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Mumsnet users share what they think about children using mobile devices with cyber security experts ESET

375 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 21/02/2019 12:20


Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have become a part of everyday life, and children are increasingly using them. With this in mind, ESET Mobile Security would like to hear what your thoughts are on children using mobile devices and becoming vulnerable to cyber threats.

Here’s what ESET has to say: “With ever more of us living a life online, every member of the family can be left vulnerable through their phones or tablets and smartphone users with no antivirus software are opening themselves up to some serious threats. Whether it is virus software, dodgy apps or phishing emails, our devices are increasingly susceptible and it is becoming more and more crucial to consider how you can best protect your phones and tablets.”

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets? Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours? If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for? Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures? Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?

All who post on the thread below will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list) and one year’s free Premium subscription to ESET’s Mobile Security App.

Thanks and good luck!


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Mumsnet users share what they think about children using mobile devices with cyber security experts ESET
Mumsnet users share what they think about children using mobile devices with cyber security experts ESET
OP posts:
LKRJM · 21/02/2019 15:40

I think it’s up to the parents when children have their own mobile phone, sometimes it’s necessary younger as they have to travel to school on their own. As long as safety measures are in place to protect the child such as ‘find my phone’ etc. The younger children in my family have their own iPads that they use for watching videos or playing games which I think is fine as long as they’re supervised with it

MargoLovebutter · 21/02/2019 16:00

I think that mobile phone technology is incredibly powerful and like many things can be used for good or bad. For me educating my children on how to use it for good and safely was the most important thing.

They started on our household PC and laptops, that I used too and were kept downstairs in our kitchen/ family room. This meant they saw what I did and I saw what they did and I was able to show them how to use it and keep an eye on what they were using it for. I explained to them that using the internet came with responsibilities and that it was important to be safe, as there were people out there who would try and do bad things, like hack accounts or find people online. I wasn't alarmist and gave them age appropriate information and mainly focused on the positive uses.

By the time they were of an age to have a smart phone (when they went to senior school), they'd borrowed mine - again fully available for them to look at and experiment with. They knew about not using their real names on social media, not posting photos that they wouldn't want their head teacher or granny to see and what online bullying might look like. We went to all the school talks about online safety together and we discussed other people's posts on social media, what was a good idea and what wasn't - a lot! We talked about self-respect and how your image was portrayed and how people got an impression of you from what you posted.

I always trusted them and talked to them about keeping themselves safe and being aware of the pitfalls. We made sure that we had good anti-virus software on our computers and I would often seek their opinion as to which they thought was best, so that they were included in the importance of this.

To me education and communication are absolutely critical, as well as having faith in my DC!

allthingsred · 21/02/2019 16:03

My children all had mobiles for when they started middle school.
My eldest (13) has a laptop & my youngest 2 have tablets.
All have parental controls activated & all other safety features I can do
With their phones they know that I have to know their pins & I can check whenever I want.
They realise how virus works so wouldn't open or share anything they don't know

m0jit0 · 21/02/2019 16:38

Life is so different now for our kids compared to when we were little and technology- smart phones etc- is worlds apart from our childhoods. I would like to think that I can avoid giving our kids mobiles until they are at least secondary school age but who knows what the next 10 or so years is going to bring. It's getting the balance between letting them be kids so no need for phones but also not being left behind their peers.

JC4PMPLZ · 21/02/2019 16:43

Mine has a very cheap smartphone. It is a two way street. I can track him when necessary, but he may be vulnerable. Not sure what to! Common sense is still needed. They are very tired of the same internet safety classes at school.

maureen17 · 21/02/2019 18:06

I work with children Esafety is taught ... it's always astounding to hear! what they are allowed to do ..sites they visit ...sometimes it's possibly the parents need more understanding ...without meaning too sound rude! sorry

BristolMum96 · 21/02/2019 18:07

I only let my child play on my iPad on educational games and apps and I limit the time allowed

PhilomenaButterfly · 21/02/2019 19:21

Both my younger DC have tablets. I limit their time on them. DD has a dumb phone because she walks to school on her own.

ButterflyOfFreedom · 21/02/2019 19:51

My DC are 4 & 6 - they don't own any devices and wouldn't have a clue how to use them. Though I think we may be in the minority.... ?
We don't actually own a tablet but do have smart phones. DC know what they are for and the types of things you can do on them but they wouldn't know how to use them (plus they are password protected!).
I know all this will change at some point but we're trying to keep them as screen free as possible whilst we can!

