In today’s modern world, people rely on technology in almost everything they do. Even in households, you can see families investing in smart home technology—from basic home appliances to various entertainment devices.
As parents, it can be quite alarming to see your kids getting exposed to technology, particularly the gadgets you have at home. In a report published by CNN, young children spend more than 2 hours a day on screen. The report also shows that 42% of children under 9 have their own mobile devices. Some kids even know how to use mobile phones and tablets as early as 3 years old.
There’s nothing wrong if you give youngsters access to mobile devices. In fact, a lot of educational institutions are utilizing technology tools and interactive media for learning courses.
Exposure to technology has pros and cons. Of course, excessive use is always a bad thing; and your role as parents is to guide them to be more responsible. Remember, giving them access to a computer and other gadgets imposes a lot of risks, especially if they are linked to the Internet. You might have heard some controversial issues concerning gadget addiction for both teens and younger children.
To help you out, here are some smart parenting tips on childproofing your gadgets at home:
TIP #1: Set House Rules Regarding Tech Usage:
Everything should start with a set of rules. Let them know you’re still in charge of your devices, so it’s better to set restrictions for your child’s usage. Be specific with your demands. Simple things like telling them to never put the iPad on the floor, or to not use it on certain days is a good start for being a responsible user.
In line with this, there should be consequences for every rule broken. Your kids should understand using electronics for entertainment is more of a privilege. The only way to do this is through strict enforcement of the ground rules.
TIP #2: Double Check your Smart Home’s Parental Configuration:
Generally, smart home devices work with the help of advanced digital technology. They usually feature a smart speaker or voice command. Some of the most popular devices used today are Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana.
The only downside of this technology is that some kids can activate these controls. There are even reports that younger kids have made multiple online purchases, or changing the thermostat accidentally using the voice commands.
To prevent this, make sure to check the parental settings of your device. For Alexa users, you can explore the parental dashboard called FreeTime, which enables you to restrict access to smart home functions. Google Assistant also has similar features. The Pretty Please function requires younger kids to use the word “please” before activating such commands.
Take the necessary precautions when you have these devices at home. Check the user’s manual and set the right security options for your child’s safety.
TIP #3: Explore Other Child-Friendly Smart Hubs:
There are now several smart home hubs specifically designed for younger children. These hubs usually offer learning tools, video tutorials, kids’ entertainment, and many more. Other programs are even designed for children with disabilities.
One of the popular options today is Amazon’s Dot Kids Edition. It is designed exclusively for young users, which also allows adults to set the configurations accordingly. Any command with an adult nature will be sorted out, including music and videos with explicit lyrics or content.
Another good feature of the Dot Kids Edition is it emphasizes positive reinforcement educating kids to say “please” and “thank you”. Online transactions can also be disabled.
TIP #4: Enable Security Pins on Smart Devices and Other Gadgets:
Setting pins and passwords on smart devices along with other daily gadgets is the most basic way to childproof them. As we all know, children as early as five or six years old can easily access those simple interfaces from your phones, tablets, and even some of the smart home appliances.
With security pin locks, you can prevent any authorized activities or commands to your devices. Another good thing about setting up a pin code is that you can monitor your kids’ screen activities and gadget usage without or minimal supervision.
The only downside of some devices with pin codes is that children can still make multiple attempts to activate them. This can lead to temporary locks of certain devices. So make sure to check the settings before enabling the password options.
TIP #5: Set Up Smart Security Cameras:
Installing security cameras is still the best way to monitor daily activities at home. You can simply link them to your phone or other mobile gadgets, which allows you to access security cameras even while you’re away.
TIP #6: Utilize Tabs for Younger Users with a Smart Security System:
Using tabs is another effective way to childproof smart home technology and other daily gadgets. Good thing today, there are various smart home security systems with advanced tabs for security purposes. This includes smart locks, doors, and window sensors.
The advantage of the smart lock is you can modify the access settings. You can assign each member of the family with unique codes to unlock doors and windows. The database will show you an accurate timeframe for every access granted or denied.
TIP #7: Upgrade your Security Software:
Finally, it is always safe to have updated security software for all your gadgets including mobile phones and tablets. Since you’re giving your kids access to your devices, it is advisable to install the best security software to prevent data breaches and viruses.
Some of the trusted brands you can check out our Norton, Avira, McAfee, Avast, AVG, and Adobe. Explore their features and subscription packages. Choose the best one that suits your budget and needs.
Following the above smart parenting tips should help to childproof your devices at home. Again, always take precautions. As they say, it’s better safe than sorry!