Bluetooth and your child

tablets and internet safety

Bluetooth and your child


What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology is built into many electronic gadgets like smartphones or mobiles so that you can talk and share things like music and videos wirelessly.

Bluetooth uses radio waves to send information wirelessly over distances up to 10 metres.

It has many handy uses such as connecting your mobile to your car stereo or allowing one to print a photo from a mobile phone.

What should a parent know about Bluetooth?

Bluetooth can be used by children on their mobile, so parents should understand the potential risks to the safety and privacy of a child with this technology.

Bluetooth can be costly as well as battery hungry.

It, like any Wi-Fi or wireless device, can be open to misuse and cause security issues:

  • Bluejacking: SPAM or unsolicited messages can be sent to Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mobiles. Some advertisements may be linked to premium rate services that are costly and your child  might see inappropriate and harmful content.
  • Bluesnarfing: This is when someone accesses and copies the personal information stored on a Bluetooth device i.e. the address books, text messages, emails and photos.
  • Bluebugging: This is when hackers take control of a mobile via Bluetooth  and  make calls, send texts and access the contact address book of the child.
  • Viruses: A virus may be unknowingly be loaded onto a mobile when one receives a file via Bluetooth.

What other Bluetooth issues are there?

Parents should talk to their children about their use of Bluetooth devices.

  • Copyright: As Bluetooth enables easy file sharing it is important that children understand their copyright responsibilities.  Children might break copyright laws by sending or receiving files such as music tracks or video clips via Bluetooth which they, or you have not paid for.
  • Sexting: Celebrities and some premier league footballers have sent naked and intimate photos via Bluetooth and so too have some young people.  This could not only put their reputation at risk but also expose them to bullying and ridicule if the relationship goes wrong and the images are publically circulated. They might even be breaking the law by taking and sharing these kind of images.

Bluetooth Tips for Parents

  • Talk to your child about its use and misuse.
  • Learn how to use the Settings of your young children’s smartphone and disable Bluetooth if your child is not ready for this technology.
  • Explore the website, especially the Parental Safety section, of the child’s mobile or smartphone provider. Learn about the Parental Controls and tools that the mobile provider offers.

Talk to someone

Worried about something you have seen online or concerned about your child? Childline and the National Parents Council Primary offer free advice and support service.

Childline is a support service for young people up to the age of 18.There is a 24hr telephone, online and mobile phone texting service.

Get started

The National Parents Council Primary enables and empowers parents to be effective partners in their children’s education.

01 887 4477

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