It’s the last thing parents want to think about during the holiday season – violence against children. However, SM@RT Connections asks all parents to set aside 10 minutes from their busy schedules to learn how they can set-up devices they plan to give children this season in order to protect them from those that mean to harm them while also setting up reasonable, age-appropriate restrictions.

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, The average American shopper spends $377-$978 during the holiday season, which a large share of that spending dedicated to technology purchases. And, if you’re like many parents, the rapid speed of tech gadgets out there quickly surpass our ability to familiarize ourselves with them. Whether we admit it or not, oftentimes familiarity of the tech gadgets we buy are a large reason why we as parents are intimidated by them and therefore don’t put parental controls in place before we gift items to our children.

Here are tips to set-up tech gadgets this season:

SET-UP THE TECH GADGET

Before wrapping it up, unpack the gadget and turn it on. Spend time familiarizing yourself with the device and do the initial set-up, which often is automated when you start the device and contains simple 1, 2, 3 set-up options.

ENSURE PARENTAL CONTROL ARE ON

Nearly all tech gadgets have access to the internet, which means your child will have access to the internet world and vice versa. Look through the owner’s manual and walk yourself through a step-by-step parental control set-up. Typically all devices allow for restrictive time of use, access to internet and more. For easy-to-use details on how to set-up initial parental controls on SmartPhones, iPads, gaming devices, computers and more, click this link.

TALK WITH YOUR CHILD

Discuss what expectations you have and what you consider misuse when your child uses their new tech gift. Also remember to have fun and discuss what apps they like and join in on the fun with them. This not only keeps a line of communication open, but provides you the opportunity to help protect them.

TAKE 25

As our children grow into their independence there are things we can do to help protect them from online predators, and sometimes, themselves as they are still young and growing. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Take 25 site provides parents with age appropriate resources to help you talk with your children about online safety in 25 minutes. This resource is recommended to all parents who have children accessing the Internet, whether by computers, SmartPhones, digital cameras and more.

Education for parents and children help us all become good digital citizens and reduce the dangers associated with Internet crimes, including sexting. For more information and resources, visit SM@RTConnections. Or, follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep informed.