Lyca Mobile: Mobile Phone Safety Guide for Parents 

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Launched in 2006, Lyca Mobile was founded with the mission of connecting people across the world at affordable prices. The largest mobile virtual network operator globally, Lycatel connects more than 16 million service users, with a new customer joining every two seconds. 

This article will analyze the ever-increasing use of mobile phones and digital devices by children, providing pointers on measures parents can take to keep children safe online. 

Smartphone use has become prolific in the modern world and an integral part of daily life for many people, including children. While the use of digital devices by toddlers and younger children is highly debated, most parents agree that mobile devices are also beneficial in terms of creating immersive educational experiences and helping children boost their learning power. Nevertheless, whether for learning or entertainment purposes, the use of smartphones and other digital devices by children does require a deeper look.  

Mobile technology, a relatively new innovation, has left parents without guidelines or precedence for appropriate usage and rules. As a result, many parents find themselves floundering in terms of establishing basic ground rules and accessing reliable resources to keep their children safe online. 

Parents may be led by their own personal beliefs in terms of creating specific rules regarding device usage. However, there are some basic precautions that parents can take to protect their child’s safety while using digital devices. 

Although apps for smartphones and tablets can be powerful educational tools, they also present certain risks. First, they should not be used constantly. As with other forms of technology, such as television, parents should monitor the amount of time their children spend on mobile devices. Children who spend extended amounts of time watching television or using mobile devices face an increased risk of several health complications, including attention deficit disorders and obesity. This is because children are generally sitting still and being exposed to constant entertainment while in front of screens.  

Without constant entertainment, children who are used to mobile devices can become bored very quickly, impacting their ability to learn as well as play. Most pediatricians recommend that children aged 12 or younger should be limited to just one or two hours of video games, television, or mobile device use per day. However, this is merely a guideline, and parents should responsibly decide for themselves the level of use they feel comfortable with based on a combination of factors, including the child’s physical activity level and age. 

Having established time limits and rules about mobile device use, parents should next look at the parental control options built into the mobile devices. Most grant the ability to block inappropriate information, images, videos, and games from appearing on websites, app stores, or search engines. Although these steps will help to prevent a great deal of inappropriate content, it is important for parents to be aware that there are sometimes advertisements within apps that do not adhere to parental control guidelines. Parents need more awareness about testing and exploring these apps themselves. 

According to a survey from Tutorful, 90% of 12-to-15-year-olds in the UK use a mobile phone regularly. Phones provide them with information on the go, as well as enabling them to keep in contact with family and friends and providing different forms of entertainment. Nevertheless, a lack of awareness of best mobile phone practices combined with peer pressure can lead children to make poor choices while online or find themselves on the receiving end of bad behavior online. 

Risks associated with children using mobile devices include addiction to mobiles, cyberbullying, accessing inappropriate material, making in-app purchases, sharing personal information, sexting, and phone overuse or inappropriate use. 

Mobile network operators have certain responsibilities when it comes to protecting minors and keeping them safe online. For example, in the United Kingdom, all mobile operators are required by law to block inappropriate internet content from phones used by children. Parents may need to contact customer services to request this, and they should keep in mind that blocking is not foolproof, with some sites potentially still slipping through the safety net. When a child does encounter an inappropriate site, the parent should report this to their network operator so that they can block it. 

In terms of keeping children safe online, prevention is better than cure. Parental controls can go a long way towards blocking inappropriate content, but parents also need to be aware and create awareness of the consequences. 

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