As mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles become more common among kids and teenagers, one thing is becoming very clear to parents: it’s getting harder to protect your kids online and to use the same software, which offers a parental control for internet and cellphone activity, which you’ve used before (and maybe even had your parents use when you were a teen, too).
It’s important to realize that there are many dangers, more prevalent than ever, due to increased numbers of kids and teens who access the internet through mobile devices:
- Cyberbullying: This is still a fairly new trend and is one that adults often have a hard time understanding — but it has changed and become even more problematic in recent years due to increased cellphone use. Once upon a time, bullying used to happen at school and stay at school. Then it traveled home, once computers became a thing, and kids began talking to each other via instant messaging programs. Now that it’s possible to take the internet with you where ever you go, cyberbullies can now harass their peers at any time, and in any place.
- Provocative pictures and messages: There are two problems here. The first is that kids and teens often don’t realize that everything they send and post online is essentially permanent — someone, somewhere, can find anything and everything that’s been posted, for years after it’s been “deleted.” The second problem is that kids often don’t realize that they’re committing a serious crime if they send or post inappropriate pictures of their peers, or even themselves, when the person in the picture is legally considered a minor. Both of these problems can have serious, long-term consequences.
- Texting while driving: Okay, this isn’t a problem that only affects teens — but especially because young drivers don’t have much experience to begin with, texting while driving can be a disastrous habit to develop. Some parents use smartphone and iPhone text monitoring programs to see if their kids are sending messages while they’re behind the wheel, but another important way to discourage this habit is put your own phone down when you’re the one driving!
So it may not be an easy task to protect your kids online, or to find text message and social media monitoring software — but finding effective software, and having open discussions about tips on internet safety, are two of the best ways to protect your kids online (and on the phone) and to make sure that they don’t encounter any of these three dangers. More info like this.