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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:
OrdinaryGirl · 22/02/2019 07:13

Secondary school is the earliest I'd consider it. Not because of concerns around online bullying or safeguarding issues, but because of the neurological effects of smartphone addiction and the destructive behaviour it leads to.
'How To Break Up With Your Phone' was a sobering read for me last year, and I want to put off my kids having that element to their lives for as long as possible without making them considered weird by their peers.

PMmehunx · 22/02/2019 07:23

I think the virtual world, online stuff, is pretty similar to the real world.
Anybody can be there, and not all of them are safe and that's online or in the real world.
Children need coaching and to be spoken to many times before they're let out into the real world alone, and then they're supervised heavily at first and you gradually loosen the reigns as they mature and become more sensible- the online world should be no different.
People get bullied in the real world, people get bullied in the online world.
I think all the dangers your child can come across online, they can come across in real life too- grooming, bullying, seeing things they shouldn't etc. Children have always seen or spoken of things their parents would be shocked or upset to hear about, it's no different today and it's no different just because it's online. All parents can do is remember to give the same level of supervision and education online as they do for anything offline like letting their children out alone to meet friends etc.

Penhaligon · 22/02/2019 08:42

Our eldest is 4 and he uses my iPad to watch videos on YouTube. His account is linked to my husbands and has parental controls in place and he only uses it while we're in the room so we can keep an eye on what he's watching.
We have built in internet security with our internet provider.
I'm a teacher and a lot of children in years 5&6 have mobiles, as a lot of them walk to and from school.
A concern for me would be keeping to to date with internet security, parental controls, apps etc as the children grow older.

MadeForThis · 22/02/2019 09:02

I think technology can be an amazing tool but there needs to be understanding of the risks.

Parents need to accept the responsibility of keeping up to date with trends online, educating their dc about potential dangers and monitoring actual use.

jitterbugintomybrain · 22/02/2019 12:15

Am resisting my DS3 getting a mobile until the end of year 6. I know it's a slippery slope and they become so addicted to them. Think the technology is amazing but hate the fact my kids are addicted to phones/ gadgets.

sarat1 · 22/02/2019 12:30

I did watch an episode of that BBC doc about how using technology like tablets actually improves motor skills in babies which I found surprising. I think towards Y6 it would be ok for child to have a kids tablet and phone but needs security settings etc

voyager50 · 22/02/2019 14:25

I don't think children should have mobile until they are teenagers.

Kids shouldn't be allowed to spend too much time looking at screens , they should be limited to an hour a day unless they are doing homework on them.

I think some parents rely on screen to babysit their children far too much and don't think some keep tabs on what kids are looking at or how they can be protected.

SweetPeaproperty · 22/02/2019 14:33

As each generation changes modern technology changes too, at present many parents consider use of mobile phones or Ipads to be "Electronic nannys" a few generations ago children were sent up chimneys or to workhouses, then grandparents went to war when they were merely boys, in reality the world is a better place now and we should embrace the change not dismiss it. Also, i have daughters who are in their teens & twenties i feel safer knowing they carry mobile phones. When i was growing up our school had one old BBC pc for the whole school so i have had to learn fast to embrace technology as my eldest works in IT Marketing my youngest has grown up with a computer/Ipad and can work her way around anything new in a blink. in the future jobs will be created that don't even exist at present and our children's children will look upon us as we look upon those generations earlier mentioned - the future is what we make it but we need to utilise what we have in the present to ensure we are moving in the right direction

MimsyBorogroves · 22/02/2019 18:23

My y6 child got his first mobile at Christmas so he's fully equipped for secondary school next September. It's heavily locked down, no safari, all app downloads go through my account for checking etc.

He's nearly 11. We've never let him have unsupervised internet access, all computer devices in living room only.

jacqui5366 · 22/02/2019 18:24

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets?

I think when they go to secondary school at 11.

Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours?

No mine do not, and I let them play games on my Ipad, but not my phone, which I do not use in front of them - lead by example.

If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for?

Ipad for down loading movies for long car journeys, and some CBeebies games,

Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures?

No - but I will
Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?

No - but my home modem has parental controls and antivirus - I'm worried it's not enough now

daniel1996 · 22/02/2019 18:36

I do not really want my DS to have a mobile, but feel he would only benefit when he goes to an out of school club, I worry about the content he would see, or be sent, so I would set my parental controls on my modem to suit what I would not want him to see.
I did not know you could download antivirus on a mobile phone or tablet - I now realise how tech savvy I'm not !

Cotswoldmama · 22/02/2019 20:23

My boys use my phone or our iPad often unsupervised but they're not really old enough to do anything other than play games.
I think I'll get my eldest a phone once he's about 8 and I'll start letting him go out to the shop by himself but it'll just be a cheap one that can make and recurved texts and calls

buize · 22/02/2019 21:18

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets?

I think when parents think their child is mature enough to deal with the access that these devices offer. But it is unlikely a child below 13 is able to self regulate.

Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours?

My child has had their own smart phone and device since age 13. However this was heavily monitored and censored. At nearly 16 now, I have relaxed a bit. We have had many conversations about keeping safe and what to share or not.

If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for?

Used for social media and music mainly.

Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures?

Yes and many are enabled.

Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?

chubo · 22/02/2019 21:28

I think for children a mobile phone should tie in with the start of secondary school which would hopefully also be the time they start getting a bit more independence ie walking to school alone or with friends.

nadaley · 22/02/2019 22:26

I let my four year old very occasionally use my phone to play games on but he is supervised. I wouldn’t want either child to use mobiles/tablets etc much for as long as I can put them off. I like learning with them in the ways I did as a child and I know he gets tech occasionally at school.

