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Six tips for parents of kids with cellphones

Posted by Kristi Palma  August 26, 2013 11:24 AM

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Parents across the country are buying kids cellphones and other devices before they go back to school.

But parents should do more than just buy the device and hand it over, says Linda Criddle, an Internet security expert, in this Fox News report.

Here are six things parents should do, according to Criddle:

* Make sure security and privacy protections are enabled on the device
* Make sure there is security software on the device
* Go through the services your kids use (like Facebook) and make sure the security settings and privacy protections are in place
* Make sure your child understands that leaving a device unattended means it may be stolen
* Choose strong passwords
* Set expectations for social accountability

"That device is a powerful thing," said Criddle. "And it comes with serious responsibilities that so many parents forget to talk about."

Make it clear to your kids that you may ask for a "sit down" at any time, Criddle advises. This means checking in with your child periodically to see what steps he or she is taking to remain safe and protected. If your child gets defensive, it may be time to have a look at what's on the device, she said.

Do you take precautions before handing over a new device? Do you have tips for other parents?

Want more advice about kids and online privacy issues?

Check out this recent post from our MD Mama blogger Dr. Claire McCarthy: Teens and online privacy: what should parents do?

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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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