Until they reach a certain age, children have poor strength and limited dexterity in their little hands. Combined with the fact that they have yet to develop a concept of money, they don’t know—nor care—that the thing they are holding is expensive. So, when you give them access to electronics like smartphones, tablets, TVs, and laptops at a young age, you should probably expect something to break sooner or later.
But while children are very accident-prone when using electronics, there are a lot of ways to kid-proof your expensive gadgets before handing them to your little ones.
1. Install protective equipment
No matter how much you tell your child to be careful when handling your phone or tablet, there is always a risk of them dropping the gadget on the floor or worse—into the toilet. It’s not a mere case of butterfingers; children have small hands with insufficient dexterity, and most smartphones are not built for tiny hands.
That said, you can’t do anything to prevent your child from dropping electronics. What you can do is install protective equipment on your phones, tablets, and laptops so that if your child does drop it, your gadget will receive as little damage as possible. So, before handing your child your phone or tablet, make sure that it is equipped with a sturdy case and a screen protector at the very least. Visit your local cell phone repair shop to install a screen protector and perhaps a tracking tag as well.
2. Set specific rules
If you are going to let your child use your devices, you are responsible for what happens to them while they’re in your child’s hands. With that in mind, be sure to set clear rules to protect your expensive electronics, such as:
- Gadgets can never go into the bathroom, near the pool, or any other source of water
- Kids are not allowed to roughhouse anywhere near electronics, much less while using them
- Gadgets must not be left on the floor or anywhere unsafe
- Children must ask for permission every time they use a gadget
- No gadgets while eating
Not only will these rules help protect your devices from untoward harm, but they can also help your children develop discipline when it comes to gadget use. As they grow up, they will learn how to handle electronics with care, which they can then carry on when they have their own gadgets.
3. Invest in mounts
For many parents, the best way to entertain their kids in the car is by handing them the phone or iPad so that they can watch something instead of having a full-blown meltdown. However, it’s way too easy to drop a gadget in a moving car, as well as spill food or drinks on it.
An excellent way to avoid accidents during car rides is to invest in a car mount. These inexpensive accessories attach to the back of the front seats and keep gadgets out of your children’s hands. This way, you can rest assured your child won’t drop your device, spill their drink on it, or smear food on the screen while they use it in the car.
4. Know when to say no
When you’re exhausted or distracted and your child is demanding your phone, it can be all too tempting to just give them what they want. But if you’re walking in public, near a body of water, or in any situation that puts your gadgets at greater risk if they are in your child’s hands, know when to say ‘no.’
Your child may complain or worse—throw a tantrum—but it’s a small price to pay compared to spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new gadget if your child manages to damage it.
5. Set up parental controls
Parental controls block malware, sensitive content, and other things that your kids shouldn’t be seeing on the Internet. They also help you prevent accidental charges to your credit cards when your child manages to go on a shopping app or tries to make in-app purchases. Before allowing your child access to your devices, be sure that parental controls are turned on first. Better yet, turn off buying options manually to prevent in-app purchases, especially on games that your child loves to use.
With these tips, you can help keep your devices safe in the hands of curious and energetic children. However, do know that if you allow your child access to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer, there is always a risk of them causing some damage, accidentally deleting something, or buying something online—so, always tread carefully.