5 Ways to Protect Your Kid’s Phone

Before your kids start the new school year toting their mobile devices, be sure they know how to protect their personal identifying information!

By Anne Livingston, KidsPrivacy

Privacy and security go hand in hand. This is especially true with a kid’s mobile phone. Their phone contains lots of personal information that anyone who has access to it can see. In order to keep their information private, kids needs to keep their devices secure. With kids, the two big security issues are losing their phone or downloading a bad app.

According to Lookout, 30 billion phones are lost a year. In Seattle, we lose our phones on average twice a year. So far, my kids have not lost a device—although one did go through the washer and dryer. But at some point, someone is going to lose a phone. Anyone who finds their phone will have access to their information, such as contacts, pictures, and messages as well as their open accounts, such as Twitter or Facebook.

The other threat kids may encounter is downloading a bad app. A report by McAfee found 1 in 6 mobile apps contain malware or spyware. Kids who love to download apps may end up with one of these characters. These malicious apps can do anything from sending annoying pop up ads to stealing personal information.

To protect privacy, make sure your kids are implementing these simple security tips.

1. Set a Strong Password.

Passwords on a mobile device are extremely important. A password can stop someone from picking up their phone and seeing all of their information or tampering with their Twitter or Facebook profiles.

2. Keep Your Apps Up-to-Date.

Right after setting a password, this is one of the easiest and most essential security safeguards. Kids should not ignore those updates for apps or their operating system on their phones. Many of these updates contain important security patches that will protect their devices.

3. Download Apps Only From Well-Known Sources.

Many malicious applications are published outside of trusted app stores. Kids should only download apps form legitimate sources. They should also check permissions and make sure an app is not asking for too much access to their information.

4. Install a Find Your Phone App.

At some point, a kid will misplace their phone. If they have a Find Your Phone app, they can quickly locate their phone before someone else finds it. Apple has Find My iPhone and Android has Where’s My Droid.

5. Enable Remote Wipe on Their Phones.

If the phone is missing and all hope is gone, a remote wipe will erase their information.

For more security tips, check out these other resources:

McAfee Security Tips for Mobile Users

Trend Micro’s – Are You Protecting the Data in Your Pocket

Lookout’s Generation Smartphone: A Guide for Parents of Tweens & Teens

Anne Livingston is the creator of the KidsPrivacy blog. She is a writer and a speaker with a passion for teaching parents and kids how to manage life online. Every day, she finds inspiration by watching her own three children raise digital pets, masquerade as penguins, or film YouTube videos.

Photo: Surachai

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