Communication is Key
No technology can replace the importance of parental conversations with children about the dangers that exist in the digital world. This fact remains true even in the face of the emerging educational trend of teachers using Internet access for classroom instruction. These days, apps for phones, tablets and other mobile devices carry games, lesson plans and assignment information to and from many students. The data collected is voluminous, not just on the subject matter, but also on the student, as every response, inquiry and entry is recorded and saved for later retrieval. Program developers can track the data and develop profiles based on the student-entered information. A challenge now being recognized is that the resulting databases are not uniformly protected by state or federal law from exploitation by unscrupulous marketers or hackers.
Why Communication is Important
The education software industry is now worth an estimated $8.4 billion dollars, according to the Education Technology Industry Network. Although student information is to be used only for educational purposes, that didn’t stop the College Board from selling the personal information of ACT and SAT test-takers to marketing firms. They, in turn, sold it to colleges, summer camps and test-prep firms. The data-analysis firm InBloom recently shut down because the data it collected could be sold to marketers or stolen by hackers.
Other apps used by people under 21 include many that allow anonymous postings, such as Yik Yak, Secret, and Whisper. Even though the sites may be scanned for flags (bomb, kill, cut), it is virtually impossible to scan the hundreds of thousands of entries added every day. Cyberbullies thrive in the anonymous environment.
Parents who appreciate the benefits of technology, but are also serious about protecting their children from its associated threats are looking for filtering software that gives them a modicum of control over their child web-cruising activities. While there may be specific, community-related concerns, generally recognized threatening sites for kids include those with photos or text of an adult nature; drugs and drug culture; violence or hate language; racism; gambling, tobacco or alcohol.When you use a quality parental control like Netsanity you will find it easier to protect your kids and teens on their iPhone’s and iPad’s since they offer so many great features. One that you will find very useful is Catblocker. This feature makes it easy to keep kids and teens safe from accessing dangerous content on their mobile devices.
Parents may also want to manage the whenof their childs web access, and even set times for when to shut down, or limit the hours in the day that their mobile devices are internet accessible. One of Netsanity’s most popular features is their Timeblocker scheduler, it can be used regularly to ensure that kids enjoy other activities or spend time finishing homework. They have a free trial so its worth checking out if your child has an Android or Apple mobile device. Additionally, many parents choose to follow their kids along on the social media apps that they use such as Facebook or Instagram. I always remind parents that with today’s tech savvy kids this might not be full proof since they could set up two accounts. One that you follow along with and another that they may keep hidden from you. I discuss this in detail on a previous blog about hiding apps. No matter which of these (or other) concerns raise red flags about your child use of the internet, there are some things you can do to allow safe, healthy web cruising while limiting exposure to inappropriate people or activities.
Even when using a parental control software it is crucial to communicate with your kids and teens regularly about internet safety and the dangers associated with going online. Also, remind them often that what they post will stay there forever. It is important that they understand not to share personal information or speak to anyone in away that is rude or hurtful.
A parents opinion is often the strongest contributor to a child decision-making process, even when that not apparent to the parent. Honest conversations about staying safe online will do more to keep your child safe than virtually any other action you might take!
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.