Kid-proofing your tech: how protect your devices and your kids?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
As technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, children are exposed to it at younger ages. While it certainly has many benefits for kids, from educational apps to opportunities for creativity, it also comes with potential risks and dangers if not used properly.
As parents, we must ensure our kids can reap the rewards of technology while keeping them safe. Kid-proofing your tech is an important part of that. This article will explore some tips for protecting your children and devices.
Why kid-proofing tech devices matters
Young kids are naturally curious and drawn to bright colors and images on devices. However, they often lack the judgment to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate content and interactions. Kid-proofing tech devices through parental controls and access restrictions helps ensure children only access age-appropriate content and apps that can enrich their learning and creativity in a safe environment.
Potential risks and dangers for children using devices
Young minds are impressionable, so age-appropriate parental controls and active supervision are key to preventing harm. For instance, excessive screen time can negatively impact sleep and social-emotional growth. Not to mention that without proper parental guidance and limits, children can easily access inappropriate content like games, websites, and applications that expose them to adult themes, violence, and unwanted contact with strangers.
Physical safety measures
Fortunately, parents can kid-proof their home tech in many ways to reduce physical hazards. Safety tips include:
- Use protective cases and tempered glass screens on tablets and smartphones to prevent cracking if dropped.
- Select child-friendly tablet stands to avoid tip-overs.
- Keep small device parts like earbuds in cases out of reach of babies and toddlers.
- Hide cords behind furniture or use cord covers to prevent tripping and pulling hazards.
- Set media devices at kid height on stable surfaces for comfortable use.
Supervision and active engagement
Even with safety measures, it is crucial to supervise and engage with kids using technology actively. Tips include:
- Use devices together and ask kids questions about what they see and do.
- Set tech usage areas in open living spaces rather than alone in bedrooms.
- Encourage tech-free stretches and active play to complement device use.
- Model responsible device habits yourself by putting away your phone to give your full attention.
Choosing wireless technology where possible
Focusing on wireless charging specifically removes many of the risks and limitations that corded charging presents with young kids. Plus, it is an easy way to make device use safer. Key benefits of wireless charging include:
- Eliminates tangled cords that can be safety hazards and tripping risks for kids.
- Reduces risks of electric shocks by removing exposed cords and plugs.
- Prevents damage to charging ports when devices are plugged/unplugged repeatedly.
- Even young kids can set devices on charging pads without handling cords.
Securing devices and cables
When going wireless is not an option, take steps to secure wired devices. Assess each room and address any safety gaps that could endanger your children.
- Use cable management products like sleeves to cover cords against the wall.
- Wind up extra cable lengths with twist ties or velcro straps to prevent exposed cords.
- Consider mounting TVs on articulating wall arms to keep off surfaces and hide wires in the arm.
- Place excess power strips and outlets up high, out of reach. Install tamper-resistant outlets if needed.
Appropriate content selection
Curating the media your kids’ access helps avoid content not meant for them that could otherwise cause distress or prompt difficult conversations before kids are ready. Be proactive by:
- Downloading specific kid-friendly apps, not just opening apps you already have.
- Enabling parental controls and filters to limit content based on your child’s age and maturity.
- Pre-screening videos, movies, and games yourself first before sharing with kids.
- Following age rating guidelines for apps, networks, video games, and streaming services.
Establish screen time limits
Reasonable limits encourage kids to get up and engage in more enriching activities while still allowing technology in moderation under your watchful guidance. Recommendations include:
- There are no screens at all for children under 18-24 months old besides occasional video chatting.
- One hour a day maximum for preschool-aged kids, focused on high-quality content.
- School-aged children should have no more than 2 hours of screen time, split up with non-tech activities in between.
- Establish tech-free zones like bedrooms and dinner tables.
- Set a consistent cut-off time in the evenings when all devices get put away for sleep.
The digital age presents new challenges for parents regarding how technology impacts kids’ safety, development, and overall well-being. However, by taking the time to properly kid-proof your home tech using the tips and guidelines above, parents can effectively minimize risks and maximize benefits for their children. Parents can protect their kids and their devices with thoughtful precautions and engaged supervision.