http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/internet/parents-tips-for-children-to-use-android-and-ipad-tablets-safely-11364047772243