Children are naturally drawn to the bright and colorful screens of today's high-tech devices. But left unattended, they can change important settings, delete essential files, access questionable content, and even break the device. Here's how to kid-proof your gadgets.
Every digital device has its own systems and special considerations when it comes to parental controls and physical security. This device-by-device guide walks you through your technology arsenal and offers specific tips for securing each one.
If you have young children in the house, securing a TV so it doesn’t fall over should be the first step. Make sure any mounting—whether it’s on the wall or sitting on a stand—is secure, and use straps that connect to the wall as an extra measure against accidental bumps or grabs. (If you live in earthquake country, that’s a good idea even if you don’t have children.)
You can protect innocent eyes from adult-oriented content through the built-in parental controls of any Samsung Smart TV. Visit the System > Security menu to access these options. Here, you can block programs based on the show’s rating (TV-PG or lower, for example) or the content of the program (such as blocking all violence and adult language). You set and enter a PIN code to watch blocked programs once the kids are in bed, and you can block certain sites and ads in your TV’s built-in web browser, too. Remember to keep all your passwords secret—including the one for your master Samsung Account, which is used to download apps.
Some A/V cabinets include glass doors, which can be locked—a good safeguard if your children are especially prone to exploration.
Most optical players include a basic parental control system that lets you restrict content playback based on its rating. Visit the Security menu under System to set allowable ratings for Blu-ray discs and DVDs. This can be overridden as needed by entering your four-digit PIN.
A sturdy case is a must if children are allowed to play with your phone or have their own cell phone or media player. Protective plastic overlays can also be applied to the screen if you are concerned about scratches.
Most of the rules that apply to smartphones apply to tablets as well, but because these devices are heavier than phones and more likely to be dropped, a sturdy case is even more important.
Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab 3 have the same security capabilities as Android phones, and there are plenty of third-party parental control apps available as well. Be sure to use a password, and don’t write it on a sticky note they’re liable to see.
Young kids may attempt to pick up a desktop PC, so keep it out of reach or use a cable lock to secure it to something sturdy. Use even more stringent rules when laptops are involved.
Kids may see you using a laptop on your legs and try to imitate that, but their smaller bodies and lack of balance can quickly send a precariously positioned laptop tumbling to the floor. Insist that they use a laptop on a stable surface like a table or desk, and ban food and drink within five feet of the device. If the laptop has to be moved, make sure you’re the one to move it.
Windows®-based computers have ample parental control systems. Start by setting up two accounts–an Administrator-level account for yourself (protected with a strong password) and a restricted, user-level account for the kids. They won’t be able to install software or change key settings by default, but you’ll be able to manage the computer by simply logging in with your account. A parental control system that lets you monitor what applications and websites your kids are using is built in to Windows (check the User Accounts Control Panel). If you want even greater insight into what websites your children are visiting, download a third-party security app.
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