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Digital gift-giving checklist

Digital gift-giving checklist

High on the wish lists of many kids are digital devices—smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles—and the virtually infinite number of online services that bring these devices life. To help kids enjoy these more safely, here’s a checklist of precautions to consider when your child gets a new device.

Download a printable version of this checklist (PDF, 186 KB)

Agree on clear use limits

Negotiate clear guidelines for Internet use that fit your kid’s age and maturity and that reflect your family’s values. Microsoft offers a sample agreement, the Get Game Smart PACT (PDF, 2.16 MB), to help you sort out family rules.

  • Talk about who kids can talk to, text, or play games with and when; the websites they can visit; and so on.

  • With older kids, discuss online bullying, sexting, and the dangers of driving while using the phone.

Help kids protect their privacy

  • Have kids lock all devices and accounts with a PIN or strong password, and keep them secret—even from best friends.

  • Help kids choose smart email addresses, online names, and gamer tags that disclose nothing personal and aren’t suggestive.

  • Talk to kids about limiting the personal information they share to close friends only.

  • Restrict access to forums (including in games) unless they are moderated by adults.

  • Consider disabling the location services on your young child’s devices; at the very least, turn it off for any camera.

  • Teach tweens and teens to use location-based services cautiously.

Monitor apps and games

  • Stick to well-known games or those from reputable sites to reduce the risk of downloading viruses or being scammed.

  • Check and discuss the ratings of the games kids want to play.

  • Choose apps that are appropriate for the kid’s age and maturity.

  • Consider limiting in-app and in-game purchases.

Teach safe and responsible use

Encourage kids to:

  • Be kind. Don’t say, text, or post anything that would hurt or embarrass someone. NO bullying. Period.

  • Never make, send, or accept provocative texts, photos, or videos.

  • Never click links with free offers in ads, contests, games, or text messages (even from friends).

  • Be choosy about adding friends on phones, social sites, or games.

  • Trust their instincts. Let kids know that if something feels uncomfortable or alarms them, you will help solve any problems.

Use tools to help keep kids safer

  • Manage the sites children visit and their time online.

  • Filter violent or explicit lyrics, video, and other content.

  • Block mature websites and harmful content.

  • Manage contacts, including blocking callers and restricting contact to approved numbers only.

Learn about and compare family safety tools from Microsoft.

Defend tablets and computers against Internet risks

  • Install legitimate antivirus and antispyware software.

  • Turn on automatic updates.

  • Never turn off your firewall.

  • Use flash drives cautiously.

Learn about how to build up your computer’s or tablet’s defenses.

More helpful information