Buying Tech for Kids this Black Friday? Think Safety First!

Are you planning on buying technology for your kids this Black Friday? Here are some tips to bear in mind before you make a purchase. Digital devices can be a great gift but it’s important to always be conscious of the age appropriateness of such a device and also the messages you need to be communicating with your child about staying safe online.

  • Take into account what age the child you are buying for is and indeed the other children that may also have access to this technology. Remember the age rating on a game is the minimum age that that game is aimed at. It’s absolutely natural for younger siblings to be curious of what their older siblings may be allowed to have technology wise, so having regular conversations about staying safe online is a great way to make kids of all ages aware of the potential dangers they may encounter when they are online.
  • Make sure you check how easy it is to activate and monitor the safety settings on any device you purchase. While safety settings are never a 100% guarantee of safety, they are certainly a step in the right direction.
  • Do your own research in advance of shopping: It’s easy to get carried away in the moment in when it comes to the sales…we’ve all been there! But do try to create a list and stick to it. There is usually so much information online about the specs regarding technology that it is a lot easier to do your research in advance and know exactly what you are looking for.
  • Regardless of the type of technology you may buy, regularly remind your child of the importance of and need for face to face communication as opposed to online messaging and spending time in front of a screen! It’s all about balance when it comes to the use of tech!
  • For older children and teens remind them that if they are using messaging apps on any new devices to only message their friends, people they know and have met, encourage them to exercise the same level of caution when they are online as they would when they are offline.
  • A growing number of devices include what is known as a digital assistant. The most commonly known of these is Siri. It’s a good idea to make sure these are turned off when your child is using a digital device.

No matter what the technology is in your home there is no substitute for face to face communication about the importance of staying safe when it comes to using tech.