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I do it. I bet you do it too. It’s too easy not to. How many times have you handed over your smart phone to a whiny little one, to entertain and quiet them? It’s great! But what’s not great is when your well-meaning child ends up damaging your expensive distraction device, or costing you 50x their allowance in in-app purchases! Read on for important tips on how to “kid-proof” your smart phone!
Tip #1: Spend less on your smart phone
Did you know that you can get a fully-functioning smart phone for under $100? Well you can, and I did! We bought the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit at Walmart for only $98.88, and I love it! It’s lightweight, super customizable (you can hide unwanted apps- who knew?!), and attractive, with a sleek design. The plans available with Walmart Family Mobile are very affordable, with options such as no contract and unlimited talk, text, and data/web.
There are lots of ways to protect your phone, but paying less to begin with is a smart option! Did you get a tax return this year? Why not treat yourself to a new phone? Walmart has a great variety of smart phones under $100.
Tip #2: Buy them their own
Don’t want your kids ruining your phone? Buy them their own! This tip isn’t for everyone, but it may be a great option for some. Maybe you want to buy yourself a nice new phone, and let them have your old one. In our case, we bought the Exhibit for my 5-year-old. He only gets to use it when we say it’s okay, but he likes having a phone that’s “his,” and it’s helpful for us to have an additional device.
Tip #3: Case it up
This is a no-brainer, but find a great case if your little one is going to be using your phone a lot. There are a lot of options out there, and you do not have to pay a lot to get a great case. I got a bright green one for our Samsung Exhibit; I thought Carter would like the color, and it’s a sturdy case that will protect the phone from any drops. Bonus, it has a cool kickstand so the phone can stand up vertically or horizontally!
Tip #4: Use a screen protector
Get a screen protector made for your specific phone, and slap it on! Most cell phone retailers will even put it on for you, if you’d like. The screen protectors are barely visible, but they’ll protect your screen from scratches and, you know, jelly…pasta sauce…and the unknown substances that find their way onto your children’s hands. I find that baby wipes do a pretty good job of cleaning up my phone, but you can always replace your screen protector if the kids really mess it up.
Tip #5: Know your settings and set them
Every phone is different, but take the time to go through all the settings on your smart phone and make sure that you have any important protections turned on. Turn off the ability to make in-app purchases, or you may get a little (big) surprise on your credit card statement! It’s also wise to turn off location services, and you may want to disable apps such as YouTube and Safari.
Tip #6: Try out some kid-friendly apps
There are a number of apps out there that help to control your child’s usage of your smart phone.
K9 Web Protection Browser is the popular internet filter in the form of a browser app. Disable Safari, install K9, and your child’s web surfing will be limited to appropriate sites only.
Kytephone Child Mode
Kytephone turns your Android phone into a safe kid’s phone by giving them their own interface, which can block calls, limit game playing time, provide you with their location, and more. It only shows them the apps they are allowed to use, and you can track all of their activity.
Kytephone Parent Mode
Care4teen is a great option for older kids. Parents can log in to an account on the website to view reports on their child’s activity: sites visited, applications opened, their location, and texts sent and received.
So those are my tips for kid-proofing your phone, physically, virtually, and financially!
And again, if you are in search of a low-cost smart phone and the cheapest wireless plans, look no further than Walmart Family Mobile. With their variety of options, they are sure to have you covered!