October marks the ninth annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, so I assumed there would be a few interesting posts about raising awareness about cyber security.
However – Today I read in the Telegraph, that parents are worried that children can get porn on their mobile phones….
While of course I do want our children to be able to use the internet and be safe – I feel this is slightly exaggerated or maybe parents just aren’t informed and unaware.
When they say mobile phone of course, they actually mean Smartphone – a smartphone is a mobile phone that is built on a mobile operating systems allowing internet connectivity.
I don’t really want to debate about why on earth these parents would they buy a child a smartphone when maybe the kids isn’t responsible or savvy enough not to click things that lead to adult sites, but porn is all over the internet, we know this. If they just had a normal feature phone that just took calls – then there wouldn’t be this problem at all.
If you really want your child to have a smartphone
First things first – its your responsibility to speak to children about the dangers of being online if its on a smartphone or on a computer, children need to know not only what’s out there but the online etiquette. Maybe too strong a word for children, but you’ve seen what they put on facebook – pouting pictures with their tops hanging off and foul language, talking about their next beer/girlfriend/snog. No, not all of them are like that but you know what I am talking about. Children need to be reminded that having a mobile phone of any kind carries with it some responsibility.
Many, (if not all by now) mobile networks can block adult content sites on your child’s phone, there’s a start – call your network provider speak them them about it. No, this doesn’t work if they are in a wifi area but these applications might help.
Applications to help your child be more secure on a mobile phone.
Android – Google play has an extensive list of applications like these, on a search for Parental control applications.
Apple does a lot to help security
On the iPad and iPhone there are parental control options on itunes, where you can protect children from inappropriate content or stop video chats. And there are parental controls iTunes to stop them assessing adult content.
iTunes has many applications listed under parental controls
- AVG Family Safety
- K9 Web Protection
- Mobicip Safe Browser
- Netgear Genie
- Parental Control by MountainDev
- Kids-safe youtube
And the lists go on and on, I’ve not tested all of the applications obviously so I don’t know how good they are but I wanted to show you, that you do have options, apart from saying…. No, you are too young for your own smartphone!
One last word – remember also that many applications on smartphones you can play with anyone, they don’t even have to be a friend or someone in your phonebook and you can also chat with these people on the games. So remember that when setting up permissions and controls.
Be safe and be aware.