All parents feel scared while sending their kids out into the world. We are aware of most dangers that lurk around us in the real world. But, are we familiar with what threats await us in the digital community? Cyberbullying, exposure to indecent material, exploitation, sexual predators, and so on. These threats are absolutely real. Since our children are digital citizens, it is our job as parents to educate them and monitor their activities to keep them safe.
The Art of Monitoring Your Child’s Online Activities
Parents often find it difficult to use technology, especially when it keeps advancing at a rapid pace. The first thing I suggest is not getting intimidated. If you get over this hesitation, you will realize how easy it is to use these things. There are more ways than one that you can employ to watch your child’s online activities.
Being a parent, I was concerned about my child’s online activities as well. But the parental control features I get with my Spectrum Internet have been very helpful. I can easily filter and block obnoxious websites and limit YouTube content according to my child’s age. If you prefer using an app instead, some parental control applications can track your child’s locations, limit their screen time, and monitor their social media activity as well. Let me elaborate on it further.
#1. Talk to Your Kids
Most parents focus all their energy on protecting their kids by creating a barrier around them. They would block sites, limit their screen time, and install spyware on their devices. But they forget the most important part, talking to them. Kids will be kids. If you simply create boundaries without giving them a rational explanation, they would become rebellious. The best thing to do is to talk to them periodically. Calmly educate them about the dangers that await them in the cyber world. Build their confidence and strengthen your bond so, that they share everything with you without hesitation.
#2. Set Some Rules
Once you have talked to the kids, it is better to take them into confidence and set some rules regarding the usage of the internet and their screen time. If you take the approach of simply telling them that this is not allowed and that won’t be tolerated, the result will be less than optimal. Dictating the rules will push them away. Children should have a schedule that includes their school time, homework, playdates, screen time, dinner time, and so on. Be firm with what, when, and how much they can do using the internet but, don’t be stern with them.
#3. Using Parental Control Applications
Now that you have educated your kids and set some ground rules, it is time to learn about using some parental control applications. A range of software applications are available in the market that allows you to track your kids’ actual location, their activity on social media, and block inappropriate content. A few high-end applications are Qustodio, Norton Family, Kaspersky Safe Kids, FamiSafe, Bark, and so on. Here are details on some of these apps that can make your life easier.
It is one of the few great applications that can be used on Android, Apple, Amazon, Windows, and Macs alike. Using this app, you can limit your kids’ screen time, filter websites, record their locations, and so on. However, if you want to get really intrusive and monitor your children’s calls and text messages, you can only do that using Android devices. Since it offers a lot of features and has a wide compatibility range, it is expensive too.
- Norton Family
Norton Family is also an excellent app that can be used to monitor kid’s devices, filter certain websites, track their locations, and more. It is compatible with Apple and Android software but, provides limited features for Apple devices.
- Kaspersky Safe Kids
Kaspersky Safe Kids (KSK) also has an excellent compatibility range as it can work effortlessly on smartphones, computers, and Apple devices. Its interface is simpler and it is cheaper than Qustodio which makes it an appealing choice. KSK also offers similar features of web-filtration, time-limitation, and management of applications, etc. However, its location tracking and geofencing features work well with both iOS and Android devices, unlike many other apps.
It is always a good idea to ask for an internet plan that has parental control features. When my kids started using the internet, I simply called the Spectrum phone number and asked them to upgrade my plan so that it would include all the security features. So, create awareness in your kids, establish rules, and don’t forget to utilize various tools to keep an eye on them.