How to childproof your smartphone

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SEATTLE — Apple is refunding more than $32.5 million dollars to parents whose children bought apps and made in-app purchases without their knowledge

The Federal Trade Commission is fining apple for a function that many parents may not know is on their phones right now – so how do parents avoid this kind of an inconvenient and costly headache?

Here are a few tips you can use right now to help child proof your smartphone.

  1. Change your passcode settings

File Photo

What got these parents in trouble was that they had their passcode set to expire every 15 minutes, so the phone would remain unlocked for 15 minutes after the passcode was entered. Iphone also has a great function called “restrictions” you can enable restrictions for iTunes or in-app purchases to name a few.

Android users have a number of lock screen options from pattern unlock, pin numbers, and even password protection. Here too you can change how quickly the lock is automatically applied.

  1. Enable restrictive viewing

Windows Phone 8 has a built in option for parents called Kid’s Corner. When you enable Kids Corner, the child user has their own start screen and customizable options. You can share apps, videos, games, and music with your kid as well. They only see the stuff you want to share.

  1. Download “black list” apps

Lastly you can download “blacklist” apps – apps that prevent people from seeing certain aspects of your phone- a great app for this is the kid place – parental control app. It stops your kids from downloading new apps, making phone calls, texting, basically anything that could cost you money. It’s also got a couple convenience factors for parents, if your child gets a hold of your phone and accidently turns off an app, kid place will automatically open it back up, plus you can set time limits on smartphone usage. It’s available on the Google Play store and the amazon app store and its free.

Rounding out the app offering is app-lock which is hugely popular with more than 30 million users around the world. Whether you want to lock select texts, pictures, videos, email accounts, calls, or apps like Facebook, Instagram or Snap hat this app will let you do it. You select what you want blocked on your phone and this app puts it on a “blacklist”.

It’s always a good idea to secure your smartphone – kids are one thing but think about how many celeb selfies we could have been spared from seeing if they had simply secured their smartphones?

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