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If you have children between, say, the ages of five and 12, and you’ve not yet caved into their constant requests for a phone of their own, you’re stronger than many of us. But you might have just come up for an upgrade, or been given a shiny new phone for Christmas – which means you could give your kids your current or old device. It’s a cost-effective way to give them what they want, but before you do, make sure you do these 6 things – to protect both you and your kids.

1. Backup your data

You don’t want to lose all your precious photos, music or videos stored to your phone’s internal memory, do you?

  • iOS: Many iOS users enjoy the simplicity of backing their device up onto iCloud. If you have never turned iCloud on before, now is the time. Connect to a Wi-Fi network, go to Settings -> iCloud -> Backup and make sure iCloud Backup is turned on (with the button slid to the left against a green background). Tap Backup Now, and stay connected to Wi-Fi until you’re finished.
  • Android: You can choose to let Google automatically backup your settings (such as Wi-Fi preferences and bookmarks) using your Google account. You can activate this automatic sync by going to Settings -> Personal -> Backup & Reset. From there, the process differs from phone to phone, but it’s very straightforward. For pictures, videos and music, Google apps like Google Music and Google Photos are free to download, as is DropBox, and they will automatically backup your tunes and your images to the cloud as you’re using your phone. If you haven’t set these up, you could manually back everything up by connecting your phone to your PC by USB, and dragging your folders to your desktop or into a My Documents folder. This may put your mind at ease, because you’ll be able to see exactly what is transferring.

One thing many of us don’t think about is backing up our WhatsApp chat history, but it’s a real pain to lose your messages. To save your chat history, though, you can go to Options -> Chat history -> Backup chat history in the app. When you insert your SIM and SD card into your new phone, you will be prompted to import your backup. If you don’t have an SD card, you will need to copy the whole ‘wa’ folder from your old phone’s memory to your new one. Read more

2. Remove SIM and SD cards

If your device has a removable cover, you’ll see the SIM card and SD card clearly once you’ve removed the back cover. However, many phones these days have seamless covers that are not removable, and you’ll need to use the tool that came with your phone to slide out the SIM and SD card trays. If you’ve lost the little gadget, not to worry – a pin or paperclip will work just as well.

If you want to leave the SD card in the phone for your kids to use, make sure to encrypt it (see step 4 – only applicable to Android phones).

3. Sign out of apps

Go into each social media app on your phone individually and sign out of them. Don’t forget to sign out of your email service as well.

On iOS, sign out of iMessage as well as Apple ID (you can do this by going to Settings -> iTunes & App Store -> tap your Apple ID email address and then Sign Out. You’ll also want to turn off Find My iPhone.

4. Encrypt your data

This is so that your kids can’t get their hands on your documents, photos and other personal contents that you had on your phone. You may trust your kids with your stuff, but what if the phone is stolen from them? You don’t want all your personal data getting into the wrong hands.

The encryption process differs from one OS to another. For example, iOS has automatic hardware encryption (made possible by a dedicated co-processor only found in Apple phones), so when you ‘erase’ the device, your data is almost impossible to recover. But do make sure to sign out of iCloud before you move onto the next step!

For Android phones, you’ll need to perform a manual encryption – which is a way of scrambling your data so it’s extremely difficult to retrieve.

  • iOS: Make sure to sign out of iCloud before you wipe or ‘erase’ your device, otherwise you’ll delete it from iCloud as well. Go to Settings, -> iCloud -> Sign Out -> Delete from my iPhone -> Enter your password.
  • Android: Go to Settings -> Security -> Encrypt phone. You’ll also have the option of encrypting your SD card if you plan to give that to your kids along with the phone. Then disable the Reactivation lock by going to Settings -> Security -> then uncheck Reactivation lock.

5. ‘Erase’ or wipe your device

On Android phones, there’s the option to Restore Factory Settings, which you should only do once you’ve encrypted your device, because it’s been found to be pretty ineffective at removing all your data. Once you’ve encrypted, go to Settings -> Backup & Reset -> and then tap Reset phone.

On iOS, you have the functionality to ‘erase’ your device (remember, your device is automatically encrypted). Go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all contents and settings. Enter your password and then hit Erase.

6. Install an app to monitor and control your kids’ usage

Now that you’ve restored your phone to its out-of-the-box condition, once you’ve inserted your child’s SIM and SD card, you can install some apps that let tech-savvy parents restrict and monitor their children’s online interactions.

  • Vodafone Guardian: One of the most complete solutions for parental control, this app allows you to block contacts so your child won’t be a victim of cyberbullying; to restrict outgoing calls to specific contacts; and to specify times at which your child can use the camera, make calls, go onto the internet, use apps and receive calls.
  • MMGuardian Parent: This app not only lets you monitor your child’s use of apps and the internet, plus their texts and calls, it also allows you to lock and unlock their phone, and to find their phone’s location, with regular updates. It’s available for Android and iOS phones.
  • Our Pact: This parental control app lets parents block their children’s internet, block their apps, schedule use of the internet and apps using custom schedules, manage device access to the internet and to block distracting third-party apps such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. You can do all of this remotely from any other device. It’s available for iOS and Android.
  • ParentKit: This iOS app works similarly to MMGuardian Parent and Our Pact, allowing you to monitor and schedule your child’s app and internet time.
  • Kids Zone Parental Controls: This app for Android lets you set a profile for your child on their phone, and then to lock the profile, so they will only be able to access the apps you have selected.

Note that while these apps may be free to download, the data to do so is not. Log in to My Vodacom to buy data bundles simply and affordably » 

If you’d prefer to buy your kids a phone of their own, brand-new and out of the box, shop our amazing Summer Deals on Vodacom Online »  

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