GOPHER OGEMBO: Access to Phones is critical in child safety

As adults, we look into our childhood years and reminisce the memories that made us into who we are today. We cherish our family and friends who defined our yesteryears and appreciate the many strides they built unto us. Looking back into those years, many of us did not have the privilege to own a phone. The internet then had started cropping up, and we were only wowed at how we could be able to communicate via email and search for information at the click of a button.

First forward to the 21st Century, there has been a change in lifestyles. Many families can afford phones and the internet is accessible to many. The fastest way to keep in touch with kids at home is buying a mobile device for them. The question that ponders the minds of today’s parents is what age and what type of phone should be given to the children?

Child Safety

With rising cases of online predators, it is no wonder parents are sceptical about handing devices to the children. One of the underlying factors has been on how to monitor their activities on the phone and the internet. Issues that may affect children on the phone include their access to distracting games, online bullies, and access to immoral content sites.

As we continue to raise awareness and educate ourselves about Child Safety and Protection, in an era that children have access to mobile devices, parents need to review this access with child’s safety in mind.

So, what should we do to keep children safe?

Buy your children age-appropriate devices. Interact and talk to them about why you think the phone is important to have and monitor the device closely. Talk to your children about the dangers of browsing without adult’s supervision and talking to strangers online. Download a child lock app that keeps away adult content and keeps your child safe from prying eyes. Invest in devices that come with features that your children enjoy and keep them engaged away from adult content.

Recognizing these dangers, phone manufacturers have stepped it up with devices that keep children’s safety in mind. An example is the Nokia T20 which comes with Google Kids Space, a trusted kid’s mode for children to explore apps, books and videos to nurture their inquisitive minds. Google Kids Space works in parallel with your child’s Google Account, which parents can help manage with Family Link parental controls.

Keeping tabs on your child activities on the mobile phone and having regular talks with them about the dangers the devices can bring will go a long way in protecting their safety both offline and online.

Gopher Ogembo is a Senior Business Manager – East Africa – HMD Global. 

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