Anj123 · 21/02/2019 20:02

I would try and resist letting kids use tablets and phones for as long as possible but it’s difficult as there is so much peer pressure. Our daughter was desperate for a tablet so we gave her one for Christmas when she was 10. She used it mainly to play games and we supervised her. When she was 11 she was desperate for a phone so I gave her my old one. We did talk to her about the dangers of using the internet and she learnt a lot about it at school too. Now she uses Instagram I insist on following her and have warned her about accepting follower requests and keeping her account private. We have security settings on our internet provider account to prevent her seeing anything inappropriate as she likes watching YouTube videos. I don’t think there’s much more I can do, and am hoping she’s sensible.

sharond101 · 21/02/2019 20:11

I think when my Son is going out places by himself a smartphone will be a good idea but he is only 6 now so thats a few years away.

claza93 · 21/02/2019 20:33

I have five children ranging from 9 months to 13 years. The older two (13 and 11) have a smart phone but I have access to their devices and am able to check what they have been on etc. I especially check the 11 year olds account as we have had some internet related issues :(
My nine year old now has an ipod touch (not sure if this was the best idea), she loves it but we do have to police it and monitor how long she is on it.
My six year old boy tends to just play on the switch and uses the family ipad for homework only.
It is a nightmare though - we constantly discuss the dangers of the internet and how there can be nasty people out there. Not sure how much more we can do

macblank · 21/02/2019 21:05

personal thoughts
I am.not a fan of giving toddlers n younger, techno-dummies. It really gets on me goat!

However, it's how.people parent these days, not my choice, and definitely can't help in speech and development?

Back to the topic...
I think it's important to monitor your children's use of technology, especially these days with so many cyber threats about. Kids are clever, buy so gullible. By that I mean, if a "friend" said, download this, they will and that's where you can be hacked or whatever.

Properly setting the device security and making sure the kids cannot download any old stuff, or reach sites etc that's not right for them.

The best solution, is profiles on your device, with a DECENT PASSWORD. A password not easy to crack, that the sky little sods won't crack themselves... And they will try.

Or if can afford it, a spare phone/tablet, with no money details on it and nothing that can be used if hacked etc. A device that can just be wiped with no consequence.

itsabongthing · 21/02/2019 21:15

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets?
Phones with mobile data - secondary school age
Tablets at home - younger age but with close parental supervision and on apps rather than free access to the internet

Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours? If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for?
Just about to get dd her own phone for her 11the birthday. She uses an old tablet of mine at home. Kids use them for watching stuff on iPlayer or Netflix or for apps like drawing ones or basic games. They don’t seem to look at you tube much though I know their friends do.

Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures? Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?
Have spoken to the older one who cannot sign up for any accounts etc without us being aware as we monitor email. She also knows about not using full name for anything.

I haven’t downloaded anything extra.

When she gets her own phone a condition will be that I know the passcode and I will check it every so often.

MrsFrTedCrilly · 21/02/2019 21:57

I don’t think you can put an age on it it depends on the child. We have iPads and the children use them for homework and some games. Usually supervised and they have no ability to buy anything. We don’t do online gaming at present. Both are sensible enough to come get us and ask before downloading anything. Their school lad done a lot of work around internet safety recently which helps.

Popcornandbuttons · 21/02/2019 22:10

My DD's are 4 and 2 so I think some of the concerns about internet usage and technology dependence and safety aren't relevant yet.
They share a fire tablet but don't use the internet just the games and books and tv shows, all with parental controls on and age suggested ranges.
They both like playing games on my ipad - but this isn't for long and I supervise.

I think I'll need to be a lot more conscious of internet safety over the next few years as my DD changes how she uses technology.

AsIfIWish · 21/02/2019 22:20

I get very cross when people (including DH) give kids smartphones to 'shut them up.' I'm mostly talking younger kids, here – kids who need proper social interaction most of the time, for their development. Or, indeed, to be allowed to get bored and discover how to make their own entertainment.

CoraCoo · 21/02/2019 22:31

I think it's fine out it not too often or for too long.

My dc enjoy watching videos on YouTube that demonstrate different trucks and colours and children's nursery rhymes and songs. This increases their vocabulary and helps with their memory as they learn the songs.

