Protect Your Kid from Online Dangers That Seems to Appear Constantly
One of the first things most parents think about when it comes to their children phone use is how much are their kids responsible for the freedom these devices are giving them and will they stay within the boundaries you’ve set. Most kids think about phones as cool gadgets that let them always stay in touch with their friends and allow them to always have internet access.
Kids today are using their phones for gaming, texting and posting pictures or videos and commenting on them with friends that are sitting a few feet from them in the park. This is just the way they play these days, and like it or not they probably won’t change that. Even if you set some boundaries about how much your child can spend playing with its phone every day, as long as they use the phone for this harmless fun you shouldn’t have any concerns. But sometimes things can go beyond this and if you don’t act in time your kid can have some serious consequences or even become a victim of some online predator.
Teens and pre-teen kids don’t usually think about the consequences of their social network activities, the risks of visiting inappropriate web sites, jokes they post about their friends or communicating with people they hardly know. As a parent it could be hard sometimes to explain them that everything they post on internet stays their permanently and that inappropriate comments or pictures can come to haunt them in the years that come. Responsible behavior is simply something kids don’t take as serious as adults do.
The biggest concern every parent has is the fact that constant internet access can make them vulnerable to all sorts of online predators, from those that use your kids for all kind of online purchases, those that attack your kids’ phone with malicious software to very dangerous sex predators that use chat rooms and online games to lure your kids into meeting them in person.
Recent case you might saw in the news of a young kid meeting, what he thought was a 12-year old girl who turn out to be convicted sexual predator, shows you how unmonitored online fun could turn out to be every parent’s nightmare. Young 11-year old kid met a friend on one of those online games you can play with people all over the world. “She” said she was 12-years old and even gave him an access to her social network profile so they can chat easier. In the next few days they start to talk every day and she asked him a lot of questions about the place he lives, his parents and what they do and all sort of personal information without ever telling much about her. He never knew where she’s from or what her real name is, and whenever he asked her these questions she avoided answering. Since this boy had boundaries on how much he can text or chat on his phone every day, she started to convince him to lie to his parents about his phone activities and even showed him how to use some apps to delete or hide these chat and text messages. After that she started to ask him more about his parents and especially about the time they are usually not home so she can come visit him in person. It was by accident that the parents find out about this when they caught their kid on chat after hours. They alerted the police and it turned out that the 12-year old girl was actually a convicted sexual predator looking for his new victim.
As chilling as this story is it’s hard to blame the child for what might have happen even if he knows better than to talk to strangers. With teen and pre-teen kids you can hardly expect serious responsibility when it comes to phone use, simply because they don’t see all the dangers out there. It’s our job as parents to point out these dangers and to monitor the way they use their phone.
There are a lot of different ways on how to monitor your child’s phone use. If you don’t want to listen to every call he or she makes or read every message you should check your child’s phone from time to time and see installed apps or chat messages. There are a lot of apps that let you delete information from your phone. Apps like Vapor that deletes all messages after they are read or Wickr that also lets you delete information you don’t want anyone to see could be useful for some adults, but if you find them installed on your kid’s phone then something might be wrong, and you should talk to your kid about them. A young child shouldn’t be hiding messages he or she sends, and this might be a sign that your child is doing something he or she shouldn’t.
Many parents feel like they are losing the battle with their kids’ online activities. With so many dangers out there some parents have no choice but to spy on their kids occasionally. Here are some apps that can help you monitor your child phone, and make sure your child is responsible when using its phone:
My Mobile Watchdog – Parents use this app usually to remotely block apps or access to some web sites on their child’s phone. It also lets you locate the phone, and sends you reports that include phone logs, text messages and every new contact your child enters in the phone. This is a great way to see where your kid goes with its friends and to find out about the people he or she stays in contact.
mSpy – This is a great monitoring app available to all phone operating systems. It’s easy to install and you will have in depth reports about all calls, every text message even after they are deleted, internet activity phone location and more. You can use it too remotely control the phone, limit access to some features or lock the phone if you feel the need.
TxtWatcher – This is a text monitoring app for Android phones that will help you see your child’s text messages. The app is so sophisticated that it will alert you of any sexting or cyber-bullying and even flag alcohol and drug references in messages. It will also tell you your child location when it receives a message.