Does your child spend a lot of time interacting with digital devices? For most parents, the answer is a resounding “yes!”, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Cellphones and tablets give your child a window to the world, a way to communicate, pursue their interests and express themselves. Still, as a parent, it’s your task to keep your child safe in this digital world.
Check online profiles
A recent Facebook data-sharing scandal made all of us more aware of online privacy issues, but are your kids paying attention? In addition to talking to them about the need to keep particular information private (phone number, address, real name), you might want to check the leading social media networks to see what information your children have made available both to the public.
Scan through their “About” or “Personal Details” sections of platforms such as Friends, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat and ask them to remove any private information that can be used to identify them or exploited for data theft purposes, such as their phone number or full birthdate.
Consider a parental control app
Many parents complain about their teens or tweens being constantly glued to their cellphones, but what are they really up to?
With a parental control app, you can know more about what your child is doing on their phone.
By understanding how your child uses their phone, you’ll be better placed to intervene when necessary and to have conversations about appropriate phone usage and behaviours.
Jason, a father of three daughters, explains why he chose to use a parental control app:
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with when you don’t know the person. People find them online, there are different apps out there, and kids want to jump right in, it can get really dangerous.”
Installing a parental control app can also help you protect your child from the risks associated with excessive phone use. Provide the freedom to help your child to learn and develop a mature approach to when and how they use their phone, within boundaries that you set, monitor and adjust as required.
Follow social media age guidelines
Did you know that most social networking sites require children to be at least 13 before they can set up an account? With many kids growing up with an iPad in tow from a very early age, there’s a temptation to get involved earlier, but although they might only connect with friends, social media is an open space where anyone can target and approach your child. It’s in their best interest for you to verify the minimum required age ensure they don’t use sites for which they are not the correct age.
As a parent, you probably accepted that playing games is one of the kids’ favourites pastimes. While there are many educational video games out there, the games that should give you a pause are the video games that are played online. Almost 50% of online gamers don’t know the real identity of those they’re playing with.
If your child likes to play with virtual friends, make sure to set some ground rules, for instance not allowing webcam use and making sure they aren’t revealing their name or location to online strangers.
Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office revealed that only a quarter of children who claimed to receive a sexual solicitation online told a parent about what happened. Create an environment in which your child will be comfortable coming to you with any concerns. The digital world can be confusing, and they should never be blamed for getting it wrong.
MMGuardian is an award-winning parental control app supporting ClassTag classrooms this season. Their donations will help provide classroom supplies and fund fun activities for thousands of students across the country. Visit their website to learn more about this fantastic app that helps keep children safe from digital threats.