Keeping children safe online is of the utmost importance in today’s digital world. With young people now having access to unrestricted internet access through their smartphones, it has become increasingly challenging to protect them from dangerous sites containing inappropriate content such as adult material, gambling sites, and more.
Parents today are rightly concerned about the online safety of their children. With an influx of cybercriminals, cyberbullies, and in-app payments that may lead to unexpected charges, it is important for parents to be vigilant. Not only this, but unchecked internet usage can have a severe impact on the development of young minds; something that parents must be proactive in protecting their children from.
A Middlesex University study found that over half of children aged 11-16 had seen explicit content, while Ofcom reports that one in eight have been victimized via digital means. It is clear that parents need to be aware and vigilant in protecting their children’s safety.
With a few simple steps, parents can protect their children from the dangers of the internet and get them the right smartphone with enough calls, texts, and data without spending too much. Researching different phone plans, monitoring their online activity and talking openly with your child about appropriate internet behavior are all excellent methods for keeping kids safe in today’s digital era.
Keeping your kids safe is essential when it comes to them having their own smartphone. The information below will provide you with all of the information you need about making sure your child is secure when using their device.
Internet Matters, is a non-profit organization that aims to empower parents to help keep children safe in the digital world, recommends the following tips:
- Talk about it. It’s not an easy subject to broach, but it’s vital that you know if they’re being bullied so that you can do something about it.
- If they do open up, listen to what they say and don’t interrupt. Let them know it’s not their fault and ask plenty of questions.
- Don’t contact the bully and tell you child not to reply. Block the bully instead so they can’t continue to harass.
- Keep evidence by taking screen grabs of any abusive behavior, including images, email address, social media handles and phone numbers.
- Talk to your child’s teachers but do it discreetly. Making a big scene could make the situation worse for your child.
- Report it to the relevant technology platform on which the bullying is taking place. Social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all have policies to deal with such behavior.
- Encourage your child to use their smartphone in the same room as you, and not in an isolated environment.
It is important to talk to your kids and keep the lines of communication open. However, it is also important to recognize that relying solely on conversations with kids may not be enough to protect them and ensure their safety. That is why using a software like Bark can help bridge the gap and provide you with more insights into what your kid is up to.
Bark allows families to manage the following on their kids’ devices:
- Manage screen time
- Set app time limits
- Remotely lock the phone
- Manage calls and contacts
- Monitor social media
- Filter which websites your kids can visit
- Keep up with kids’ locations alerts and check-ins
- Monitor texts, email, YouTube and 30+ apps and platforms
- Get alerts for issues like cyberbullying, online predators, suicidal ideation and more
If you do not want to go through the trouble of setting this all up on your kids’ phone, Bark does a kids’ Bark phone that has all features build in – monitoring texts, emails, social media, and much more. The Bark phone also includes features like undeletable texts, location tracking, remote phone lock. You can do similar things on non-Bark phones, but it would take a little more than toggling a button.
If you have a kid asking for a phone, take a look at the Bark phone. Most kids cannot even tell it is a Bark phone and has tracking capabilities and parental controls.
Parents need to be aware of the apps that their kids are using and which social networks they are a part of. Here is a list of apps that we all should be aware of that our kids hear about daily.
If you decide to allow your child access to social media, it is important that they are honest about their age. Many networks do not have an age verification system, so if your child lies about their age, it could put them in an unsafe position. Make sure to assist them when setting up their account, and ensure the proper guidelines for safety are followed.
Keeping kids’ safe online entails much more than implementing technical solutions. Establishing healthy digital habits is paramount in ensuring your children’s safety when navigating the internet and engaging with people online.
All parents should make an effort to stay informed about how their children are using their smartphones. This is important not only to protect their physical safety, but also to ensure they remain mindful of potential cyber threats while online. It’s a daunting world out there. Help them navigate it.
Rosi & Gardner, P.C.
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