According to a survey by ParentPort, 16% parents admit to buying their child a device or gadget that they did not fully understand how to use. Even those of us who think we know a device may discover with a couple of apps it can do much more. Just because a device is not a phone doesn’t mean it cannot communicate.
Parents often overlook the fact that many devices are capable of connecting to the internet. With a wireless connection, game consoles, music players, iPods, tablets, and cell phones can connect and browse the web just like a PC. Apps can further expand the capabilities of a device. A parent may believe they are limiting communication by giving their kid an iPod Touch. However, by downloading apps such as TextPlus or Facetime, kids can now text or video chat on their iPod Touch.
For a quick overview of a device, parents should check out its Settings. Under Settings, parents can see what the device is capable of as well as what can be disabled. Many devices allow users to turn off the browser, block certain sites, restrict in app purchases or set age restrictions. Parents may also want to surf the app store to see what apps are available for the device.
The most important piece is to periodically check in. Ask a kid for a tour or have them show you the latest app, this is a great way to see what a device can do. If you do see something unexpected talk to them about guidelines for internet use and sharing information. These devices are mini-computers and parents need to take the same care with them as they would a PC.