Are you thinking of giving your child a tablet? Or perhaps, giving their old one away? Or even letting someone gift a tablet to your child? When gifting a tablet, safety is priority number one -- especially where your child is concerned.
Today's world presents a lot of dangers for children. But as parents, it's our responsibility to limit the perils they face. Whether you are giving your child a tablet or giving your kid's tablet away, you need to make sure that their privacy is secured. You value your child's privacy and safety, so you know you need to take steps to secure it. Fortunately, you have numerous options to keep your kids (and their data) safe from modern dangers.
Keeping Safety in Mind When Gifting a Tablet to Your Child
When gifting a tablet to your child, you want to take every precaution to protect their privacy. The world is an unfriendly place. Unfortunately, tablets meant for kids lack the security needed to protect them by default. They're very easy to hack, according to security experts.
You can't do anything about security flaws in the companies themselves, like the VTech hack of 2015 that "revealed personal pictures of kids." But you can take measures to protect your kids via their tablet itself.
Because of this, you'll want to ensure that you do all you can to minimize this risk. Now, let's get to those options for keeping your kids safe.
Security apps and antivirus
You should first consider which security apps to get when gifting a tablet to your child. First off, you'll want a decent antivirus program. A good antivirus like BitDefender can mean the difference between your child's personal information staying personal or making its way into the hands of someone else.
If you want to take security a step further, you should consider a VPN, or virtual private network, like NordVPN. A VPN will allow your child to connect to the internet without you worrying that their location data will be exposed via your IP address. A VPN will encrypt your child's data before it leaves their device. This means that any websites your child visits will see the data as coming from the VPN's servers rather than your location.
Many tablets, especially those meant for kids, have excellent parental control options. But aside from built-in software that allows you to limit what apps your kids can access, you have a plethora of parental control apps available to you when gifting a tablet to your kids.
Bark, for example, costs less per month than that ticket you got last week for allowing a parking meter to expire. This will monitor unlimited apps and unlimited kids then alert you when the program's algorithms detect something about which you should be concerned. Bark monitors all major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and more. It will also monitor your kids' texts and emails. This way you don't have to comb through all of your kids' messages. You'll know if you should be concerned.
OurPact offers you the ability to not only block texts and apps, but to schedule when your kids can use their devices. And it offers cross-network parental controls that work with iOs and Android devices alike. In addition, OurPact allows you to locate family members who have the app installed. You can even "fence off" certain areas and receive alerts when your kids arrive and leave. This is very convenient if you're worried that Junior might skip school and hang out at Mike's house instead.
No matter which parental control app you decide to check out, you'll be glad to know that most offer limited free trials so you can make sure they're worth the cost.
Other safety considerations
You'll want to spend time talking to your kids when gifting a tablet to them. Of course, tablets are fun devices that give them many educational opportunities. But some dangers, try as you may, you will not be able to protect them from.
You'll want to teach your kids very early on about setting a secure password and not sharing it with anyone. Informing them of the dangers presented by random internet people is also an important consideration. Tablets are fun, but they're not toys.
Internet Matters has a series of guides for you and your children. They are helpfully organized into age ranges so that you can get comfortable with the idea of internet safety together. Ideally, your kids will be supervised when using their tablets. But if you have to step away, be sure to implement other safety precautions to ensure that they don't engage in risky online behavior.
Giving Your Child's Tablet to Someone Else
Your kid is done with his or her tablet. Whether it is because the Xbox, or that new phone, has stolen their attention or not, you don't want it to go to waste. So, of course, you make the perfectly responsible decision to give it to a friend or donate it to one of the many charity organizations that exist. But you want to make sure that you take every precaution to protect your child once the tablet leaves your possession.
Before you do anything else, you'll want to encrypt your child's data. This isn't something most consider doing. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of Android devices are not encrypted. This can be a grueling, hours-long process. But doing this pre-wipe can help protect your data. If you do this, someone will need your password to decrypt the data.
You may also consider downloading an app like Shreddit to better erase your deleted data. Not only will it delete files, but it will completely overwrite the space they used to occupy. In most cases, this will make them unrecoverable. So you will have peace of mind when gifting a tablet to someone.
Next, you'll want to wipe the device. How this is accomplished varies depending on the brand of tablet you have, but in general, you'll want to go to settings and find the "perform a factory reset" option. This will restore your device to how it was when you bought it.
All of these steps are important when gifting a tablet of your child's (or your own) to someone else -- especially if you are donating them and are not sure who will get their hands on the device next.
Keep Your Child's Internet Experience Safe and Fun
Tablets are fun, but they're not toys. Just like you wouldn't tell your kid to "have at it" with the oven, you wouldn't let them play on a tablet without teaching them the basics of internet safety. Additionally, you'll want to be sure to set up the right amount of parental controls for your child. This will ensure that they are not able to access the things you don't want them to access.
Finally, you'll want to be sure that the device is protected by some sort of security apps. As we mentioned, a VPN and antivirus can go a long way in making sure that the tablet is safe from data breaches.
And if you're giving away your child's tablet to someone else, be sure to take the steps we mentioned to be sure that no one can pilfer your kid's data after they get their hands on his or her old device. A simple factory reset is just not enough.
The internet can be a scary place filled with dangers you may not have even considered. But if you act responsibly, you can minimize those risks. Tablets are a lot more fun when mom and dad are not worried.