A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Sure Your Child’s Holiday Technology Gifts Are Safety-Enabled And Family-Friendly Ready
If you plan on buying your child one of the many fun and engaging technology gifts available this holiday season, know that there are a few simple things you can do to make sure their gifts are family-friendly ready and safety-enabled.
Here are some things you’ll need to consider before buying, and what you’ll need to do after buying in order to make sure their gifts are safety-enabled:
Cell Phones –
Androids, Blackberries and iPhones are all under the category of “smartphones”, meaning they can access the Internet. Simply put, by buying your child a smartphone, you’re buying them their very own pocket-sized computer. On top of that, most of these smartphones, with the exception of the iPhone, don’t come with any preinstalled content filters or parental controls. If this is a concern for you, a prepaid cell phone might be a better option, especially if this is your child’s first cell phone.
If you do decide to go with a smartphone, there are several third-party parental monitoring solutions, a couple of them highlighted here. And again, you can follow this guide for setting up the parental controls on an iPhone.
Gaming Consoles –
If you’re purchasing a game console, whether it’s the Wii, Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, recognize that each of these devices are capable of accessing the Internet. In addition, services like Xbox Live and Playstation Home encourage children to engage with strangers from around the world.
In the case of the Xbox 360, you have no choice but to sign up for an Xbox Live account for the first month. Though the same can’t be said for the Wii or Playstation 3, this highlights why it’s so important to take advantage of the parental controls available on each console.
Be it an iPad or Android, keep in mind that just like smartphones these devices are capable of accessing the Internet, meaning all the same concerns apply. That said, it’s worth noting that the iPad is the only tablet on the market that offers built-in safety settings that are easy to use. This alone may be the determining factor when choosing a tablet that’s right for your child.
- Download some age-appropriate games and apps for your child.
- Set “Restrictions” to block access to certain apps, including inappropriate content in the App Store—step-by-step guide.
- Install a safe web browser like AVG’s Family Safety app.
First rule’s first: regardless of what kind of computer it is, your child shouldn’t be using it in the privacy of their own bedroom. Every laptop on the market comes with a webcam, and webcams open up a whole new slew of privacy and safety issues that you can read about here.
Now, before handing over the new laptop to your child, there are a few things you should do to safety enable it:
- Configure the parental controls on the operating system: Mac OSX or Windows 7
- Set the parental controls on their web browser: Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox.
- Set up Google Safesearch and YouTube SafetyMode.
Also, don’t forget to activate your child’s Yoursphere.com account. It’s the perfect online community for kids and teens—and it’s free!
Finally, stay up-to-date post holidays on how to make sure your family has a safe and positive experience by subscribing to the YoursphereForParents email list.