Smartphones dominate the way we communicate in this day and age and its not limited adults, children are increasingly adopting smartphones and the age at which they’re beginning to own them is decreasing. Research has fund that 68% of Aussie children aged 12 to 17 now own a smartphone, with the average screen time amongst these young smartphone owners is 3.1 hours per day on any number of services, essentially unsupervised. Telstra is looking at helping their customers gain some peace of mind to help manage childrens smartphone use through a free-to-access mobile service that lets parents tailor a mobile phone or tablet service to the needs and maturity of their children.
The service, called Telstra Mobile Protect, aims to help improve security along with ensure parents and their children understand and manage safe uses of their smartphone along with ensuring parents are able set healthy boundaries for their children’s smartphone screen time.
Shelly Gorr, Cyber Safety Manager at Telstra said Telstra Mobile Protect has said “We know mobiles provide an important way for parents to keep in touch with their children and, for kids to gain greater independence. However, we also know that they bring challenges. Telstra Mobile Protect helps parents confidently support and protect their kids as they explore the digital world,” and that “Using Mobile Protect, parents can agree limits with their kids and schedule online access so they have distraction-free homework periods and internet-free bedtimes.”
Telstra has said that the Mobile Protect Plan will work through an easy-to-use web portal where parents can:
- Block unwanted calls or callers, texts or texters made over the Telstra Mobile Network – Manage a list of numbers kids can call, text or be called and text by on their phone.
- Set up a safe list of numbers and websites – Choose numbers that can always be accessed.
- Manage the time kids can spend online and making calls – Place time-of-day limits on web browsing and phone calls.
- Choose the mobile web content which can be accessed – Mobile Protect allows parents to select internet browsing profiles that are tailored for young children and teens that permit some sites, while blocking adult-oriented content.
There is also an agreement that basically outlines how parents and their children will stay happy and safe when using their smartphones which Gorr has said that “We’ve created the agreement so parents can sit down with their kids and discuss how they can stay happy and safe when using a mobile. It outlines some basic ground rules for kids to follow, but also includes rules for parents,”.
To access and add the Mobile Protect Plan to their kids’ Telstra eligible mobile phone service, Telstra customers can head to www.telstra.com/telstraprotect. You can also download the ‘My First Mobile Agreement’ by heading to www.telstra.com/mobileagreement or you can download the PDF version via the link here.
If your not a Telstra customer, you can also take advice from Telstra’s parenting tips for the digital age which are below:
1. Stay involved
Talk with your kids about their digital lives, create conversations and stay involved. Assure children that their internet privileges won’t be taken away if they are exposed to content that makes them feel uncomfortable or concerned.
2. Educate yourself
Ask your children how they use technology and try it for yourself – try playing a game or uploading a video
3. Set ground rules and agree limits
Explain the rules of responsible device ownership (such as care of equipment, staying within data limits) and help your children create a media use roster, allocating blocks of time for homework, chores and their screen time.
4. Keep it personal
Talk to your children about the value of personal information, what it is and why it’s important to be careful sharing it. Encourage children to ‘think before they click’, to think about content and the consequences of posting.
5. Be an offline supporter
Encourage kids to have some screen-free time each day and turn off devices before bedtime.
6. Do unto others
Teach kids to treat others the same way they’d like to be treated online and be zero-tolerant to rude or mean online behaviour.
7. Make the most of parental controls
Consider parental controls to help manage children’s digital activity and restrict access to sites with adult content. For Telstra products and services, we recommend Telstra Mobile Protect for mobile devices and Telstra Online Security for your home network.
8. Role model it
Don’t just talk about the right thing to do, be a role model with your own digital habits.