As a parent, you may consider monitoring your kid’s online activities in order to make them spend less time on the Internet and not engage with dangerous things. Still, there’s a fine line between monitoring and invading their privacy. So, why should you do it? and how can it be done without crossing the line?
At Kidguard we support and care for healthy relationships between children and parents, find out what are the updated tips on how to protect your children online.
Why Should You Do It?
According to a study made by Pew Research, 80% of teenagers use cell phones – half of them being smartphones. Moreover, a recent statistic from GuardChild shows that 43% of teens would change their online behavior if they knew parents were watching them.
Wanting to monitor their activity is not wrong to an extent, because it shows that you care about your child. However, overly checking everything they do, and thinking about how to track the location of a cell phone to know where they are at all times can be quite inappropriate, especially if you haven’t even tried to talk to them about it first. You’re not only “invading their privacy”, but you’re also not trusting them either.
The Internet gives them access to anything, from information that they could use at school, to content they shouldn’t engage with. It’s hard to know what your child does behind closed doors. They may talk to strangers, watch disturbing content, and many other things. At the same time, your child may be innocent and may have no reason to worry. Still, monitoring what they do online might be the only way to make sure they’re not doing anything wrong.
How Can You Do It?
If you want to make sure your child is trustworthy, you should know that there are several ways to monitor them without invading their privacy. If you’d like to know how to do that without thinking about how to set parental controls, you should take these tips into account:
- Talk to Your Kids
Communication is always the key. This doesn’t mean you have to be vocal about your mistrust – you can work with your children to develop a social media purpose. So, if your child hasn’t already entered the social media world, talk to them about the kind of content they want to share on those platforms.
In addition, you can tell them how their content will be seen by college admissions officers and future employers. It is one great way to ensure that your child knows how to behave on social media, and not post disturbing content, or anything they shouldn’t be posting.
For instance, you can tell them to imagine how the image/video/etc. would be seen by someone they don’t want to see it. So, if the child is posting a mean joke about a family member, tell them to imagine that person seeing it.
You can also teach them not to put anything on the Internet that they would not say in person. It might put them in a bad situation when they meet that person in real life.
- Use the Same Apps as your Children
One great way to know more about these apps is by using them yourself. So, when your child uses a Facebook account, you should want to create an account for yourself as well. You can learn about how it works, what content people engage with, and what the risks are. Moreover, if you have your child on your friend list, it’s easy to see what they post. Learn how to access social media accounts, and you may successfully monitor your children without taking their smartphone away.
Also, you can do a quick Google search and find out about the risks for children/teens when using that app and the problems people are usually facing on that social media platform or application.
You can also set specific rules. For instance, if your kids are younger, one rule may be that they should not watch YouTube videos unless their parents are in the same room.
- Let Your Children Tell You More about the Things They Do
As an extension of the communication rule, instead of thinking about how to install GPS phone trackers, let your kids talk about their favorite apps. It is a great way to build trust because they will see you are interested in them, while not demanding them to show their private messages on the spot.
They may teach you a lot of things about how the features work, how they use them, and maybe even show you some of the content they post on their social media.
- Tell Them About Your Concerns
Instead of taking their phone away and checking their private messages, tell your children that you are concerned about their online activity. If they seem too cold and distant, tell them that you feel like they are too absorbed by their smartphone. If you know how to talk to them about these things, you will gain their trust. Moreover, if you’re lucky, they may end up showing you the list of people they talk to. The option of having to look on how to recover deleted text messages would be the last resource in case you have a hunch that social media might be hurting them.
Monitoring your children’s phone without being intrusive can be very tricky. You are probably drawn to installing apps that monitor their location and show you who they talk to as a tool. Hopefully, thanks to this article, you have now discovered new ways to monitor a child’s cell phone without invading their privacy.