Written by Jennifer James | Sponsored by bNetS@vvy.org
Traveling often affords me the
opportunity to notice the digital habits of people from coast to
coast. Invariably, one trend that remains consistent across the
country is the ubiquitous and constant use of wireless devices.
Everyone has one these days, including me. In fact, I have several.
And, children from small kids to teens have their own wireless
devices as well.
When I am waiting in airports I see kids tinkering with everything
from iPod Touches and mobile gaming consoles to cell phones and
laptops. Oftentimes I wonder if their parents know how potentially
dangerous these mobile devices are. Wi-Fi capability on one of
these devices can connect your child to the Internet with a simple
push of a button and a hot spot. Devices change all of the time and
it is important to understand how they work. That’s why in honor of
Internet Safety Month, we will be featuring tips each week to help
you keep your children safe on the Net.
Before you buy your child a wireless device it is imperative to
figure out how it works. This can be a daunting task especially as
a busy parent. Who has time to read an instruction manual with tiny
print and figure out how a wireless device works on top of that?
Sit down with your child and let them explain to you how the device
works and how they will be using it. Or, if all else fails, before
buying a wireless device grill the salesperson
about how it works. Ask questions such
1) Does the device have Wi-Fi capability?
2) Can my child download images and videos?
3) Can my child text from this device?
4) Can my child send and receive email from this device?
5) Does the device have filtering software?
Don’t feel bad about asking these questions and even encourage them
to dumb down the answers for you. There is absolutely no shame in
learning about these devices and it beats getting surprised by how
your child uses them. While getting the run-down on your child’s
wireless device may seems over your head especially as technology
advances, it is crucial that you know and learn how it works.
Children are extremely tech-savvy and if they find an opening to
connect with their friends or others on the Net, they will gladly
take that option. It is incumbent upon you as a concerned parent to
make sure your child uses their wireless device sensibly. This is
especially true as location apps grow in popularity. It may seem
cool to your child to mark their location for the world to see, but
the dangers are escalated when they do this. Make sure to school
them on the potential threats and dangers location apps pose in
addition to any other wireless activity.
Also be sure to monitor your wireless bill. Your wireless company
keeps a tally of daily usage. This is a useful way to keep tabs on
how your child uses their wireless device. And more importantly you
will not be surprised at the end of the month with an exorbitant
wireless bill. Also, if your child’s wireless device can connect to
the Web via Wi-Fi figure out a way to disconnect or disable it,
especially if you are concerned by their ability to surf the
In all, make sure to have heart-to-heart conversations with your
child about their wireless devices and your expectations on how you
would like them to use them. While wireless devices are fun toys to
play with their potential for danger grows each year as our world
becomes more connected. Talk with your children about wireless
device safety, learn about the devices’ wireless capabilities, and
always monitor your children’s usage to prevent bill surprises.
For more information on Internet safety and wireless devices,
please visit www.bNetS@vvy.org
How do you monitor your child's use of wireless devices?