As our children grow, their desire to learn the world of technology becomes stronger, but is it safe to just hand over those gadgets? Sure they might be entertaining, educational and teach important skills for the future, but as they get older the potential harm of unwanted threats get's higher.
As a mother I'm constantly trying to find new ways of teaching my child. When I got my first iPad, my 11 year old son wanted to play all the cool educational games, needless to say he learned some new skills and had a great time! However now that he's 14, he wants his own smart phone and iPad; my concern comes from how an innocent device can turn into a hand held nightmare. Is it ok to allow access to the internet to what I still consider a child? Is it even safe? As an in depth researcher for Atlanta's most reputable iPad repair company, I've come across some pretty undesirable situations so I'd have to say no, unless the correct precautions are taken. Below I'll be sharing some of the situations I've seen as a mother, and as a researcher.
Trending Risks â€“Tweens & Mobile Devices
You're probably thinking I'm a little paranoid, and yes I can admit that. But I've had other mothers have great experiences with handing over these new technologies to their children, and then a few mothers whom have had some pretty terrible experiences. As with most children in school, there are always risks that your child will be the target of bullies. We can only hope that they won't, but it happens. With mobile technology our kids are at risk of being bullied regardless of if they are in school or not, and that thought is pretty scary.
They call this Cyberbullying, a form of harassment done solely through social media and gadgets such as iPads, laptops and smart phones. Because you can literally text or send a message to just about anyone these days, our kids are open game when it comes to their online presence. Unfortunately for us, Facebook and twitter are extremely popular ways that tweens are now communicating harassing behaviors, and there seems to be no end in sight.
If you're considering handing over a device capable of online access, it's important to speak with your kids first. Parents check out the Cyberbullying Research Center for interactive tips and information on how to speak to your child, prevent cyberbullying and helpful resources. Because cyberbullying is so harmful it's important to look for signs within your child since typically you'll be the last person to know about it. These are the most common signs that your child is being harassed.
- Withdrawing from social events unexpectedly.
- Anger or outburst
- Secretive while on a computer or mobile device.
- Scared to go to school.
- Checking social media accounts way more than usual.
If your tween is showing any of these signs try speaking with them. It's common that a child will not come to you due to being embarrassed or ashamed so be gentle in your approach. If you find that they are in fact being harassed print out all evidence or save it on your mobile device and bring it to your local police station. You will want to delete these bullies from your child's social media account and place a block on that person. If receiving harassing texts, there is a way to block the caller, check with your cell phone settings for more information on this. It's also important to help fix what's been done; a professional therapist can help your child get past the pain and should be seriously considered.
Dangers Sexual Content Exposure
We all know the hidden dangers online, but that doesn't mean our kids do. Typing an incorrect word into a search bar can bring up unfavorable results. It's important to place a child safety on any mobile device that will prevent sexual content.
Another common danger of being exposed to sexual content is chat rooms. Chat rooms may seem harmless however there are online predators that scope out these under age rooms looking for their next victim. Speak with your child about these types of people; make sure they understand that chatting with someone older than their age range is NOT acceptable and highly dangerous. These online predators create a very approachable, understanding and even teen like presence online and if they know what to look for they can avoid unwanted sexual exposure. It's important that you check up often while your child is online, no matter what their age is. A good indication of inappropriate behavior is if your child closes out a screen quickly or is extremely jumpy when you enter the room.
In this ever changing world we mothers have to stick together, speak with other mothers about what you're doing to protect your child so they too can follow suit. We have to keep a keen eye on our children. No matter how well adjusted your child might be, there will always be threats to their safety when dealing with the internet. Because mobile devices are the number one way to communicate, it's even more important to speak with your child before you hand over that phone or iPad.
Sarah Shade is a writer and researcher for Atlanta's most trusted mail in iPhone and iPad Repair Company in GA. She researches common issues associated with mobile devices that include risks, apps, how to's and much more. As a mother, she tries to bring valuable resources to families to ensure child safety and proper mobile device use.