Giving your teenager a smartphone makes it easier for you to stay in contact with him or her. Owning a smartphone comes with a lot of responsibilities, though. When they use their mobile devices improperly, teens can get themselves into trouble. You can help them stay safe by teaching them these five tricks.
Don’t Reply to Unknown Calls and Texts
Phishing scams used to rely on email to get personal information from victims. Today’s hackers know that they have more options. Phone calls and text messages have become one of their favorite ways to find new people they can take advantage of.
Answering a call or text from an unknown number is all it takes to put your teen on a scam artist’s radar. A lot of times, the hackers just need to make sure they have legitimate phone numbers. When teens answer or reply, they make themselves targets.
Unfortunately, your teenager could miss important messages by ignoring all unknown numbers. Tell your teen to call the number back instead of answering. Blocking numbers with a phone is easy because you only need to dial *67 before returning the call. Doing this lets your teenager find out who called without revealing his or her phone number.
Use a Strong Password to Protect Your Private Information
Over time, your teen will add a lot of private information to his or her smartphone. If someone steals the phone, then the thief could access bank account numbers, social media accounts, the phone numbers of your teen’s friends, and email addresses.
Using a strong password will help prevent thieves from accessing personal information. The best passwords contain random letters, numbers, and special characters. The more random the password is, the harder it is for a thief to break into it. Random.org has a random password generator that will help your teen choose a strong password.
Only Download Trustworthy Apps
Criminals with basic computer knowledge can build or buy malware that they use to steal information from smartphones. Unfortunately, teenagers don’t always know how to differentiate between legitimate and untrustworthy apps. You can help them make the distinction by telling them to avoid third-party app stores, encouraging them to read app reviews, and reminding them to keep their operating systems updated.
Downloading a security app can also make it harder for criminals to install malware on your child’s phone. Some of the most popular security apps include 360 Mobile Security and Avast Mobile Security. Both of these apps have free versions that you can try before making a commitment.
Never Send Questionable Materials to Friends
Today’s teenagers live in a world where typical teen behavior can lead to serious criminal allegations. For instance, if your 16-year-old daughter sends a nude photo to someone she’s dating, then the police could arrest her for distributing child pornography. The authorities don’t care that the underage people involved are willingly sharing the pictures with each other. They only care that someone possesses salacious images of an underage teen. This may sound like an overreaction, but teens have gotten into serious trouble for texting racy pictures to each other.
Make sure your teenager understands the potential repercussions of exchanging lewd photos with friends. It may seem like innocent flirtation, but it can lead to serious consequences. Also, instruct your teens to delete any inappropriate images they’ve received. They don’t need to take such a big risk.
Use an App That Lowers Your Temptation to Text and Drive
Texting while driving kills 11 teenagers every day. Unfortunately, many teenagers still feel a lot of temptation to use their smartphones behind the wheel. You can help curb that feeling by suggesting apps that will read text messages out loud and send replies automatically.
Good options include ReadItToMe, DriveSafe.ly, and vBoxHandsFree Messaging. Each of these apps has its own pros and cons, so you should research a few of them before you and your teen decide which one matches your concerns best.
Giving your teenager a smartphone demonstrates a high level of trust. Make sure your teen knows how to meet your expectations by following these tips.