These days, our digital lives start earlier than ever. The children of today are born into a tech-fuelled society: their baby photos are on social media and some of them can unlock an iPad before they can even say a complete sentence. With this close relationship with technology from such a young age, it’s important that safe practices are implemented from the start.
From protected online browsing to wearable, here’s a roundup of ways for youngsters to engage with technology in a controlled environment.
These days, we use apps for everything: shopping, ordering food, staying in touch with loved ones and to stream movies. But apps aren’t only for adults: they can help your child develop, provide endless hours of entertainment and keep your family safe. Here are a few examples:
SecureTeen: This is basically an app to keep tabs on what your kids are doing on their smartphones. This way you can easily track who they are talking to, what kind of sites they are visiting, who are their friends, etc. SecureTeen is especially helpful for the parents whom children are shy and don’t talk to people a lot.
Pryvy: this is essentially a communication platform for kids, regulated by parents and designed to teach good Internet habits at an early age. It comes with a suite of tools that allow children to text, email, chat and use social media. Parents build an account too, and they approve or block any incoming messages to their child’s account. This helps prevent cyber bullying and cyber stalking.
ICE: In Case of Emergency: this app stores important information for emergencies like a list of people to call, insurance information, allergies, doctor name and number, medical conditions, medications and any other relevant health information. And you can even access the app when the phone is locked, in the unfortunate event that you are unable to unlock it.
The Internet can be a scary place for a child, but there are parameters you can set in place to ensure their online safety. First of all, set parental controls on all your computer operating system, search engines, gaming devices, smartphones and other digital devices. This way, you can prevent them from visiting harmful, explicit or offensive sites. For more information and guidance about parental controls, visit the Good Digital Parenting site.
Another way you can monitor your child’s Internet activity is to set some browsing rules. Establish a fixed amount of time and some limits for technology use: for example, no online time after 7 pm. And if you need some suggestions for fun, safe sites for your child to play on, here’s a list of more than a few – virtual LEGO building, creative activity sites, games and much more.
It should come as no surprise that there are now wearables specifically for children. Thanks to advancements in flexible display technology, there are ranges of devices available for the younger set, designed to help them stay safe and connected when out and about. Here are a few examples:
LG KizON: a wristband that provides real-time tracking of the wearer’s location via GPS inside the strap. It also features one button that, when pressed, will call the parent’s mobile phone. The ‘Location Reminder’ feature lets you pre-program specific destinations and set up alerts, so you can check if your child made it to ballet class, for example.
LeapBand: yes, there’s even a fitness tracker for children. The LeapBand encourages active play and healthy habits by earning rewards and points through activities and games. Parents can set ‘School’ and ‘Quiet Time’ modes so your child isn’t always gaming.