KittyKat88 · 22/02/2019 23:34

My DDs are aged 6 and 8, and have access to internet-enabled screens. I don't mind them using the leappad because it has protections built in. They do have a laptop but I've installed family safe virus protection and set up rules to restrict their access. The phone my 8 year old has is also protected and subject to restricted content. I worry about when they are of an age where they want more access and control. I'll make sure they're fully aware of the risks and the importance of internet safety!

lovemyflipflops · 23/02/2019 06:08

I think dependant on the child, their circumstances and needs any time between 7 and 11 for the first smartphone. My DS1 and DS2 don't have a smartphone, but as DS1 wants a VR headset for his birthday, I will look into getting one. I won't let him install some apps - especially instagram - until it gets its act together. I have an ancient Iphone, which I have a few games installed on, and let them play (candycrush). I do not have any antivirus on my phone, but do on all other devices

Byrdie · 23/02/2019 07:40

My 11 year old has had the use of a phone without a sim card for a year or so. She got a sim card this week. I would have waited longer but she does need it now as I'm expecting her to travel home from school to meet me to pick her up part way (building up slowly to independent travel!! She's a bit dippy!)

My 8 year old has an old phone to play on, again no sim. They are both old iphones and have restrictions on so no apps can be downloaded etc. I've got restrictions on screen time on the elder ones but the other is too old to have the ios update that includes it so we lock it in a box at certain times.

Peer pressire has definately led to us allowing her a phone with sim card. When all other parents allow it and teacher assume they have access to one, it's hard to delay any longer.

As far as virus software - i've never thought about it. I would be interested to know how it can impact an iphone with app downloads disabled.

45andahalf · 23/02/2019 09:01

I let my 4 year old son watch YouTube kids on my phone sometimes. He’s obviously too young to have a device of his own, but I expect to give him a phone when he’s older. I do worry about his access to the internet, I’d want to place some restictions on his use. I’m not so concerned about viruses, perhaps naively, as I have an iPhone and they seem pretty safe. Possibly by the time he’s old bough to have his own device, we’ll all have communications chips implanted in our frontal lobes!

PhysaliaPhysalis · 23/02/2019 09:14

My children's school have just had a Digital Detox for Y7-9; they have deemed it a success and are continuing with it for the next term. Children were not allowed to have their phones out at all in school. Previously, they were able to have phones out in breaks. The Digital Detox was put into place in response to the rise of candid photos on social media and lack of 'presence' of children in the now, iyswim.

At my school, I see a lot of cyber bullying. Parents are completely oblivious to it and don't believe their child would ever do such a thing or be on the receiving end of such a thing. We offer workshops to help parents understand but it's never the parents you want to attend who do.

My own children have smartphones, Xbox and laptops, and, completely hypocritically, I rarely check what they are up to. I can hear what they are doing on the Xbox, as it involves a lot of excited shouting Hmm. We have a lot of talks about issues such as dick pics, consent, how once pictures are out there then they're beyond your control.

I think consent is a parental issue too - how many photos of children are posted on Facebook or Instagram with no understanding that these are here for ever? It's an absolute minefield compared to when I was growing up and I'm so glad my mistakes, or unflattering photos, were not captured for posterity.

ILiveInSalemsLot · 23/02/2019 09:34

In theory, I don’t think children should have smartphones til they’re 16. So many young teens are constantly on their phones and not present even when out with their friends.
In reality though, I think secondary school age is fine as it’s likely that all their friends have one.
My children have their own devices and they’re very useful! They’re used for entertainment as well as education. Excellent for long journeys and really useful for homework and keeping up with practice in subjects like maths and languages.
I’ve spoken to them about internet safety and security measures as well as the importance of limiting their time on them.

TescoValue · 23/02/2019 11:24

I think there should be restrictions but in this day and age you can't really deny technology. I think waiting until secondary school for their own device is probably best but don't see much wrong with a child younger using them supervised at home. As long as it's not excessive!


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Montydoo · 23/02/2019 14:10

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets?

Depends what they are using them for, if it's playing games and watching videos, then I'd say around 7, for browsing the internet , social networking then 12 or 13

Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours?

At the moment at ages 8 and 11 they use mine.

If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for?

Playing games and streaming movies

Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures?

Yes, I've covered the topic, and will be making sure they area aware of unsecure websites, webcams, accepting friend requests and posting personal details on social networks

Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?

Yes my tablet but not my phone Shock

Margot33 · 23/02/2019 16:50

It , like everything has to be monitored and time limited, otherwise problems start. My children both have restricted ipads. But no mobile phones yet, Im thinking around 11 fof those. In my childs year 4 class all the childrens mobile phones have to go in a box on the teachers desk. This suprised me a little because they're only 8/9. But web I feel theyre old enough to cope with a phone. It will benefit is all, as they can text me to remind me to bring in forgotten homework/lunch/pe kit!

Mandapanda85 · 23/02/2019 17:14

I'm a huge advocate of use of technology at whatever age. My 3 year old can work my Mac and he has his own kids tablet for games.

I don't use it every day, because we're busy doing other things but I'd have no problem him using technology if he wanted to. There's actually evidence to suggest it helps development, specifically fine motor skills. I believe the more kids use technology now, the better our technology will be in the future.

When my kids are old enough to learn how to download apps etc I'll be making sure there's the right security controls in place for safe surfing, but I'm genuinely excited to see what the future holds considering what technology is around even today.

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