Are you hanging onto an old phone – a phone that you had planned to hand down to your child – because you’re concerned about the data and personal information still on it?

According to new research from Mobile Muster – Australia’s government accredited mobile phone recycling program – data worries are holding people back from handing down their old phones, with 60% of Australians admitting that one of their biggest concerns is that someone else will access their personal data.

While more than half of Aussies have passed on devices they no longer use, due to a desire to extend the life cycle of old items or knowing their phone will be more useful to someone else, Mobile Muster’s findings show that there are more old phones stored away in Australia than there are people. Why are we so reluctant to pass our old phones on?

Parents in particular are keen to hand their old phones down to their children – whether it’s to save money, stay in contact with their child, make their child happy or give them independence – but underlying data worries make them reluctant to do so. More than half of parents surveyed were concerned that their child would rack up large bills or make purchases without their consent, which could be a result of not removing all connected accounts and payment methods. A further 36% of parents admitted that not knowing how to set “kid-friendly” parental controls is a concern and could be another reason holding them back from passing on their old devices.

“At this time of year, many Australians are considering upgrading their phones and deciding what to do with their old one,” says Trevor Long, Technology Commentator from EFTM.com. “With so much technical jargon out there on how to safely remove your personal data, it can be confusing for people to know where to start. That’s why following Mobile Muster’s three simple steps to removing your data takes the worry and hassle out of the handover.”

So, how do you have a hassle-free handover? Follow these three simple steps to ensure that you have removed your personal data:

  1. Backup: Backup your data by moving your photos, videos and documents to your Cloud, Google account or by connecting your phone to a computer.
  2. Disconnect: Disconnect all the accounts which are linked to your phones such as your iTunes or Google Play account.
  3. Reset: Wipe the data from your device by performing a ‘factory reset’. This will return your phone to its original state by erasing all the data, including files and downloaded apps.

And, if you’re concerned about making sure your device is child-friendly – and that they’re not going to rack up huge bills by using your old phone – ensure peace of mind by following these simple steps:

  1. Keep your passwords safe: To reduce the possibility of receiving any surprise bills from your child making purchases without your consent, avoid sharing any account passwords or PINs that would enable your child to make any purchases, including in-app purchases, from their device.
  2. Restrict access to your credit card: Ensure that your credit card is not linked to an account your child can access from their phone. This will stop them from being able to download any paid-for apps without your knowledge or consent. Consider creating an unlinked account just for your child and protect your linked account with a password or PIN.
  3. Use vouchers for purchasing: Vouchers are a useful way to give your child the opportunity to purchase and download the app they desire without giving them full access to your credit card.
  4. Consider setting spend limits: If you decide to allow access to in-app purchases, your child may not be aware that they are in fact spending real money. You can set up a spend limit by either contacting your mobile service provider or when you set up the App Store account.
  5. Consider parental controls: Familiarise yourself with the parental controls and privacy settings available for your device and mobile apps. Parental controls can allow you to manage your child’s device, set time limits and the content they can access.




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