Kids and mobile phones
Kids start using mobile phones at very early ages, many of them as early as in primary school. From the aspect of content consumption, mobile phones do not really differ from computers, but some features of the device must be addressed with smaller kids.
Most cell phones are smart phones by now, and thus quite expensive (not to mention the irreplaceable data stored on them). You should always use a PIN code (used to unlock the SIM card) and a security code (used to unlock the device).These codes should not be easy to guess (subsequent numbers, birth date). If, despite of any precaution, your device is stolen, you must report it to the police and get it deactivated by your service provider. It is not a good idea to lend your phone to someone. They can use it for harassing someone, even if as a joke, but the police will come after the owner.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth make cell phones capable of communicating with other devices without wires or a mobile network, which always incurs data transmission. Therefore kids should always disable the wifi and Bluetooth connection on their phones to protect their photos, messages and contact lists. There are, unfortunately, viruses written specifically for cell phones, which use the above two technologies to access the phone. To make sure that social media sites not be able to display the location of the kid, when they post something, we should disable the geographical location function of the device, too. By disabling cloud storage, you can make sure that the data you delete do not reappear on the net anymore.
Kids’ data include the photos taken of them by the phone. They should know that others may take photos of them, or share photos of them, only with their consent. (The same, of course, applies to them, too: they must always ask for permission, before taking a photo of someone.)
It may not be relevant to safe cell phone use, but we should still explain to them when it is useful to turn their phones into silent mode, or turn them off altogether and when they must do so. It is definitely a good idea to turn them into silent mode when in a doctor’s office, theater, movie theater, a museum, library or church. It is also a useful feature, when you leave the phone somewhere, even when it is locked away. You must turn them off, when they might interfere with other devices: hospitals, airplanes, and of course, classes.
It happens that kids use their parents’ smart phones to browse the net or play games. In such cases, you should log out of your app store account to avoid that the kid starts spending your money.
Many kids get cell phones to make them accessible in case of emergency and for them to be able to call their parents. Such use is supported by UNICEF HELPAPP . It is advisable to install it on the phone.
Parents and kids alike may benefit from filling in the questionnaire addressing their mobile and internet use patterns. The questionnaire might raise many issues you might have not encountered before. You should read and answer the questions together.