Technology provides a lot of advancements and conveniences. The internet, Business dealings, personal transactions, social media, and other digital platform access – all could be done through a mobile device. Everything seems to be a phone call, text message, email, or a click away.
In this digital age, everyone has access to a phone. The benefits may be undeniable but as with everything, phone use must be in moderation especially for children. A phone is a great way for parents to monitor or keep in touch with kids anytime. A child’s phone, however, may bring harm when misused.
Is overseeing their phone use simply checking on kids or spying on them?
Good parenting is a hot point of argument, especially in this digital age. The thing is there is no such thing as “perfect parenting”; there are no set of practices that “good parents” use. Good parenting varies depending on where you live, your culture, beliefs, and more.
In taking care of and guiding kids, there are some things that parents must learn to leave alone such as their child’s privacy. That being said, specific factors and circumstances always come into play. Every parent should understand that privacy gets more complicated when it comes to monitoring teenagers. When does it become acceptable to read their texts? Will it ever be acceptable to infringe on their privacy that way? The thing to keep in mind here is the child’s safety and well-being. Checking a child’s phone is acceptable as long as it is done only with the child’s well-being in mind. It crosses the line of spying on their text messages when you are just being nosy.
Yes, a parent must monitor their child’s activities to ensure their safety. It is, however, equally crucial to allow them some privacy and cultivate trust between parent and child.
Guide Kids To Keep Online Dangers At Bay
The internet has a myriad of benefits and conveniences, but there are also a lot of lurking dangers. Kids are especially vulnerable to such dangers partly due to their innocence and lack of knowledge of technology. Parents must educate children on the dangers they may encounter online. The proper response to such threats must also be discussed.
Some of the online threats to be wary of are:
Cyberbullies and Cyber Predators
Cyberbullying is a common danger that kids may be exposed to or even be subjected to personally. More alarming are the cyber predators who take advantage of the kid’s innocence through persuasion and deceit. Parents must teach kids how to properly deal with such people, and how to identify them when contacted.
Phishing and Scams
Phishing and scams look to take advantage of a child’s lack of knowledge of the internet by persuading them to do a certain action. This could be providing their personal information, connecting to their social media accounts, or clicking on a link that’s texted to them. Parents need to educate their children on what these messages, advertisements, emails, and more may appear like so they can avoid them.
Content on the internet isn’t all kid-friendly. There are sites, videos, photos, social media content, and more that contain mature, explicit, or violent content not suitable for children’s eyes. Sometimes, this content is shared with kids via text messages by friends and strangers.
Closer Look at Kid-Friendly Messaging Apps
To avoid, or at least be safer from online threats, there are kid-friendly messaging apps that parents could use for their family. They include:
Facebook Messenger Kids
This free messaging and video calling app, created by Facebook, was made for kids to use and to be controlled by parents. The app allows parents to control who is in the child’s contacts and gives kids the ability to block people as well. All of the filters, GIFs, emojis, reactions, and stickers are kid-friendly.
Parents could create an account for their kids under their Microsoft account. This would then be used to access Skype. Parents can approve and control the child’s contact list, and only people from that list can connect with the child. Person identifiable information (PII) is hidden on their profile, and the child’s account won’t show up unless the name is an exact match.
Parents can create a Google Hangout account for their child under 13 using Google Family Link. Contacts can be added manually, and contact invitations sent can be refused. While the whole chat history can be deleted, individual messages can’t. Should the child attempt to hide a conversation, a missing message history looks suspicious.
This kid-friendly app only allows calls and messages from approved contacts. The app also doesn’t need a phone number to work. Parents can block profiles of suspicious or malicious accounts to permanently prevent them from contacting the child. The app is password protected, has no ads, and doesn’t allow in-app purchases.
Parents want the best for their kids; it is also their nature to worry. There is that urge to always keep them close and know what they are up to. There is however a fine line between keeping tabs for safety and outright infringing on privacy – parents must tread carefully. So, is it okay to reach your child’s texts? Absolutely, as long as you are doing so to protect your child from the various online dangers out there.