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Getting smarter than your smartphone: a guide to smartphone safety

Dec. 11, 2018 - Smartphones make our everyday lives easier -- they're quick in telling your friends you're running late, they let you share pictures from Thanksgiving with your loved ones in a different state and they let you know to make a right turn in 500 feet. These features that make our days less of a hassle are the same ones that may be putting your child at risk.

The Parent Academy at Duval County Public Schools has partnered with the FBI in providing a crash course in smartphone safety for parents and guardians. The hour and a half course covers the potential risks children and teens are exposed to when using a smartphone, and different methods you can use to fight off the potential dangers.

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shared with us five ways you can be smarter than your child's smartphone.

  • Be a parent and a resource. Always have open communication with your child. Establish guidelines with them by setting time limits for phone use and letting them know there are consequences for inappropriate online behavior.

  • Set up password protection. Using password protection ensures only you and those you share your password with, like your child or significant other, will be able to see your personal information. Without password protection, the personal information you put into a website is at risk of being stolen.

  • Update the operating system. In keeping your smartphone up-to-date, it will have the latest security features. Smartphone updates often fix glitches that may happen on your phone that put your personal information at risk of being stolen.

  • Approve apps before they are downloaded. Have your child come to you before downloading a new app. Make sure you completely understand and are OK with what the app is and how it is used before letting your child download it.

  • Understand location services. GPS and location services are very useful when in need of directions, but these services can also put your child at risk of sharing their exact location to millions of internet users. Make sure your child does not tag their location when they go to post something online.

Classes offered by the Parent Academy range from smartphone safety and creating safe spaces, to learning grade-level milestones and how to approach a parent-teacher conference. Visit the Parent Academy's website to register in advance and to view available free courses.


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