Children are, by nature, curious about their surroundings, and nothing tickles their curiosity more than the glowing screens of your phone or tablet. If you own one of the latest iPhones or Android phones, you’re sure to attract the attention of your grandkids. As most smartphone users have sensitive information stored on these devices (bank account info, important passwords, etc.) you need to know how to keep phone safe around them.
Keep phone safe around grandkids
Even if they do not have any malicious intentions like scratching your phone or trying to deliberately impersonate you by texting or calling your contacts, grandkids can cause trouble with your phone in their hands. They could delete things you cherish (such as family photos) or cause the kind of physical damage to your phone that will cost you money (using a protective case is a must).
Another aspect you need to keep in mind is that by giving your phone to your grandchildren, you can reinforce their passion for using technology even more. This can lead to grandkids developing a smartphone addiction (recall the video of the toddler that tries to zoom in on a page from a paperback).
Do you remember when you were a kid and your attention quickly turned from one thing to another? The difference between you then and your grandchildren now is that they have smartphones and large screens before their eyes. They spend much less time in a physical environment where they can play with their friends.
Therefore, it’s essential for you to create an environment where you can manage the use of your smartphone by your grandchildren. What follows are some steps you can take to make sure your phone is safe at all times!
Limit the time when grandkids can use the phone
Let’s face it; Smartphones can be very educational and useful to anyone if they’re used wisely. However, your grandchildren will generally be swayed by some of the flashy and addictive games that will keep them from paying attention to their surroundings.
Therefore, it’s important to limit the time when you’ll allow your grandkids to use your smartphone. Also, you should interact with them more while they are using the phone, so that they don’t become entirely consumed by it.
Even if they play educational games or do other productive stuff, you’re advised not to allow them to spend hours at a time glued to the screen. Otherwise, you can expect a host of healthy drawbacks such as damaged eyesight or spine problems if all your grandchildren do is stare at the screen.
Only keep educational apps installed
Another tactic you can apply is only installing educational apps and deleting games that might be distracting. This way, your grandkids will only have access to apps that can be useful so that they learn new skills, as well as accumulate knowledge regarding various topics.
If you’re bent on not allowing your grandkids to independently use your phone, use it alongside them. Play educational games with them, such as Duolingo, and learn new languages together. If your grandchildren don’t like your phone this way, they’ll spend less time using it and more time interacting with their environment and friends.
However, kids nowadays are much more tech-savvy than both parents and grandparents, so it’s essential to stop them from gaining access to apps that allow the installation of games and other time-consuming applications (such as the appstore and browser). Consider hiding the icons of these apps. Even better, password-protect them (you can do this by installing apps such as 1Password or AppLock).
Lastly, you can prevent the installation of apps from unverified developers, additionally protecting your phone from viruses and other types of malware/spyware.
Lock the screen
Although an obvious protective measure, it is of paramount importance to lock your screen so that your grandkids can’t access it without your permission. You can do this by selecting Settings > Security > Screen Lock (on Android).
You have the option of choosing between setting a password or a passphrase, PIN or a pattern for your screen lock. Hacking your passcode is almost impossible, barring a lucky guess (hint: don’t use your birthday date) is also very unlikely.
Use restricted profiles (Android)
Most of the newer Android phones and tablets allow you to create multiple user profiles that come in handy if several family members are using the same device, or if you need to quickly give your phone to someone in need of it for a while.
You can also set up “restricted” profiles that will only open the apps you’ve selected, and set parental restrictions on games, music and video files. This will take a few minutes of your time (and a few more to revert the settings), but the effort is well worth it when you need to hand your phone to a toddler.
Kid Mode is an app that has a similar function. It includes educational apps, child-friendly videos and other things children consider fun. You need to create an account and have Adobe Flash running in order to use it.
Take and store pictures of you and your grandchildren using Sherish
You can always work together with your grandchildren and use apps that will help you create memories and let you easily share them with other family members. Sherish is a great example of an app allowing you to capture moments from your surroundings with the smartphone camera and share them safely. With Sherish, you can set up a user profile within minutes and start storing an unlimited number of pictures/moments.
You can then teach your grandkids to use the app and send pics to their parents or friends. That way, you get to play with them and show them how to use your smartphone more productively.
Implementing these measures will give you a peace of mind, knowing that your private information is safe from the curious hands of your grandchildren. Meanwhile, make sure you install apps like Sherish, so that you capture every special moment you spend with those little rascals.