Cyber Prevention: Are You Checking Your Child’s Phone?
Parents, how many moms and dads actually check the content that is on their children’s phones? We fear, not so many 🙁 While, yes, there are plenty of us who confiscate our tween’s phones after realizing that they’ve had a little too much screen time, very few of us actually open them up and check our kids’ messages, apps and social media accounts to see what their kids are actually doing.
We need to be more vigilant when it comes to their children’s phone use. Here are some tips to check on your kids’ phones every day.
This one is critically important. There can be a lot of damage or digital drama that can be done through text messages. First and foremost, parents should tell their children that if they have something to say but wouldn’t dare say it out loud, then by all means don’t say it through a text. Also, there’s a very good chance that kids who are bullied are very unlikely to tell their parents about it. Before you scroll through your child’s text messages, be clear and upfront about it with your child first. Let them know that you are doing it for their safety and in some cases, you might be doing it for their mental health as well.
Social Media Apps
When it comes to ‘spying’ on their children and their phones, there are some parents who think that they have every right to do so because they pay for it. Others think that they are being intrusive by invading their child’s privacy. Quite honestly, both sides are correct. However, it is important to check and see what your child is doing, especially on social media. Just make sure that you are being honest and upfront with your child before you do so. The last thing you want as a parent is for your child not to have a reason to trust you. Of course, the same can be said about them.
Sure, there are a lot of parents who know that their kids are playing different gaming apps every day. But do you know what gaming apps your kids have? Also, do you know if their accounts are private or if they have access to in-app messaging services? Those are just a few things to look out for.
Yes, gaming apps aren’t exactly what you would call social media, but they do sometimes have similar functions. Little do parents know that strangers can reach out to unsuspecting kids on games like Minecraft and Roblox the same way they can reach out to them on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Another thing that many parents don’t do is check their children’s photos on their phones. Many parents often find themselves pretty surprised by the content that they find there. That’s not to say that kids are only taking inappropriate photos. But instead they often waste their storage space by taking photos of everything and anything. Also, discuss with your children the meaning of consent. They should always ask before taking someone’s photo or posting it online. The same applies to them. Make sure others have your child’s consent before posting their photo online, too. There are actually a lot of parents out there that don’t want their children’s photos online or on social media at all.
While a lot of emphasis is usually put on social media and gaming apps, parents should also check out what their kids are looking at on their browsers. More often than not kids will have multiple browsers or tabs open in their phones. Moms and dads should have an open and honest discussion with their kids about the web sites that they frequent, the content that they either look at or read and overall online safety. While parents do everything they can to guard their kids in the real world, the online world poses many different risks at just one click of a button.
Check for In-App-Purchases
Last but definitely not least, also check your child’s phone for in-app purchases, especially if they have their own account. The last thing that you want is a surprise bill on your credit card, especially if it comes in the form of a gaming app or another app that unlocks hundreds of different selfie filters. Yes, a lot of parents can agree that these are a huge waste of money yet kids don’t see it the same way. If you can’t trust that your child will make the right decisions online, then simply deactivate their account or better yet, don’t give them your credit card details.