Smart home technology can definitely make your life easier. Smart home devices are now hitting price points that families can afford. But all that added tech could also pose safety issues for your kids. Luckily, there are a few simple steps to ensure you keep your home safe for your family while also adding the latest technology to your house. Here’s how to make your smart home safer for your kids.
How to Make Your Smart Home Safer for Your Kids
Use the Tech Together
One of the best ways to ensure your kids use smart home devices safely is to use the technology together. There are many fun educational uses for Google Home and Alexa smart speakers that can bring the entire family together. In addition to providing a model for your kids, using the technology together will also allow you to teach them the right and wrong ways to use the device.
Watching your children interact with the smart devices in your home can also be enlightening. If you notice them doing something unsafe, consult the user manual of your device to find out if features can be blocked to increase the chances your kids will use them safely.
If your children have their own smart devices, from an Amazon Echo in their room to a smart watch they wear every day, be sure to monitor their activity on a regular basis. Most smart devices have an online log that will allow you to check the activity associated with that device. Your child’s Amazon Echo activity, for example, can be viewed in the Alexa app on your phone if the device is connected to your account.
Do Your Research
Before adding any new smart technology to your home, it’s important to do your research on the product. Look into all the available features for the device to make sure the smart tech isn’t introducing an element to your home that could pose a risk for your family.
Keep an eye out for devices that have external microphones or cameras that aren’t necessary. If you love a device that has a feature you’re not so excited about, find out if you can disable that feature. Many smart televisions with out-facing cameras, for example, offer a way to disable the camera when not in use. You can also disable the ACR (automatic content recognition) so data on your family’s viewing habits aren’t transmitted to the TV maker.
Use Safe Internet Practices
While teaching your kids about internet safety is important, you should also practice what you preach. Keep your smart home safe by enacting the principles of internet safety on all wi-fi connected devices. That means using multiple passwords for different devices and enforcing authentication requirements on all devices which offer that security measure. These measures will make it a little more difficult for hackers to infiltrate your smart home system.
Limit Screen Time
Screens are an ever-present element in our kids’ lives, especially if you have a smart home. And while this technology can be convenient and entertaining, it can also cause issues in children. To ensure your children aren’t over-using smart technology, clearly set limits for their usage. And work with your children to balance the use of technology with non-tech activities, like playing outdoors or enjoying a board game together as a family.
We know how important it is to limit our kids’ screen time, but keeping track of how long and who can use which device can easily get confusing. There are several apps available that allow parents to easily set and track time limits for televisions and other electronics. Some of these apps will even allow you to turn off the device remotely when your kids’ time limit is up.
Use Smart Technology to Your Advantage
While some smart technology can pose risks for kids, there are a variety of devices that can increase the safety of your family while they’re at home. A smart modem, for example, will help you easily monitor your kids’ internet activity. In addition to seeing where they spend their time and how long their eyes are on a screen each day, you can also set connectivity limits for devices and turn off their connection when their time is up.
Smart technology can also help you and your family handle everyday tasks that will make your home safer. With a smart lock, you can lock and unlock your door even when you’re not at home. That means you can make sure your door is locked while the babysitter stays with your kids on date night. Or you can unlock the door for your teen when they forget their keys while you’re at work.
Another great device that will make your home safer for your kids is a smart doorbell. This handy tech will allow you to view who’s at your door without getting up from the couch. You can speak with strangers over an exterior speaker, so you and your kids won’t have to answer the door if you feel unsafe.
Smart technology can also help monitor your kids’ health and location, ensuring they’re healthy and safe all the time. From smart baby monitors to wearable heart monitors, smart tech is a great way to keep an eye on your kids at all times. And even when your kids are out of your sight, smart technology can give you peace of mind. Wearable GPS monitors are great for keeping track of your children when they’re away from home. Or you could make use of Geofencing to ensure your kids are safe when they play outside.