Technology and the latest gadgets are sure to be on many wish lists this year for teenagers. SMART phones are becoming the norm and although the iPhone is still out of reach for most parents, phones running the Android operating system have fallen in price considerably.

Likewise, the iPad is still a luxury item in the ‘tablet’ space; however, many companies have designed similar versions and are now on the market.

Popular tablets in New Zealand are of course the iPad, retailing for around $NZ800, and a cheaper version is the Kindle, retailing for around $NZ200.

Although the iPad has a lot more functionality, and the primary function of both are for reading eBooks, they are BOTH internet ready, and can connect to the internet whenever a wireless connection is available.

Wireless internet in the home has proved popular for both flexibility as well as the ease of accessing the internet on portable devices.

User communities have demanded free internet access in public spaces, and in places like Europe, it has become the norm.

Many public libraries offer free internet access, as do most cafes. McDonald’s restaurants nationwide also offer free internet access through a wireless connection.

Parents thinking about purchasing one of these devices for their children should first consider various restriction options they may wish to configure before handing them over.

Devices such as the iPad can potentially ring up large bills if your loved one has access to your iTunes account and starts downloading their favourite music.

We recently wrote an article on how to set parental controls on the iPad. Find it here.

You may wish to block access to certain types of internet sites, or be able to monitor the sites your child visits, to identify whether they are using the internet in a positive way.

One option for the iPad is a product provided by Mobicip. It works through a safe browser, in conjunction with an application allowing you to monitor, filter and report on internet activity. We are able to offer a discount through our website, and can explain more about it by contacting us.

Similar applications are available for the SMART phones. We recently tested a product called PhoneBeagle for the Android phones. It is a small application that is downloaded onto the phone, and can filter, record, monitor and report on all activity on that mobile device, through an internet site.

Mobile internet is here to stay. Understanding that these devices can connect to the internet anywhere is paramount. Educating children about using the internet in a positive way is important. Knowing they are using the internet positively is just as important.

Merry Christmas readers, and have a wonderful festive season!

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Dean Stewart is the owner of WebSafety NZ and has over 27 years of experience in the IT industry. His career has taken him to Australia, UK and South Africa, before returning home after a 14 year overseas stint. Outside of work, Dean has two teenage children, is a keen tramper in the outdoors and enjoys growing his own produce.

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