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How to be smart about your children’s smartphone usage

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Children smartphone
Children using smarphone

Smartphones have undoubtedly changed the lives of children, and their parents. They have enabled them to be in touch with their friends 24/7, get information for schoolwork at the swipe of a screen, and follow the highs and lows of their favourite influencers as they happen.

For parents, it has meant that children are now able to contact you immediately when they need you, whether it be to beg you for data or tell you when they need to be picked up at a friend’s place. And, thanks to certain Apps, you are also even able to tell where they are at all times.

However, this peace of mind has been traded for anxiety over fresh concerns, such as children being exposed to and sharing inappropriate online content, becoming victims of cyberbullying, or running up huge phone and data bills.

A recent survey by ENEA found that 44% of 11 – 15-year-olds and 30% of 6 – 10-year-olds spent at least three to six hours a day unmonitored during the COVID-19 lockdowns while even parents of under-fives revealed that their children spent at least an hour a day unsupervised on a mobile device.

Children are extremely fortunate to have been given the world in a small device that fits into their pocket; however, that world comes with many dangers that they – and often parents – simply don’t see coming.

As a parent it’s your responsibility to keep them safe and to help them navigate this world and teach them how to enjoy its benefits while sidestepping its perils. But the question is, just how do you do it?

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Four Apps to help keep your children safe

Given all the potential hazardous content that you know your children have access to on their smartphones, it’s comforting to know that there are Apps that you have at your disposal, which you can download from HUAWEI AppGallery for free, to help minimise these threats. Here are just four of them.

Kaspersky SafeKids

Kaspersky SafeKids gives you more than standard parental controls to make parenting easier. Besides allowing you to block nasty content, manage device and App use, and instantly find out about suspicious online behaviour, this App also lets you locate your children on a map and set a safe area for them to stay in.

You can even monitor the battery level on their devices so you don’t lose touch.

FamilyTime Parental Controls & Screen Time App

This App lets you monitor and control your child’s mobile, tablet, or other Android devices remotely and securely. It can instantly lock your child’s devices, which is great for when you feel they should disconnect from them. You can also set daily screen time limits on specific Apps.

Once the limit gets used up, they won’t be able to access those Apps for the rest of the day. You can also block Apps including social media Apps, games, and internet browsers with the App lock feature. This App is available for download from HUAWEI AppGallery or through Petal Search.

Kids Place – Parental Control

This App was created for parents who want to monitor their children’s activity and screen time on phones and tablets.

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The parental control features give you a lot of flexibility on how to configure your childrens’ phones and tablets to limit screen time and block ads and inappropriate content.

With Kids Place, you can decide which Apps and tools can be accessed by your children, so they can have fun online in the safest, yet most convenient way.

You can launch the app in kids lock mode or it can be installed directly on their mobile. This app is available for free, but you can also upgrade to the premium version at a small fee.

Parental Control Kroha – Screen Time

This app does screen monitoring, GPS location and eye protection and has many features in it to protect your children.

These include the ability to manage your children’s’ screen time, block App usage, set a time limit for App usage, GPS tracking through the family locator feature, website control and YouTube Monitoring, and night mode and eye protection features. The App also has unique features such as social media chat monitoring.

App store settings

Aside from these special Apps that can monitor and limit your child’s smartphone usage, all the Apps on HUAWEI AppGallery are age rated, which gives you the option of restricting the Apps and games your child has access to – based on their age. You can also limit in-app purchases.

Your child will need a PIN or password, which you set, to deactivate these settings.

Teaching your children to be safe online

As the digital age is still a world that everyone is getting used to, and constantly learning about, there are no real guidelines when it comes to how your children explore it. However, as a parent, you can set a few boundaries to help them stay digital-media savvy:

  • Look at their privacy settings. Teach your children that the more they ensure their online presence is a private one, the safer they’ll be. This means turning off location sharing and GPS settings, never sharing their home address, and using privacy settings.
  • Stay connected as a family. Commit as a family to making smart digital choices, such as banning all devices after 8pm, or limiting time spent on social media on the weekends. Children need to be made aware of how to make the most of the wonderful technology on offer to them without having it control their lives.
  • Teach children accountability. Chat to your children about the anonymity social media brings, and the dangers of saying things that you wouldn’t normally say to someone’s face. Accountability and responsibility are key principles.
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With all these the safety measures available to parents it possible for children to enjoy the internet in a safe and secure environment.

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