With the holidays only recently behind us, many of our readers may have purchased their first mobile device for their child. My oldest child is ten, and is currently content with his e-reader, but I know in the not so distant future, it will be time to talk about a mobile phone.
Mobile devices (smart phones, tablets) are basically mobile computers that can enable a child to do many important things, from socializing to getting directions, and even serve as critical homework aids. Now when Comcast thinks about Internet Safety, we also include the topic of mobile devices, because they are becoming a major method by which people (especially young people) connect to the Internet. If your child is a new mobile phone user, take some time to establish rules for using this very powerful technology.
Password: establish a device password and set it to auto lock after a short period of time – if the device is ever lost or stolen, this will minimize your child’s risk of identity theft.
Time limits: establish time rules for use of the device. Different schools have different policies on this, and so it’s a good idea to integrate their rules into this conversation.
Purchasing: smart phones have app stores tied to a credit card for quick and easy purchasing – set expectations and rules around purchasing early.
Anti Theft: Consider using an Anti Theft application that will help you locate, lock, or wipe a device if it’s lost or stolen. Children are prone to loosing things, especially a small phone – this can be a life saver!
Beware of scams: phishing attacks and other schemes can be more prevalent on mobile devices because the smaller screen makes it harder for the user to employ common avoidance techniques (e.g. ,its hard to evaluate the URL on a tiny screen). Remind your child to be skeptical of an email or a text that seems suspicious, is from someone they don’t know, or is making outrages claims or demands (e.g., urgent need to reset an account).
Gloucester County resident Jim Janco is Director of Security and Privacy for Comcast and a father of four children. Read more tips about online safety at www.xfinity.com/constantguard