Being a parent is hard work. Being a parent of children growing up on an electronic diet brings its own set of challenges. The internet has enabled our children to learn about the vast world around them at a much faster pace than we ever could have imagined. It has earned its rightful title as being one of the greatest inventions of mankind. However, it has also given today’s parents a new set of challenges to overcome. The online world, while amazing, has certain dangers that your child may fall prey to.
Even if given your child the whole ‘perils of the internet,’ talk and have set screen-time limits, it could still rather difficult to constantly keep an eye on their internet activity.
As such, are blocking apps the way to go? What other ways can you protect your child from the dangers of the internet while ensuring that he/she reaps all the benefits it has to offer? We share some insightful tips to help you answer these questions.
1. Having an open dialogue about device/digital safety
As parents, we play an integral role in sharing with our children the necessary information about staying safe on the internet. However, getting the conversation started can be challenging. One thing that can help you before you begin is to equip yourself with the common pitfalls and dangers of the online world that your child may fall prey to. These include cyberbullying, phishing, and gaming addiction. For younger children, it is especially important for parents to educate them about social media. Social media is one of the biggest platforms cyberpredators and cyberbullies use to take advantage of children.
Hence, having a good understanding of the subject matter can help you kick start the important conversation with your children. Talking to them about these dangers from a young age will empower them to make the right decisions and stay safe online.
2. Establishing the house rules
For many parents, implementing house rules can seem rather daunting, as there is the fear that children may not be readily accepting of the rules. However, establishing a set of rules on internet usage can make it so much easier in helping you monitor your children’s device use habits.
Some of the important rules on internet usage that you should include are: not to give personal information online (name, age, home and school address, etc.), not making any in-app or online purchases without parental consent and to only use the internet under your supervision.
3. The ‘block apps’ feature
If your child already owns a smartphone and seems to be hooked on certain apps that are potentially inappropriate, you may be tempted to confiscate their phone. However, it is a radical solution and does not solve the root of the problem; your child’s relationship with technology. Technology is great, it’s our children’s use of it that needs fixing. Hence, using a parental management tool that has the ‘block’ function may be the solution to your problems.
As with most things when it comes to parenting, blocking apps work best when you use them openly and communicate why you are using the functions with your child. Otherwise, get ready for a world of tantrums and tears, as your child may not understand why you are putting a restriction on their internet activity.
Our parental management app, plano, has a ‘block apps’ feature that enables you to restrict your child from using apps that you view as inappropriate and unsafe. It also offers a suite of other functions that empowers you to keep an eye on your child’s device use habits. These features are subject to your device’s technical specifications.