I get it, we live in an almost totally “cyber”/online world today, one that never seems to stop, and the speed and technological innovation has made it all the way to parenting.
Now don’t get me wrong, what some use as electronic “babysitters”, can be wonderful and useful tools for kids to learn and grow their exposure and experience in the new cyber world they will live in. That said, however, I’m more concerned, as are many of our peers who have kids on how you “police” what your kids can see, what is shared, etc. from their various devices.
One need only glance a quick Google search to find horror stories from when parents didn’t take the time to learn or stuck their head in the sand and said “I just cannot understand this, hence I’m not watching it”. It’s my belief that parents strictly need to watch their children’s usage for the same safety hazards and some new ones that didn’t exist when I was a kid.
Digital risks lurk throughout the “Internet of Things”. It never goes to sleep or stops seeking attention, which makes it a great challenge for parents of kids with smartphones because children spend more time on devices than ever before.
Doctor Tip: In a recent article by the American Medical Association it is recommended that children (under age of 16) have NO MORE THAN 1 hour of “screen” time a day. Keep in mind that screen time includes TV/Movies/Internet Search/Fortnite play, etc.
So, how do you monitor your child’s phone?
Its just the way it is… I know. Regardless of the fact that kids should be active, devices are here to stay. Now here’s the thing, before, monitoring your child’s phone, be honest about what and why are you doing it (or you can always say, “Hey, I’m the parent and here’s what’s happening”) depends on your style. Either way, explain to them that is for their safety. It’s a parents job to make sure that they are using their devices correctly. Well, some parent's may go, "I am paying for it, I have the right to go through my child's phone to who they are friends with, who are they texting, etc." Yes, you may be paying for it, but keep in mind that these devices are almost like private diaries for your kids. You know your kid better. If something doesn't seem right, spot- check more often.
Parent-control features buried in some phones, like the iPhone “screen time” built in service, as well as downloadable apps for can help parents track their kids, see who are they communicating with, block sites and apps that are dangerous, or location tracking.
After setting up the app, you can receive a day to day report on:
· How long your child used their cell phone
· What apps they're using
· How long they used each app
· How many notifications they received in each app
Using this information you can:
· Set downtime
· Choose the apps they can always use
· Review privacy settings and review passcode and account changes
No matter what you do, you will need to make policing your kid’s device(s) a regular part of your parenting job. Personally, my wife and I dislike this task immensely as the technology seems to always be around. Regardless, we do it and are trying as best we can as parents to do what needs be done. That’s all one can really do.
So, in summary – good luck and if you find a good feature or way to do this – please share with others. We’re all in this together.
Continued health and success!