How to Keep your Kids and Teens Safe Online: 4 Mobile Apps Parents Should Watch Out For
These days, it’s next to impossible to keep kids off the internet. Fact is, you can’t keep an eye on them all day either. Whether you like it or not, teens and kids will always find a way to get online.
It can be worrying for parents, there’s a lot to be alarmed about and it’s not just exposure to inappropriate texts and videos, but also the dangers of online predators.
Yet, the internet is ubiquitous, we need it for many everyday things from learning, shopping and communicating. We can only hope when young people are online they have it in themselves to make good decisions about what they choose to see, visit and interact on the internet.
Besides, isn’t that what good parenting is all about? Guiding one’s offspring to make better choices instead of limiting their play time or their innate curiosity.
Truth is, you can’t rely on age restrictions to keep your child off an app or social media site. There are many kids out there with active Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Here’s the thing, as a parent, do everything you can to protect your kids online. Parental involvement decreases online risks for children.
Here are some tips you can do to create a safe space for your kids online:
Talk to your teens or young kids
Today, doing the ‘talk’ is not just about discussing the challenges of puberty or dating. But this also extends to the travails of new technology that comes with our new ‘Screen Age’.
First, sit down with your kids and set a serious tone. This is the best time to set your ground rules on using the computer and online browsing. Let them know you are doing this not to curtail their online fun, but the reason you’re hovering over their internet interactions is not about parental restriction, but to make sure they are safe.
Supervise your child to change and enable a site's privacy settings
When you sign up to any website, app or social media site, the default setting is always set to public. Take time to change this private mode and set parameters like who can see your child’s profile and share his photos, who can send private messages and other site filters.
Take time to flag any inappropriate content
There is so much information online, most of it at of this time is not appropriate for your child to see or even be exposed to. By doing your share of reporting inappropriate content you can make that social platform a safe place for your kid.
Set computer hours and phone usage limits
This has to be the most important thing that parents should keep tabs on, but literally forget, because simply, time flies. Often the time your kid spends on the internet flies under the radar. Kids need structure and guidance when it comes to time management. They shouldn’t be losing sleep or missing out on school because they spent the whole night watching a social influencer on TikTok.
Let your child teach you
You’ll get a sense about what your teen and child likes if you let them talk about it. Let them teach how a game or app works. Let them show you their fave YouTube channel and watch videos with them. They’ll appreciate this little bit of bonding effort from your end and at the same time, you’ll be well-aware of what they do or spend time on whenever they use the computer.
New Websites, New Challenges
There are some social media sites and new apps you should be aware of as a parent. That said, you know an app is cool when most kids are on it and most of the adults aren’t. For sure, you won’t find any kids hanging out in LinkedIn, but you’ll find a whole lot of them on SnapChat or TikTok.
Here’s 4 Apps that parents need to know about:
Internet Safety for Kids
The best way is to protect your child is not through totally banning the use of technology at home. There’s no escaping technology in this day and age. Though you can’t blame parents who have gone this route.
Communication and trust is still key in keeping them kids out of trouble and still have them enjoy the wonders of the internet.
Always be open. Always encourage your kids to feel open to come to you if they encounter anything questionable, inappropriate or uncomfortable online. Kids are curious and they want answers- that will never change. And as a parent, you are there to give protection and offer context to anything they have seen or encountered. But be ready for the questions, what they see online often leads to a lot of complicated talk. Sometimes on topics that are way too early to be discussed for their age. But the positive thing about this is that they rely to you for the answers. It’s also good to know that you’re child is proactive and responsible about their online safety.