at what age should children have access to a smartphone?
Parents today face a tricky question: at what age should children have access to a smartphone? Even if you are the world’s best multitasker, it is difficult to compete against the internet’s ability to churn out content designed to grab your child’s attention. From new apps to websites to social media platforms, it truly is a formidable task to keep track of every new product your child might encounter. Today, keeping them safe includes making sure they are protected, whether in the analog or digital worlds.
However, it is also undeniable that a lot of learning and education can be enhanced with the use of smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, being attuned to the digital world and the Internet can be beneficial for their growth and learning. It is up to parents to educate their children on safely navigating the Internet and creating a child-friendly environment for them. While challenging, it is possible to become a savvier parent.
Whether it is tapping into a comprehensive service like Samsung Kids that can protect your child in a dedicated safe smartphone environment, or taking an active role in educating and monitoring your child’s online habits, informed and prepared parents are empowered as positive role models for their children spending time online.
Dangers of the Internet and the Need to Defend Against Cyber Threats
Smartphones, while being the key to unfettered access to the Internet and its many benefits, can also be dangerous when activity is left unmanaged. Parents not only need to assess the areas of the Internet your children are active on, they also need to worry about strangers and bullies reaching out to their child, whether they’re using the Internet responsibly, and if they are under threat by websites they may click into.
It is no doubt that children can be especially vulnerable online. Online hazards – cyber predators, websites with explicit and mature content, or even the dangers of oversharing on social media – can have severe, costly, or even tragic consequences. Cyber criminals can be convincing in their approach, and the threat may not appear immediate. Nevertheless, they take advantage of a child’s potential lack of caution online, gaining their trust before launching an attack.
In the case of children discovering the Internet and its contents, parents can also look towards devices and applications that allow them to monitor and set limit to usage. This then provides them with a unique insight on their child’s activity online, allowing healthy conversations between parent and child on cyber health and wellness. Through Samsung Kids’ parental control feature, this is as easy as tweaking settings to ensure play time can be limited but meaningful, age-appropriate apps can be activated and allowed, and a usage report will highlight the child’s activity.
Understanding and Building a Strong Culture around the Online Experience
Despite the dangers on the Internet, it is important to understand that you can fight back even when it seems helpless. Today, there are many resources that provide parents with the tools to learn about online safety and foster a safer internet environment for their child. On top of raising awareness, parents wanting to curate the right online environment for their children while instilling good habits can provide enhanced protection for their children with services similar to Samsung Kids, all without needing to hover over them as they explore their first adventures online.
Additionally, parents play an important role in fostering a safer internet environment for their child and help them develop good digital habits, educating themselves and teaching their kids about the unseen dangers online. After all, the Internet sees a lot of persuasive designs and algorithms to maximise engagement, and that is where dangerous manipulation can thrive in. As such, parents can engage in several steps to manage this:
- Teach Them to be Responsible: Instead of removing your child from the Internet, take the time to explain why it is important to consider the threats and help them develop a healthy scepticism of the Internet.
- Adapt Their Screen Time: Tracking your child’s activity online maybe a futile task, but parents should still review their children’s media (apps, games, YouTube channels, etc.) to ensure they are age-appropriate and have educational value. Utilising a service like Samsung Kids can also help provide parents a peace-of-mind that their child remains in a safe environment curated with fun apps that are both fun and educational.
- Allow Healthy Entertainment: Let your child explore their inner curiosity and wonder through playing games designed to help them think critically. Without necessarily needing to vet all the games your child may have access to on the online store, simply allow their imaginations to run wild with Samsung Kids’ built-in games like Croco’s Adventure, which helps push their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills further.
- Creating Healthy Boundaries: Make use of resources that can help children understand the dangers that lurk online by learning through play, such as with CyberSecurity Malaysia’s CyberSafe program .
- Become a Good Role Model: Other than reviewing and restricting access, parents should also reflect on their own screen time choices, as children will often mimic their parents. It is important to practice safe online habits even personally before enforcing it on your child.
When confronted with these overwhelming possibilities and requirements, many parents understandably become lax with trying to steer their children toward the safest online experience. On the other hand, parents that are too strict and assume that time spent online is inherently toxic can also negate a lot of potential learning the child can obtain, and miss out on conversations that can lead to stronger bonds as well as opportunities to help a child rethink online safety.
Knowing this, Samsung Kids is designed to be quick and easy for parents, with a secure environment available at the push of a button, helping parents with keeping a firm hand on their children’s online activity without completely denying access to the Internet.
As the analog and digital worlds continue to mesh with the progression of technology, parents must look towards ensuring children have good habits and values, whether offline or online. When pondering the question on smartphone access for children, perhaps the consideration lies less with when they are ready, but rather on how parents can adapt their methods to ensure children can develop safe practices online. With the right tools, strategies, and devices, that is a challenge parents can absolutely overcome.