There was a time (not long ago) when one of the biggest decisions a parent had to make was choosing the right time to talk to their children about the birds and bees. While this necessary and important tradition continues for most, parents today are faced with another major decision regarding a modern-day milestone in their children’s lives - when to give them their first smartphone.
While technology makes it easier for parents to keep in contact with their children, which can provide tremendous peace of mind, there are also some very dangerous kids’ smartphone risks that should be weighed and considered before handing a child a smartphone. Here are some of the most pressing dangers related to kids' smartphone use.
If you’re a parent who limits what your child is exposed to on television, then giving him or her a smartphone will open up a whole new world that you might not want them to experience just yet. Smartphones provide unrestricted access to the internet, making it easy for a child to gain access to graphic, disturbing, or even illegal content. They can also share your child's location with others every time they use an app or go online. Take the steps outlined in this article to limit location sharing on your child's phone.
Of course, there are plenty of filters and apps you can install on the phone to help prevent your child from accessing objectionable content, but keep in mind that children have an uncanny ability to learn how to turn off such protective measures.
Children don’t look at things with the same skeptical eye that most adults do. They don’t think anything bad will happen to them. They will often not think twice about clicking on links, opening emails from unknown senders, or downloading files from unknown sites.
The problem is, doing so dramatically increases their risk of infecting their device with malware, spyware, and other types of viruses. Once installed on your child’s phone, these programs can easily send their data to cyber criminals, identity thieves, and other nefarious actors.
The average smartphone costs more than $600 these days, or even double that if you choose an upper-tier model. That’s quite a hefty expense to cover should your child accidentally drop their phone and break it. If you do choose to give your child a smartphone, you should make sure the device is protected by a good case and an extended insurance option.
Another concern to keep in mind is that many studies have been conducted that show a link between kids’ smartphone use and health problems. For instance, research has shown that smartphone use makes it harder for kids to sleep at night. The use of smartphones has also been linked to obesity risks. Starting a child off early with a smartphone also exposes them to radio waves, which is a type of radiation, while they are still in their developmental years.
There are also some emotional risks with being online, especially when it comes to social media and the potential for cyber bullying. It’s all too easy for a child to be exposed to or even engage in things like racism, hate speech, and other inappropriate and hurtful content.
For older children, there’s the risk of teens texting and driving. Studies conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that texting while driving doubles the chances of a car accident. In 2018, more than a third of all fatal traffic accidents involved drivers who were texting or talking on a cell phone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Every child is different and giving your child a smartphone is a decision that only a parent can make. But before doing so, it’s crucial to consider these kids’ smartphone risks and have a strategy in place to ensure your child is as protected as possible.
One way to ensure your child’s safety when using a smartphone or other digital device is to protect your family’s home network with Winston's hardware VPN filter. Winston not only helps hide your IP address, it also filters adult content and malware on every device on your network, including your child’s smartphone. Winston also has a mobile app you can install (on up to two phones) that provides that same protection when you and your child are away from your home network.
Order your Winston today and ensure your family is protected from online dangers. There’s absolutely no risk – try Winston today and if you’re not satisfied, you can return it within 30 days for a refund!