As a parent, you want your children to be as safe as possible. You pay attention to their smartphone use when they’re in the car, encourage them to stay out of unsafe areas of town, and monitor what friends they are hanging with and what they’re doing with those friends. You’ve paid attention to their physical safety at home since they were little. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your child’s physical safety that you forget that online safety matters, too.
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Pornography addiction starts early. You’d like to believe that your child wouldn’t go looking for that type of information, but unfortunately, it’s all too easy for a simple search to land them in the middle of a pornographic minefield–whether that was what they were looking for or not. All too many pornography sites end up in otherwise “safe” search terms. Not only that, children and teens, in particular are naturally curious. They’re starting to learn about their sexuality, and sometimes curiosity can lead them to stray down a dangerous path online .
It’s vital that you take the steps that will protect your child from accessing pornography on all of their online devices. Trustworthy mobile parental controls will catch most of the pornography sites, but in addition to parental controls, your child needs parental oversight. Check their search history, examine the internet history on phones, tablets, and computers, and make sure that you know what sites your child is visiting online while keeping the lines of communication constant.
Nothing makes a parent’s heart break faster than the knowledge that their child is being bullied. Cyberbullying might, at first, seem better than being shoved into a locker or ignored by the “cool” kids at school, but the truth is, cyberbullying often leaves heavy scars on a child’s heart long after they leave school. From “roasting” sessions, when so-called jokes become steadily nastier, to outright bullying online, there are more opportunities than ever before for your child to become a victim of bullying. Some common platforms for cyberbullying include:
- Social media
- Forums and other areas where classmates gather online to communicate
Sometimes, you’ll be able to track cyberbullying by following your child’s social media accounts or making sure to review their text messages periodically. However, we have learned that in many cases, your child may take steps to hide the bullying–even from you. This is often done by having secret or hidden accounts that parents do not follow or have the passwords to. Make sure that you’re taking a “hands-on” approach to monitoring your child’s behavior both on and offline so that you’ll know if bullying is happening.
Today’s teens are exposed to more screens than ever before. From video games and smartphone use to tablets and laptops in their classrooms, kids are spending all too many hours with their eyes locked on screens. That can cause a host of problems:
- Physical difficulties like “text neck” associated with an unnatural position
- Difficulty connecting emotionally with people in the “real world” instead of people online
- Addictive response to screentime and genuine struggle to disconnect when the device is removed
Protecting your child from the effects of excessive screentime means setting limits about when they can and cannot use their devices. This should include designating specific limits on how much technology can be used each day, setting specific times as device-free times and working as a family to spend time together on a regular basis. This is easy when you use a parental control that offers screentime settings.
Protecting your child is a full-time job. At Netsanity, we were designed by parents, for parents. We are here to help keep parents informed, and to make it easier for them to keep their kids and teens safe and balanced on their mobile devices!
Also published on Medium.