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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:
Sierra259 · 23/02/2019 18:33

Our DC (6&3) use the family tablet with supervision and have their Kids Kindles that we allow them a bit more freedom with as we've disabled browsers. In-app purchases are disabled on everything. We usually play alongside the youngest and stick to strict time limits for using them. I dread the inevitable mobile phone pleas when they're older, and will probably insist on gradually diminishing levels of access to them as they get older, and be strict about no screens after a certain time. I think the main thing is to educate about responsible use from a young age, as well as gradually discussing the dangers.

janekirk · 23/02/2019 23:05

Where would you set the safety line between having trust in what your kids do on a mobile and getting warnings when they look at inappropriate subjects?

del2929 · 23/02/2019 23:54

with the way technology is moving forward you cant put an age on this sort of action.

our dcs use mobiles with supervision-
they have ipads all equipped with the relevant safety filters etc- no acess to youtube/ google etc

so much school work is set on laptops etc it is rather difficult to limit screentime sometimes

alwaysinleggings · 24/02/2019 09:38

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

When they go to high school.

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

No I will not allow them to use mine, however they use my tablet for games and watching films in the car.

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

I think children have an addiction to this too early, and it's used as a distraction for lazy parenting, it leads to poor social skills. I see too many mums with their heads engaged in their mobile phone and ignoring their children - it's not for me and want my children to have a childhood and not a square babysitter

Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures?

No - have had no requirement yet.

Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices?


PlayingForKittens · 24/02/2019 13:21

My children are now 12, 10 and 6.

Their dad and I are slow to the tech game and smart phones etc really. We've had an iPad for a few years which is very slow as it is an ancient one my sister gave us when she upgraded.

The iPad was loaded with apps like the Lego games and teach your monster to read and locked down with passwords, in app switched off etc. We progressed to ro blox but locked down.

I do think it is important for them to get to grips with because it is just normal life now, school expect 20min a week on certain apps so really you need to have the technology available.

A lot of kids in my oldest child's class got mobiles in year 6 but I refused to give in. They were all in instagram etc. I got mine a mobile the summer before secondary and I have qustodio for security so I set time limits on individual apps, can see who he phones, who he messages, can see content of texts etc. He does now go on Instagram for group chats and WhatsApp. WhatsApp being the most used. At first I had the apps logged in with his details on my phone so I could monitor and he earned trust. He knows I can and do look at his phone any time.

The next child will also get a mobile summer before secondary.

SuzCG · 24/02/2019 16:04

My son was given a phone at 11 when he started to travel independently for school etc. Unfortunately he did obviously download some sort of dodgy game on it and the phone ended up getting a virus and 'melting'. Being not that techy myself I find this whole thing quite scary!

foxessocks · 24/02/2019 16:35

My kids are too young for this at the moment however dd is 5 and hasn't ever used a tablet at home as we don't have one. As for phones I'm thinking when she starts secondary school is a good time.

FuzzyShadowChatter · 24/02/2019 17:16

I don't think it's a matter of there being any age where it's a "should", it depends on the family and individual situation that can be a great convenience but not a 'should' or 'need'.

My 14-year-old has his own smartphone which originally his grandparents bought him when he stayed with them for a few weeks a couple years ago and my 12-year-old has a tablet - neither have any internet browser available on their personal devices, the music, books, comics and such their father or I put on there from our computers, and the apps are monitored.

Generally, they use their devices for listening to music, reading books or comics, videos, my 12-year-old uses a few drawing and story creation apps, and my 14-year-old plays minecraft on his, though he has to be next to me or his father to go onto a server. I only let them or their younger siblings use mine for specific functions like using the timer or taking a photo, under my supervision and then it comes right back to me.

We've spoken about internet security devices for when they use the family computers. I used GCF and a few other places when we discussed them. All of our devices have anti-virus, though I find my 12-year-old's tablet seems to have the most issues with keeping clean.

