Tag Archives: Parental Controls

Should You Monitor Your Child’s Phone?

Seminar on internet safety

Kids love phones. Parents are buying phones for their kids at a much earlier age than ever before. The kids may use the phones for watching videos or doing research for school, but chances are that the majority of their time is spent on social media. For that reason, parents have become the number one purchaser of apps that track their kids and provide parental controls.

The Statistics

Parents might think that their kids are well protected from predators and cyberbullies. In a perfect world, that would be true. Sadly, the statistics say otherwise.

In 2017, it was reported that 57% of tweens and 66% of teens were involved in some aspect of cyberbullying. Analysts gathered the data from more than 500 million messages via email, texting, and social media.

53% of tweens and 72% of teens were sent content containing nudity or messages of a sexual nature; 11% of tweens and 18% of teens were involved in a self-harm/suicidal situation.

Do You Need an App?

There are many apps that can give parents control over the phone use of their kids. Apps are helpful in tracking the location of your child as well as viewing their online activity. Many phones have built in control systems, such as the ability to block phone numbers. Apps take it one step further, allowing you to trace unknown callers on your iPhone or Android or do a reverse search to identify a caller.

Parents can search through a kid’s phone for inappropriate messages, profiles and photos but the effort is often wasted. Kids are tech savvy, usually more so than their parents, and can hide what they don’t want to be seen. Using an algorithm to find information is more efficient and effective.

Monitoring Kids’ Activity

Parents can restrict adult content on their kids’ phones. Other things that are monitored include cyberbullying, threats of violence, signs of depression, suicidal behavior, and online predators. The apps use a specific algorithm to scan social media networks, YouTube and YouTube Kids, email, text messages, and more.

Phones Aren’t the Only Problem

While kids use their cell phones most often, parents should also monitor other devices such as computers, laptops and tablets. Those who aren’t savvy about file storage should also be aware that messages and photos can be stored in the cloud in files on sites like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. The files can be accessed anywhere by anyone with an account.

Having a Discussion with Your Kids

Perhaps the hardest part about digitally monitoring your child is having the conversation about why it’s important. Kids may see it as being punished or as an invasion of privacy. They may resent you for controlling their online use. However, they must be made to understand that it is in their best interest and is being done to keep them safe – online and offline. Someday, probably many years down the road, they will understand and thank you for watching over them.