If there's a new phone or gadget on your wishlist this year, you might not be the only one getting a new toy. In a survey of parents of 2- to 10-year-olds, PBS KIDS found that nearly 25 percent of parents will pass their used mobile phones and computers to their kids when they get new ones for themselves. Computers (54 percent) and mobile devices (38 percent) will be the most passed down. Sharing technology can provide great learning opportunities for children through mobile apps and online games and there are simple steps parents can take to make their hand-me-down phones and computers kid-ready.
PBS has put together these tips for parents who plan to share the gift of technology with their kids this holiday season, to help them prepare devices for their kids:
1. Sweep it: All devices should be cleaned of any content including personal files, credit card information, etc. before handing down to kids. Parents should swipe all their browser "cookies" and perform an application sweep.
2. Secure it: There are parental controls on most tech devices that can turn certain features on and off. Settings on the iPhone, for example, that can be restricted include explicit song titles, Internet browser, YouTube, iTunes and the camera.
3. Set limits: As with any new toy, parents should set expectations and limitations with their kids when the device is handed down, and should encourage other forms of learning and play beyond the screen.
4. Find the right apps for your child: A good app is the perfect combination of education and entertainment, and should be appropriate for your child's age and stage of development.
5. Avoid apps that try to sell: Apps labeled "lite" or "free" often attempt to make money by trying to sell virtual items while a child is playing a game, or link to another related app that requires payment to download. Select apps from trusted, reliable sources, and make sure that they are not trying to market to your child.
More helpful tips are available online at PBSParents.org.