The trouble with parenting today is that you want to protect your kids online and you want to make sure they’re staying as safe as possible while they’re using the internet, but there’s a fine line between trying to monitor internet activity to protect your kids from potential dangers, and seeming like a parent who isn’t willing to trust their kids.
Is it possible to find strict software to monitor internet activity, down to every last page click and Twitter re-tweet? Yep, it’s definitely possible to find plenty of different kinds of iPhone text messaging monitoring software and social media monitoring software for parents. But let’s be honest: kids have always been a little bit ahead of their parents when it comes to technology. They’re either find a way around the parental controls, they’ll find new social media websites to log onto, or they’ll simply access the web elsewhere.
Another option? Sitting down with your kids and discussing tips for internet safety. Here are just a few tips that are great starting points for a conversation about how to be safer online:
- “Refrain from posting personal information — your phone number, address, birth date, and even your full name.” A lot of kids are already aware that posting too much personal info is a bad thing, and many social media users — including teens — will sign up for accounts using a nickname, or their first and middle name (leaving out their last name).
- “Try not to respond to rude or inappropriate messages — but don’t necessarily delete them before showing an adult.” Kids and adults alike often don’t realize that inappropriate texts and photos aren’t just the normal bullying that kids experience — until it’s too late and something disastrous happens, many people don’t realize that these messages are often criminal harassment offenses. If they continue, you’ll want something to show the authorities.
- “Never meet up with someone you’ve met online, especially by yourself and/or in a secluded area.” Even though there have been so many recent news stories about online predators — unfortunately often because the teen victims are fatally harmed — it’s getting easier for dangerous people to create realistic profiles on social media. You can always mention that if your child is genuinely interested in meeting someone, you’d be more than willing to accompany him/her and hang around to make sure everything goes alright.
So now we’re asking you to share — when it comes to finding ways to monitor internet activity, what methods seem to work for you and your kids? What methods don’t work? What concerns do you still have about internet safety? Be sure to leave your thoughts and questions down in the comments section.