Setting smartphones safely for children and young people

The topic of security with regard to the use of a smartphone has many facets. On the one hand, there are the various security settings that can be made on the device itself. On the other hand, the smartphone can also be protected by means of apps.

Easily secured from access

Smartphones are small computers. Just as you back up your computer at home, your child's smartphone should also be backed up. To do this, you and your child should look at the backup settings of the smartphone together and set them up together. For Android devices, among other things, a virus scanner  should be installed. This also includes protecting the smartphone from unauthorized access, preferably by PIN or password and screen lock . A good password is more secure than a PIN consisting only of numbers. However, the best password is no use if you can't remember it. Especially with younger children, you should think about the password together. In order to remember the password better, a mnemonic sentence can be thought of, which is then abbreviated. It is important that the sentence contains upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. In addition,&passwords should bechanged regularly.

Some devices also allow unlocking via a previously defined pattern, via a fingerprint scan or by scanning facial features. & nbsp;A pattern is more insecure compared to PIN or password. & nbsp;Among other things, it has the disadvantage that fingerprints can leave visible traces on the screen and the pattern can thus be easily(er) guessed. Your child should therefore clean the display regularly or protect the device with a password.

Functions such as Bluetooth and WLAN should, if possible, only be switched on when necessary.& nbsp;Caution is generally advised with public WLANs. They are usually unsecured and can thus enable third parties to intercept the data on the transmission path. Therefore, no sensitive datashould besent via public WLANs. & nbsp;Many applications and operating systems also access the current location. In this way, regular movement profiles of the device or your child can be created. The camera function of many smartphones can also collect data by adding the location where the photo was taken (the so-called "geo-tag") to the file information of the photos. You can and should disable "geo-tagging" with your child in the camera settings.

How can my child protect his or her data?

Often personal data (contacts, current location, ...) arecollected and transmittedquite unnoticed and unintentionally. & nbsp;Therefore, when setting up the smartphone for the first time, you should not accept the default settings suggested by the operating system. It is better here to check exactly which settings can be used to contain data flows. In addition, the apps already installed on the device ex works should be looked at closely. Apps that are not needed should either be uninstalled or - if not possible - at least deactivated. The following also applies: The more apps run in the background, the more data is transmitted. & nbsp;Therefore, agree with your child that he or she should switch off all apps that he or she does not need at the moment - this also has a positive effect on battery consumption. Avoid apps that demand an unnecessarily large number of permissions.

Many children and young people have photos, messages and contacts stored on their smartphones that are very important to them. Losing them can then be painful. A regularbackup of this data, e.g. on the computer or on an external storage unit such as a hard drive, is helpful and sensible. Address book and photos can usually be copied from the smartphone to the computer using a program. There are also some apps that regularly perform a backup. If you want to be on the safe side, encrypt your data on the smartphone. Encryption can be activated in the settings depending on the operating system. If the device supports external memory cards, these must be encrypted separately. This prevents the data stored there from being read out easily or makes it much more difficult. Particularly sensitive data, such as passwords, should not be stored on the smartphone in the first place.

Operating systems

Depending on which operating system a smartphone is equipped with, there are also different numbers of apps available. For example, only a comparatively small number of devices are available for the iOS operating system (only iPhones). Especially for the Android operating system, there is a wider range of smartphones from different manufacturers in very different price ranges.


To make the right tariff decision, you should first be aware of how much you call, surf and text on average per month. To make the selection easier, there are online rate calculators, which compare prices and display them clearly. A good price comparison site is


One advantage of prepaid rates is that these do not havea fixed contract term and can thereforebe terminated at any time. Prepaid means that the smartphone's credit is topped up with a certain amount, which can then be used for mobile data, phone calls or text messages. Once the credit is used up, calls or text messages can only be received. Internet use is then only possible via WLAN.


Depending on the contract, you can choose between different terms for which a fixed amount is charged each month. As a rule, they run for 24 months, and will be automatically extended if you don't cancel in time. Together with your child, consider whether the monthly costs incurred are affordable in the long term.