February 15, 2011
Niles Nerd

Your Child’s Toys Are Not Just Toys

[this post is from Anthony Berot. He is the Pod Leader for Nerds On Site, GTA and area specializing in Technology Integration. If you have any questions, send an email to [email protected].]
Now that Christmas is past and all the gifts were given and received, you can begin to enjoy new electronic devices. If you’re one of the many who give the children gifts that includes Smartphones, iPad, iTouch, DSi or any other peer to peer enabled device, be aware of the security threats they may possess.
Not too long ago toys were just toys, without hidden features and communication abilities. Now kids as young as 5 years are receiving DSi and other electronic toys that can be connected to the internet and communicate with peer devices using wireless technology. With a quick touch of the screen these devices can be connected leaving the user exposed to persons who can take advantage of these security windows.
Sitting in the mall or at one of the fast food restaurants, kids can connect these devices with peer to peer wireless technology to play games and chat. This is cool stuff but dangerous if the other party is not a kid or has malicious intentions.
With these devices you can chat, share photos and games. While these can be innocent activities they possess the potential to be disastrous in the wrong hands.
You don’t have to take the device away from the kids, but you can protect them with knowledge and repetitive reminders. Yes, nag them! You can also learn how to activate the parental control feature that is built into these devices.
The parental control feature allows you to limit the activity of the device. You can also monitor the usage and in the case where data transfer is involved you can manage the expense of bandwidth usage.
Another consumer of bandwidth is “Netflix” this is a great service that allows for unlimited movie viewing for about $8.00 per month, however you can quickly exceed your bandwidth allowance.
This story will not be complete without a mention of the now popular “Netbooks” these handy mini computers can be connected to the internet using the cellular networks giving you HI-speed access wherever you are. As opposed to Wi-Fi which requires you to be in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi radio that allows you to connect, Netbooks require a data account from your cellular provider to access the internet from anywhere you can make a phone call.
Tethering your laptop to your smartphone gives you the same internet access as the netbook using the same data plan that you have on your phone.
Technology is cool! By putting all these digital muscles to work, you have the power to sit in the middle of the park or some remote secluded area and enjoy a movie on your laptop or Netbook.