Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.
I read an article in the New York Times recently that said the average age children get a cell phone nowadays is 10 years old. Because of this, children have access to the internet at a young age and we need to be more vigilant than ever in protecting our kids from the dangers online. I wanted to share a few ways that parents can help keep their kids and tweens safe as they navigate the digital world.
The first step, I believe, is talking with your child before you give them a cell phone. You can create a contract outlining usage rules that your child most follow in order to receive and keep their cell phone. KidGuard provides great tips in creating this contract with your child. You can read the whole article here but these are the things you’ll want to consider discussing with them:
- Usage – how much, when and where your child can use their cell
- Privacy – what your child can, and can’t, share with others (including their name, birthday, location, school and anything else that identifies them)
- Permissions – clarify what you, as the parent, will have access to
- Data – if your plan isn’t unlimited you will want to outline how much data your child can use
- Places – what online sites they can go on and what social media your child can use
- Consequences – what consequences your child will face if they break the contract in any way
My two boys have their own phones that have access to the internet but no calling or texting capabilities. They mainly use their smartphones to play games, watch YouTube videos about gaming and listen to music. They know what YouTubers they are allowed to watch and which ones they can’t, that they are not allowed to talk or message with anyone online in any way (even if they think they are other kids or even friends they know in real life), and that if they hear a bad word in a video or song they have to change it immediately.
As important as teaching our children about digital safety is, it’s not enough to help our kids stay safe online. Parents still need to monitor their child’s internet use and I don’t think just being “aware” of what our children are doing online is enough. My boys are typically by their father or I when using their phones and I have an idea of what they are doing on their phones but I have discovered that even when they are near us we can’t keep an eye on what they are doing 24/7. For example, back in December we were at gymnastics and Jacob was 2 feet away from me using my phone to play a game. I checked the screen frequently during the time he had it while I talked with other moms. After about 15 minutes or so I asked him for my phone back, only to discover numerous emails from the app store about purchases. He had spent almost $180 of my (real) money buying virtual coins for a game. In 15 minutes! Even though I was aware of what he was doing I obviously wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been.
I also heard a story a few months ago of younger kids watching YouTube videos that were supposedly a popular kids cartoon episode but someone had edited the video with some horrible things and the little kids were watching it without the parents knowing the content of what was in the video. Just goes to show that as much as we think we are watching them, we are going to miss things unless we are looking over their shoulder the entire time that they are online.
It’s reasons like these that I think having something, like KidGuard, to monitor internet use and phone use is so important. KidGuard helps parents keep their child safe on the internet by giving them the tools to monitor their activities on their various devices.
Parents can view their child’s current location and past whereabouts, call history, images on their camera roll, what apps they are using, texts they have received and sent (even the deleted ones!), browser history and social media accounts.
While I used to think monitoring internet use was all an “invasion of privacy” I realized that the dangers online are real and it’s my job as a parent to protect my children from danger, especially when they are too young to realize the consequences of their actions. KidGuard allows you to grant your children the online independence they want by allowing you to monitor and spot any suspicious activity and proactively protect your children from things like cyber bullying, online predators, and other safety concerns.
How do you keep your kids and tweens safe online? Do you have a contract with rules for use or a monitoring service? If you want to try KidGuard, they are offering a free trial of the service.
11 thoughts on “How Parents Can Help Keep Kids Safe Online”
I think this is an awesome idea! With my kiddo does get to the point that he needs a phone I will definitely be sitting down ground rules and I will be watching everything that he does. Something like this app I will definitely want.
I will have to check out KidGuard for my kids. I have been worried as they get older about their online safety.I will have to share this with my friends with kids.
My daughter got a cell phone at 13 and my son will be getting one as well when he turns 13. Online safety is so important. One of the rules we in place with our daughter is that I have to know her passwords to her social media accounts. She’s now 18 and we still have that rule in place.
My kids do not have phones but they do have tablets. We have set times and kid-friendly restrictions on their accounts.
This sounds like such a great app. Parents really do need to better monitor their children online, great tips going to try this!
All parents need apps like this. I hadn’t heard the story about the edited cartoons. Wow. I am glad parents can have a safety net with kidguard.
This is amazing! Very helpful for parents to monitor their kids while using internet. Will have to check this out!
Technology safety is such an important topic when it comes to our kids. I totally think monitoring is a great idea.
In my humble opinion The internet is like the Wild West and as parents we have to do everything we can to keep them safe. Kidguard sounds like a good tool to have in my parent toolbox! Definitely going to check into it!
I’ve heard great things about KidGuard. This is something that we are likely going to have to look into sooner rather than later. We have parental controls on ALL of our devices but the other night… they failed us. My little one was looking for pictures of a carton character she read about and ummm yeah… not cool. I love companies that focus on protecting our children and support allowing them to remain children for as long as they can.
great tips! I only give my son a 1 hour use of his iPad, i think this is a great app!