Approximately one in five children in the UK have seen something on their mobile phone or gadget that has upset them. Are you keeping track of your family’s mobile activity?
Earlier this year, a report published on BBC Technology highlighted that the majority of parents allow their children to use SmartPhones unsupervised. What else did the report reveal?
• Parents are unaware of the dangers faced by children on their SmartPhones.
• Approximately one in five children have seen something on their devices that they found to be upsetting.
• 20% of parents do not monitor what their children are doing online.
• 90% of parents have spoken to their children about staying safe online.
• Teenagers aged 13-16 are more vulnerable to cyber bullying than those aged 8-12.
Aside from child safety, one of the biggest problems with the increasingly ‘tech savvy’ young generation, is the number of app store purchases without parental consent. Earlier this year, Apple was told to refund $32.5m (£19.8m) to parents whose children had made purchases without their parents’ consent.
An even bigger problem is the amount of cyber bullying taking place on a daily basis. A recent report from Ditch The Label revealed that 7 in 10 young people are victims of cyber bullying, with 54% claiming to have experienced bullying on Facebook. It’s important that parents recognise how vulnerable their children are online.
If you are concerned, what can be done to control and monitor your children’s SmartPhone activity? Firstly, you can set restrictions and control your family’s actions via a personal passcode. You can even block certain websites completely and restrict their viewing to age appropriate content.
We recommend WebWatcher
– both allowing you to monitor and log SmartPhone activity. You can also set up keyword alerts so that you are notified instantly if any inappropriate behaviour commences. Furthermore, there are useful services like Sprint Family Locator, which enables you to track the location of your child’s mobile phone. This is helpful if they are prone to wandering off and not telling you where they are going!
It might also be a good idea to establish ‘no phone’ time zones in your house. How about setting aside a few hours every evening where nobody in the family can use a mobile or gadget?
Dr. Jenny Radesky, a US pediatrician, who specialises in child development, reported earlier this year that parents need to watch how absorbed they are in technology when around their younger, more impressionable children. She commented: “(…) is a big mistake. Face-to-face interactions are the primary way children learn. They learn language; they learn about their emotions, they learn how to regulate them. They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people’s facial expressions. And if that’s not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones.”
Worried your children are spending too much time on their phone? Tweet us @budgetmobcover and let us know whether you monitor your children’s SmartPhone activity, or whether you leave them to it!