Are you planning to give your kids smartphones this holiday season? I have grade-school aged kids, and my two eldest have their Android smartphones. These are mostly used for playing games and the occasional SMS. But given the prevalence of social networks today, there are always security risks associated with kids and mobile phones.
For instance, there is the possibility of downloading malware from app stores. Then there’s also the potential for phishing attacks — SMS-based scams are popular in my region. Good thing they don’t have social network accounts. But with smartphones and mobile broadband, what’s stopping them?
NQ Mobile, a company that makes smartphone security apps, says Android is actually a more secure platform than others, say, the iPhone. According to chief product officer Gavin Kim “Android … provides greater flexibility for developers to build applications that provide safety and protection for children. The Android platform will more likely have the latest, compelling, easy to use digital parenting tools to help [parents] keep children safe and protected on mobile devices.”
NQ has released a beta of its Family Guardian app, which is now available on Google Play. The app takes advantage of Android’s flexibility and lets parents have control over certain aspects that may be considered security risks. With Family Guardian, a parent can hide installed apps, prevent downloads, and block apps or content during certain times. The app can also use the phone’s GPS so that parents can check their kids’ whereabouts.
Mashable lists other features that make Android more kid-friendly than other platforms. For one, the wider range of phone offerings (compared to the iPhone) means that you can get a cheaper phone, which can also come in pre-paid packages. This way, you don’t have to spend sixty bucks per kid on phone bills. And with prepaid plans, they can learn to budget their resources (pre-paid credits can also get carried over to succeeding months, so there’s no wastage).
Do you agree that Android is a safer and more secure platform for kids? Do you let your kids use smartphones and tablets? if so, how do you make sure they’re safe when accessing content and apps?