The also play sorting games, jigsaw games and basic counting games on their tablet. It gives both them and me 10 minutes to relax from all the usual jumping and running as bout.

miranda1511 · 21/02/2019 23:09

Our local council has just announced that all school children from P6 through to High School will be given an iPad to be used for school work but also to be taken home for use by themselves and other family members. Children under this age in education will share an iPad in class in groups of 4. I think it's a bold move but one I applaud. Digital literacy is so important and as a country we must furnish our young people with the tools and education that will prepare them for a data driven world. My own son is 9 and has his own tablet and my old iPhone. He doesn't have a sim in the iPhone but can use it on WiFi and can also piggyback onto my phone when out. He also has a PS4 and use of laptops and iPads in the home. I believe that there is no such thing as too young re digital devices. However, I firmly believe they should be secured and safe, used in rooms where parents are present and within certain times.

hellsbells77 · 21/02/2019 23:18

I think in this day and age, it's hard to keep children away from devices completely. That's not to say they should be on them all the time or their lives ruled by them but in the digital age where they are used in schools and in the work place I think not being able to use them could put a child at a disadvantage.

When a child is given access or allowed their own is definitely their parents decision to make though, and personally, I think it depends on what type of device and for what purpose. We've let our son use a tablet since he was a toddler (about 18 months/2 years old), with restrictions on what he could go on, time spent on it (30 minutes) and when, and initially just educational games and activities. He's now 8 years old and we still have a lot of the same usage restrictions but he has a bit more time (45 minutes on weekdays, 1 hour at the weekend) and it's used more for downtime because he has a full on 8-hour day at school. There is also an expectation from school to use the Internet for some homework (usually research based things and maths). Our school has been pretty hot on e-safety, especially over the last year, having age appropriate discussions in classes and sharing information with parents. We have continued this discussion at home.

Until his last birthday, our son used our devices but received his own tablet for a present. In some respects this has made it easier because we can shut certain parts down (e.g. He doesn't have access to the Internet, email or social media), we can set automatic time restrictions when it shuts down and we can generally have much more control without restricting our own access or swapping and changing between logins. We still have the rule that he can only use it in view of us, so we can keep an eye on things and he understands why. Hopefully he still will when he's a teenager!

Our plan is to hold off him having a smartphone as long as possible and only having a standard phone to start off with when he's in secondary school. For us, unlimited access to social media is one of the biggest things that contributes to the problems faced by teenagers and young adults.

QueenOfPharts · 21/02/2019 23:51

My kids share a very basic tablet they can not get onto the internet or buy extra levels/games. They can just use the apps we have given them. They also like our Ipad for watching film and tv on the move. I dont let my kids near my mobile and Ill hold out as long as possible before I get them one.

Enigma222 · 21/02/2019 23:59

My 7 and 6 year old hav a tablet each with all the security features and parental control on it. They have limited access for a set period of time. As I do not want them to be hooked on it. As for mobile phones that would come when they are older and responsible.

NeverTwerkNaked · 22/02/2019 00:02

I think it is a huge concern. I think even as quite technologically literate parents we feel very nervous about how best to manage it. We regularly check devices, and have decent protections, but as they get older it is harder to manage.

keffie12 · 22/02/2019 00:21

Technology is an everyday part of life now. My youngsters are adults now with young families of their own. Two of mine work in the I.T industry, 1 as a software developer, the others as a software engineer.

When mine were born in the 80's and 90's it was slowly taking off. They were introduced to it at school. They also had access to Sega and the like as young children. They were always monitored and as tech got bigger we always discussed as we do everything the good and the bad side, things that can happen, what they can do and listen to what they have to say.

Youngsters today in the western world will never know a world without it, or minimal of it. Like anything if they are bought up around it, with balance, understanding, to respect and discuss then all should be well.

The problem is those, whose parents don't monitor, bother and so on. Like everything it starts in the home life

Our Grandchildren use it under supervision. Even the little one's in the sense of say in the car a stream, child suitable will be put on for them and put near them to help settle them if they are tired. Even so young they can understand what they can and can't do around it.

They know not to mess even mischievously around the router and the same with mobiles. Like anything. It starts with parental and family responsibility

kateandme · 22/02/2019 04:18

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets? try to put if off as much as possible.which als means being mindful yourself.if they see you on them gorwing up it too will become the wanted norm.i try to make it last resort and will do unitl they become of an age I think its ok.and would prefer it to be used for things like movies or tv programs not internet and games.
Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours?
no they don't.i wouldn't like to giv ehtme their own until scneiors when tey are going to school on their own.and only then as basic as possible so its more for communication text.and basic plan so its wifi and not data based with credit.
If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for?tv.movies.simple games and learning or google lookups. Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures? never to click blue links.never to use them when we arent there.dont talk to anyone trying to talk to to us if you are unsure there is nothing they cant ask.
never give away your details or sign up for anything.this will increae in detail as they get older.
Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?yes

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