By Nikki Roberts
Thousands of children across the country will be hoping to find their first mobile phone under the Christmas tree this year and parents have been urged to take control of the devices before handing them over.
Cyber safety adviser Susan McLean said there were many things parents could do to help protect their children and it started with the choice of device.
Ms McLean said the best smartphones were the ones that helped parents be parents, like those with an in-built restrictions passcode or parental controls.
“Obviously stuff that’s in-built is going to be easier to manage than something you have to manually download and sort later on,” she said.
“What can you restrict? Can you turn the camera off? Can you restrict the internet browsing? Can you stop them playing multiplayer games? So there’s a range of things within each device you can look at.”
Start with the obvious.
Techguide.com.au editor Stephen Fenech agreed there were lots of options for parents to both control and monitor what their kids were doing on both Apple and Android devices.
He said the obvious place to start was in the phone’s settings tab.
“Go to settings … there are devices that will give you controllers within the settings to control things like the sites that are visited and the amount of data that’s used,” he said.
And if you cannot find what you are looking for there, Mr Fenech said there was a growing number of third-party applications that could be downloaded to control of almost every aspect of a phone’s operation.
Ms McLean said parents needed to consider which restrictions they wanted to impose, and that would depend on the age and stage of the child.
“But the best [way] of course is to err on the side of conservative and then release a little bit later when they’ve developed a level of trust.”
Turn off location services.
Ms McLean said while location services were needed for maps apps and “find my phone” features, they should be turned off for other apps that may give away your child’s location.