Internet Safety for Children
Parents give children phones at a younger age than ever before. Along with the ability to stay in touch with their parents, kids love to play games and interact with each other through social media, including games and chat programs. Experts debate the use of cell phones by children, claiming that it places them at greater risk for harm due to predators and cyberbullying. Parents often seek solutions to give their children the best opportunities while protecting them. Currently, parents are the number one users of tracking and other apps that provide parental controls.
Statistics show that despite parents’ best efforts, children are still being targeted online. In 2017, analysts reviewed data from over 500 million emails, social media posts, and text messages. The report claimed that 57 percent of tweens and 66 percent of teens were involved in cyberbullying. 53 percent of tweens and 72 percent of teens received content containing nudity or messages of a sexual nature; 11 percent of tweens and 18 percent of teens were involved in self-harm or suicidal situations.
Do You Need an App?
Consumer Advocate shows how parental control apps can help parents to regulate their children’s phone use. Apps can track the location of your child, and also view online activity. Many phones feature built-in parental controls and systems. Phone apps take it one step further, adding blocks and the ability to trace unknown callers on your iPhone or Android or perform a reverse phone number search to identify who is calling your child’s phone.
Parents may search their children’s phones for inappropriate messages, photos and profiles to no avail. Kids are typically smarter than their parents when it comes to tech and can easily hide those messages. Photos and files can be hidden in the cloud using various platforms such as Google Drive or iCloud. Anyone can own an account. The files can be opened on any device with an Internet connection. Apps use algorithms to dig out the information and are more effective.
Monitoring Internet Activity
Parents can block adult or harmful content on their children’s phones. Monitored activity can include cyberbullying, signs of depression, threats of violence, suicidal behavior, and messages from online predators. The apps use specific algorithms to scan and track social media networks, email, video sites, text messages, and more.
Phones Aren’t the Only Problem
Kids use cell phones most often, but parents should be cautious about devices such as tablets, computers, and laptops.
Discuss the Issue
Monitoring your child’s Internet activity may cause an issue regarding the child’s privacy. Kids may see it as punishment or as an invasion of privacy. This can cause resentment. Parents should talk to their kids and explain that is it necessary for their safety. The kids may not agree but parents should hold firm. Someday, the children may understand the need for the action and thank you for protecting them from harm.