It seems like everyone has a smartphone these days. You can almost not imagine an adult or a teen not having one, but also, for better or for worse, it almost seems like you cannot imagine a child not having one. Now, at what age should children be given a phone, and what are pros and cons, is a discussion for some other time, while here, we are going to be talking about how to, after you decide to get your child a phone, protect it from any harm that might come from cybercriminals. In this article, we will talk about how safe is your child’s phone.
To start with, it might seem like a good idea to buy your child a secondhand phone, or give them an old one from a family member, as they will not need anything super powerful or fancy, but it might not be very safe choice.
First of all, the phone might not be fully reset so that the child might have access to someone else’s data. Additionally, if that person encountered some security issues, they might have left a trace that might put your child at risk too. Even if the phone had been wiped clean, viruses and malware could find a way to stay in the phone nevertheless. Because of that, it is always better to buy your child a new phone, as it does not necessarily mean that it has to be the latest or most expensive release. With the constant improvements of technology used in mobile phones, many phones are very budget-friendly and have excellent specifications.
When it comes to cybercriminals’ common tactics, even the people who have been taught extensively how to recognize and evade them can fall for them, so it is a logical conclusion that the children are even easier targets. Just because your child will not have something like their own credit card connected to their phone does not mean lots of damage cannot be caused nevertheless.
Because of that, it is essential to teach your child to recognize suspicious emails, how to be able to differentiate between legitimate links and the fishy (or should I say phishy) ones, and what to do in case they think they have received a scamming email, as the prevention is always better than the cure.
It is also important to mention that something that might seem super obvious to you, such as not to trust anything on the internet, will not be evident to your child until explained, as if they have not had any information or experience with that before, they will have no reason to assume that something might be wrong.
A good rule of the thumb is that if something seems too good (you have received money randomly) or too bad (the police is after you) to be accurate, and it is almost certainly a scam. Another perfect and essential thing to do, and this works for every aspect of your and your child’s life, is to establish a relationship based on trust so that the child knows they can come to you for help in any situation, including the ones regarding potentially suspicious content they might receive on their phone.
A straightforward but even more effective way to protect your child’s (and yours too) phone from any malicious attacks is to install a quality antivirus app. Luckily, many of the most famous and trusted antivirus services have made mobile versions of their programs, so it is something that every phone should have (some newer phones do have their versions of antivirus built-in already, but it is always a good idea to take additional precautions).
One might think that it would be a good idea to closely monitor everything their child has or does on their phone, as that hypothetically might prevent any damage before it happens. However, parents need to remember that privacy invasion might cause irreparable damage to their relationship with their children.
Even if a child has absolutely nothing to hide, they will feel humiliated if a parent, let’s say, reads their messages. It is much better, as already mentioned, to build a relationship based on trust, respect, and communication. Hence, the child, first of all, knows how to recognize and evade any potential dangers, and then, if they do encounter it, they can see that they can come to you for help without fear of being ridiculed or yelled at.
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