Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Sept. 30, 2013

Parents Admit to Distracting Kids With Mobile Devices

Project Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

A graphic has been circulating the Web that shows 61% of parents in the United States have given their child a smartphone or tablet to keep them occupied.

If you’re included in that statistic, don’t feel bad – parental pass-offs are clearly pervasive. Instead, ask yourself a few important questions before handing-off your device and letting kids thumb through apps, music, or websites:

  • Is this app or music appropriate? Does it have age requirements? (If you’re not sure, take a look at the music or app ahead of time. Also, if you don’t know the difference between the two, here’s a quick read to get you up to speed.)
  • When was the last time I updated my phone’s privacy settings? (If your answer is, “I don’t know,” you may want to check them before passing-off. Your location services could be turned on, displaying information about where your kids are accessing services.)
  • Are my in-app purchases turned on? (Unless you’re comfortable with your child spending $1,400 on “Smurfberries” you should probably disable that feature.)
  • Have we talked about rules? (Do your kids know what websites they can or can’t access, or whether they’re allowed to download new apps? Are you okay with your kids accessing your work email or banking apps? Have a conversation with them about what’s on and off-limits.)