Parenting in the age of technological innovations presents challenges we never faced with our own parents when we were children. While many of us are relatively tech-savvy, we’re not always well versed in how our children use technology.
Read on to help inform yourself about different apps young people use so you can develop an effective plan to keep your children safe on their mobile devices.
A good way to gain your bearings when trying to navigate phone apps is to become aware of the most common ones and the purposes they serve. Read up about the most common apps young people use, then take a look at which apps are currently installed on your child’s phone. If you notice a title you don’t recognize, jot it down and research it as soon as you have time.
Use Parental Control Apps
For added safety, it’s a good idea to implement a few parental control applications on the various phones in your household. Parental control apps serve several purposes, including:
- Monitoring text conversations (email, text messages, social media, etc.)
This tool is not designed to “spy” on your kids, but it can be very useful if you’re concerned about problematic conversations.
- Limiting usage time
- Capping data/download capabilities
- Block inappropriate content/websites
While no parental control apps can substitute parental involvement, they can be useful in adding a layer of safety to your kids’ mobile phone usage.
In addition to setting up time limits on the parental control app of your choosing, you might also decide to reduce the amount of access your child has at designated times. There are two ways to do so:
- Use controls to limit data when your child is at school, which will reduce your child’s internet access while still enabling them to make calls or send texts if needed
- Have your child leave their phone in a designated area in your home when they’re going to school, a family get-together, or heading to bed
Talk to your child about how to use their mobile phone responsibly. Cover your expectations very clearly and list the consequences that will result if he or she decides to break the reasonable set of rules you’ve established. Parental controls and phone monitoring are useful, but personal responsibility is a skill your child can take with them throughout the rest of their life.
Mobile phones are just one of many challenges we’re going to face as we help our children grow into happy, healthy adults. Awareness and involvement on your part can make such a difference when it comes to keeping your child safe as they explore the digital world.