Theimpossiblegirl · 24/02/2019 19:19

My 2 are teens and are very attached to their phones. They are well informed and don't spend all night chatting like some of their friends seem to.

I think technology can be great in moderation but hate seeing small children being kept occupied by screens.

Gazelda · 24/02/2019 19:35

We've introduced tech gradually to DD who now has a phone. She's 10 and has lagged behind her classmates by about a year.
There are rules she has to stick by (no passcode, no phone/tablet upstairs, dh and I can access anytime we choose etc). Her school are very good about talking with the children about dangers and safe practices. The school share these lessons with parents so we can reinforce similar rules and strategies
I'm not naive about to think we won't have problems, but I think we do our best to pre-empt and stay up to date with latest news.

purplepandas · 24/02/2019 19:45

Mine have their own tablets but they can't just use them when they want. I have got parental controls on them and we have spoken about interney safety. I also ban any chat type things at the moment as they are way too young.

myhamsteratefreddiestarr · 24/02/2019 20:21

DC will have a decent phone when they start secondary school later this year. At the moment they have a Monqi phone from a product trial on Mumsnet.

It means that I have to approve all downloads, add contacts, and can track their movements and messages.

They have my old iPad and I regularly check the friends she has on various things. Mostly she just plays games and messages her friends.

I do limit the time she spends on it and she’s not allowed it when eating out etc.

fishnships · 24/02/2019 21:35

Realistically I think from aged 9 - 11 is about the right age for children to have mobiles.

doesthatmakesense · 24/02/2019 21:57

We are, very reluctantly, letting dd1 have my old iPhone when she starts secondary school solely on the basis that the adults around her at school on the bus etc will expect kids to have mobiles and will therefore have different expectations of independence etc. She will not have 3g or 4g. I strongly believe that giving the whole of the internet to children is deeply irresponsible to point of being neglectful. Allowing children to focus their play on screens is profoundly damaging, but it is so ubiquitous and normalised that i rarely voice this opinion as people think it is odd and extreme. I think spending hours pretending to shoot people/steal cars/murder zombies is pretty odd and extreme. I also think it normalises violent and degrading behaviours.
I love what tech can do for humanity, but i also despair of its unlooked-for side effects which seem to be much moe visible in the young. We have tried hard to find a healthy balance for our dc, and that does mean they don't have lots of tech. It also means we don't have lots of arguments about how long they spend on it ;-)

lillypopdaisyduke · 25/02/2019 08:35

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?


Valkarie · 25/02/2019 08:44

I think that in the world we live in, every adult uses mobile devices, so kids are bound to want to. My four year old can operate my phone, voice activate search engines, knows what the symbols for youtube and prime are for the cartoons etc. Even with supervision, you look away for a moment and they can find or try to buy something you don't want them to!

I wish parental controls were easier and controlled more you have to go separately to the handset, provider account and each app. And even then can still get reset, so controls are removed.

My lose for no usage is drawn at eating. We do not use devices at the table at home or in public.

Tefiti2 · 25/02/2019 11:09

My 5yr old has his own “phone” - it’s just an old iPhone with no SIM card therefore no access to internet, calls etc. He uses it to pretend to make calls and take pictures of his toys, it’s just another part of imaginary play for him! Choosing when a child has a functioning phone is very individual- there is lots of peer pressure on kids, but I think if they really need one to keep in touch with parents it should be a cheap non smart phone - with strict controls in place.

biffyboom · 25/02/2019 14:22

My 5yr old has his own tablet, which has an antivirus on, as well as parental controls, and only has access to age appropriate apps like cbeebies, duplo, and educational apps suggested by school.
At the moment, due to my child age, we are not concerned about safety, but know that in the next 2 years we will need to do a lot of work around safety, as he learns to access more features and reading and writing skills increase.

showmewhatyougot · 25/02/2019 16:13

As a parent you know your child best, so only you will know when your child is ready for smart technology. Just because their friends have X does not mean that they will be ready.

