Parents offered advice for summer phone use

As summer winds down, an Internet expert offers advice for parents to make sure their children are safe online if they have unsupervised access web-enabled devices.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: July 19, 2012
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As temperatures soar and summer drags on, students may be looking to alleviate boredom indoors this month.

For some students, that means more screen time, whether it's in front of the TV, a tablet or a phone. Tom Nix, a data sales consultant for Verizon Wireless, recently offered these tips to parents looking to keep their kids safe while online.

Q: What are some common problems that younger children can get into with access to web-enabled devices?

A: It seems like you can't visit a doctor's office or walk down the grocery aisle without seeing a young child with a smartphone in their hands. Some parents now are using their smartphone as a method to keep children calm or entertained. Handing over a smartphone to a child might be an immediate solution to an unhappy kid, but if it is not “kid proofed,” a child could easily access email, calendars or online videos without their parent even noticing.

The Kids Place app allows parents to transform their phone into a kid-safe zone with just a push of a button. Parents can pick out the apps they want their children to have access to, while locking out the essential functions of the phone — making phone calls, sending text messages and emails.

Q: What about older kids?

A: It's a tough job, but parents have to make sure their kids are safe — knowing both what they're doing on their phones and where their children are.

From knowing that your son or daughter has safely arrived at their friends house, to their first solo driving experience, or making sure they are paying attention in class rather than texting their friends, and especially that they're not texting while driving — parents have the tools at their fingertips to help ensure their teens are being safe and smart with their smartphones.

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