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Top 10 Mobile Safety Tips For Kids

9/26/2013 With their kids back in school for another year, many parents are worrying about more than just making lunches, helping with homework and figuring out who's going to drive their little ones to various after-school activities. More school-age people now have smartphones to call their own - in fact, the figures come in around 22 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds and 60 percent of 10- to 14-year-olds. Because of this, it makes sense that mothers and fathers are also increasingly concerned about how to make sure their children aren't finding themselves in sticky situations related to the technology.

Safety First
There's no better time than now to start teaching kids about cybersecurity, and square one for parents should be encouraging their young smartphone users to lock up their devices. A whopping 96 percent of people who lose their phones have had their information accessed, but a simple password or PIN is often enough to stop would-be snoops.

Additionally, cyberbullying is a worrying topic for most parents. A 2011 study by MTV and the AP found that 76 percent of people ages 14 to 24 believe digital abuse is a big problem for their demographic. Fifty-six percent of respondents admitted they had been subjected to some form of abuse through social and digital channels, up from 50 percent in 2009. Parents need to talk to their children about what to do if they or their friends encounter cyberbullying, including speaking up to a trusted adult. It's also a good idea to explain what online harassment tends to look like so kids think twice before engaging in behaviors that might hurt someone else.

Sexting is also a big issue, and while parents may not want to give "the talk" about this topic, pretending it isn't happening won't help. In their study, MTV and the AP discovered that one in every three respondents between 14 and 24 had sexted at some point, and half of those who gave out nude photos felt pressured into hitting “send.” Being open with kids - and explaining the permanence of anything transmitted through a digital medium - is a plan that can help them stand up to peer pressure.

Of course, parents should lay down the law about what constitutes responsible smartphone use in terms of finances as well. It's important to establish some ground rules - the more specific, the better. For instance, mothers and fathers could limit their kids to a certain number of paid downloads per month and put consequences in place for blowing past text messaging limits. Griffin Technology pointed out that left unchecked, the average teen can type up 3,339 texts per month.

Get A Protection Plan
Smartphone insurance isn't enough to mitigate the many risks that come with giving children their own smartphones. Considering the fact that kids are still learning how to be responsible with their possessions (a lesson that - face it - a lot of adults haven't mastered yet, either), it's important to have a strong protection plan in place as backup. By getting a plan from ProtectCELL, the whole family can enjoy a slew of important physical, data and identity protection resources. Add to Twitter Add to Facebook Add to LinkedIn Add to Digg Add to StumbleUpon Add to Delicious