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Keeping Kids Safe: Tech Safety Tips That Every Parent Should Know

The advent of the internet is a wondrous thing. To have the answers to anything you ask at the tip of your fingers makes life so much easier, how anyone got through an entire movie without knowing where they had seen the lead actor before beggars belief. But with this power comes great responsibility. Children spend on average six and half hours every day looking at some sort of screen. That doesn’t leave much time for imaginative play. The reality is that devices have a prominent place in our lives. When used properly, they can help people parent and can also provide kids the freedom to explore their own interests. The key is to ensure that the technology in our homes is safe and properly managed by parents and children. 

Buy branded chargers and cables

Chargers that aren’t branded pose a serious risk to the safety of those using them. Many children these days confidently handle chargers themselves, placing them into plugs and unplugging them too. The Consumer Protection Partnership collaborated with Trading Standards to run safety tests on counterfeit chargers bought online from different suppliers around the world. Of the 400 chargers tested, 397 failed basic safety tests. That’s more than 99%! Branded chargers and cables are designed to moderate the amperage and voltage that goes into your device. Counterfeit chargers and cables do not always have this clearly stated on them; and if they do, they can’t be taken at face value. Fake chargers and cables are made using poor quality components that can spark when unplugged. These can also cause power overloads in your device, putting your home and the lives of your loved ones at serious risk of fire and electric shocks.

They also waste more energy when not in use when left plugged in on standby. The amount of “vampire power” a charger uses when left plugged in for an entire year without charging a device, only amounts to a few pence worth of power. But if you imagine this multiplied by the millions of chargers left plugged in across the country, it’s a serious amount of energy wasted. Therefore, it’s better for the safety of your kids and the environment to keep them unplugged. 

Be sure of battery safety

The majority of batteries in devices like laptops, tablets, and phones; are known as Lithium-ion batteries. This is because they contain a form of lithium liquid, which surrounds a metal coil used to supply your device with power. As lots of children are spending long periods of time on their devices, batteries can overheat and cause the flammable lithium liquid within to ignite. If this happens it can seriously burn anyone nearby. To avoid this danger, it is recommended that you only charge devices and laptops between 40 to 80 percent of their battery power. Following this advice also encourages children to take regular breaks from their devices. 

Understanding parental controls

When it comes to setting up parental controls on your children’s devices, or devices which they have access too, it can be a bit of a minefield. If you have set up parental controls for the internet, you should also check that these have been implemented in your apps too. YouTube and Google both have different settings for accessing age-appropriate material. As children become more tech-savvy, you should also be aware that they may try to sign out of their parent monitored account, and log into your own account which may still have access to anything on the internet or in the app store. Don’t keep your passwords saved on your devices, and set up blocks so that they cannot simply create another account to get around your settings.

You can safeguard your family and home from the risks of technology by teaching your children these safety tips. Educate them to use only genuine branded goods, keep chargers unplugged when not in use, and give batteries regular breaks. Not only will these help your family stay safe, they will also give you all a reason to spend less time staring at a screen.

Vicky is a single mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. You can find her blogging, business and social media tips at VickyCharles.com.

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