A big part for me will be to teach my children how to be safe online, teaching them what dangers can be, and what not to click.

Lozzerbmc · 25/02/2019 18:00

I think it is up to adults to set a good example so children will follow. Ie. not using our devices too much, not to near bedtime etc.

Osquito · 25/02/2019 18:18

When do you think children should have access to mobile tech like smartphones and tablets? I feel children should probably be exposed to tablets before smartphones (merely because they seem to use tablets in school now), though with parents using their phones ‘24/7’ it is hard to get around that. I would like to say I’d only get my son a phone when he was old enough to walk out alone (eg to school) and would need a method of contact BUT I am aware that kids usually get one before that need actually rises... My son, now 4, was allowed an occasional supervised (brief) play on the iPad for a baby game from about age 1 but I still don’t let him use my phone for anything, while DP lets him watch YouTube/Netflix on his.
Do your children have their own devices, or do they use yours? DS, 4, doesn’t have a tablet or a phone. He asks to use my iPad or DPs phone. DSD, 11, has tablets at her mother’s and her own iPhone.
If your children are using smartphones or tablets what do they use them for? DS used the iPad for CBeebies (games and watching), a playschool app and the kids YouTube app. He watches Netflix or sometimes YouTube clips on DPs phone. DSD uses her phone for most of the social media channels (Instagram, snapchat, tiktok, musically etc) and Netflix. I should probably state her usage is not/can’t be controlled by me, I feel very differently to her parents on what kids should be allowed.
Have you spoken to your children about internet security measures? Have you downloaded antivirus software on to your devices? I have explained to my son (and shown him informative cartoons aimed at younger children) on internet safety, but very loosely... he doesn’t play any multiplayer games or use social media or the browsers, but when he does I will be monitoring it and discussing his usage with him more. We have discussed safety with DSD, and ask her what they teach about it at school. She also has a laptop that I personally set up with child-safety features, though doesn’t really use it. I have not downloaded any antivirus onto either the iPad or my phone.

treegone · 25/02/2019 20:28

It's hard to not use the technology now it's here. There are so many positive and useful aspects of having a smart phone.
So parents have to be the ones to make sure their children are safe. At first you can restrict and shield your children from things like social media and dodgy you tube but soon they will ask and find out for themselves. A well adjusted and educated young person will make better choices but of course that's not going to always protect them. And kids need to explore and see what their peers do. In short I think they should have phones when they are old enough to be going out alone whether that's to school or out with friends. Then I'd expect to have a certain amount of control over what they're allowed to have on there which would slowly taper off as they got older.


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TheGirlWithGlassFeet · 25/02/2019 22:18

It's a balance between giving children the ability to learn technology which will be a crucial skill for them and keeping them safe. Mine are only young but I worry about internet safety as I am not familiar with social media sites and internet dangers. I need to quickly learn so I can keep them safe.

TellMeItsNotTrue · 26/02/2019 00:08

In all honesty, I find it worrying

My DC now have their own tablets but they are the Amazon Fire Kids ones and I find the parental features really reassuring. They are only allowed to use them downstairs in a room with one of us at least popping in and out of.

I dread moving on to mobile phones because I don't think there is a kids starter phone out there like there is for tablets, they don't have the parental features and DC are more likely to be using it without supervision on the way home from school etc

Lalakels · 26/02/2019 04:24

I read a post on my community forum today about a local woman having young teenagers round her house to smoke weed. That type of threat existed when I was young and was my parents worst nightmare. Today I think I have it worse because of tech, but have I? I’m more aware of dangers. I have access to the hub of all risk by agreeing access to my daughters phone. She’s happy at home with me because her friends are in the same room via FT or similar. But she’s vulnerable to so much nastiness from strangers and evil folk. And school bullying doesn’t stop at 4 and rest til 9am. It’s a bloody minefield!

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