In this article we will try to explain why parents should use parental control apps to make sure their kids are safe online. Having a safe online environment for our kids is nowadays a necessity. This is because much of the world is now online and it is inevitable that your kids will be too. If you are a parent of a child or teenager, is parental control software or app a tool you should deploy? Failure and your kid or teenager stands exposed to the snow balling online risks that are now all too common. This article should give you certain incentives that would make any responsible parent try them out.
Parental control apps should be viewed positively. This is because a child will have their entire adult life to explore the web without limits. At their stage of cognitive development, kids especially those below 12 need some level of supervision. There is no reason why this should not include their online activities
Parental control mechanisms vary as widely as their application. They range from controls installed in browsers like Internet explorers to specialized software. They all enable a parent to monitor or regulate time spent online as well as content browsed.
What are Parental Control Apps and How Do They work?
Parental control apps for parents are must-haves for your peace of mind. These are third-party applications that will be installed in a compatible device, such as smartphones and tablets. In most cases, you will have to install it on your device and the device that you would like to monitor. Many apps won’t require jailbreaking and rooting. Once it is installed, you can now start monitoring your child’s phone, including calls, texts, social media activities, location, and emails, among others.
The best parental control apps are crucial for protecting your loved ones. While this is technically spying your kid’s whereabout, it is a justifiable act. This is far from being unethical since your main concern is to protect your child. For instance, it will let you know if they are talking to possible perpetrators or if they are visiting age-inappropriate websites.
What are the Dangers of Internet for Young People?
Need more compelling reasons to use parental control apps for smartphones, tablets, and computers? The internet is a dangerous place for kids, and that alone is already a major reason why they need protection. Here are some of the dangers of internet, which you can better manage with the help of good parental control apps:
- Pornography: Without the right controls in place, kids can access pornographic content online. It can radically change the sexual belief and attitudes of kids in such a way that is inappropriate for their age.
- Cyberbullying: Kids being kids online can lead to bullying. A simple post in a social media site can trigger reactions from bullies. Hurtful words can be exchanged and rumours can spread like wildfire.
- Violence: The internet has tons of violent contents, including those that include guns and fights. This can shape the minds of kids and might make them think that getting violent is an acceptable behaviour.
- Social Media: Social media can be a good thing. It defies geographical boundaries to connect kids to their family and friend. At the same time, it can also be used by perpetrators. It can also be a platform for bullying. Kids can also talk to people they do not know.
- Malware: When kids are unsupervised in their online activities, they can accidentally download malware. Without their knowledge, it can start stealing sensitive information from their phones.
Here are some of the major reasons to use parental control:
Child and Cyber Safety
These are the deadliest risks there could be. For instance, cyber-crime is a multibillion-dollar industry that takes advantage of people worldwide. This is in the form of malware and even ransomware. Ransomware is quite potent because it effectively grounds computer operation.
Pedophiles use the internet as their choice hunting ground for victims. Cyberspace offers unlimited disguise and ability to build trust slowly. Victims of such a crime only realize the cover when it’s too late.
To achieve greater protection, you can ban a select list of sites or type of forums. Kids are generally inquisitive and by their early teens are seeking to really explore. Besides, there is the option of using child-friendly browsers as a means of parental control. These flag certain platforms and prevent such dangerous encounters.
Smart devices can be a potent distraction, unsurprisingly, kids that have less self control, are more likely to get addicted to gaming devices and phones as this becomes their main mean of communication and playtime. Look around you, it is very common to find kids nowadays spending hours at a time glued to these devices.
There are certain side effects of excessive screen-time, as we described in our article should parents limit screen time and the primary ones are intense arousal, sleep disorders and even obesity, but probably most parents are concerned with time wasting meaning that other priorities like studies and sports activities take a back seat.
Besides, there are other side effects like: bad posture, poor eyesight, inadequate sleep and lack of physical activity. Not to mention the aggressiveness and intolerance. These are all horrible in the long term and a responsible parent must do whatever it takes to control such.
Parents can designate media-free time and initiate activities like taking walks as a distraction, some parental control apps even allow parents to set tasks that once completed reward more screen time. But as we are not around the kids for many ours you can definitely use the time management features in most of the parental control apps. Most of the platforms like Youtube and Facebook offer parental control features to some level and apple does so as well in its latest versions, you can read our guide on how to put parental control on Facebook to learn further. A good example is the Google Family link to control screen time. This software can also keep track of daily limits and impose designated bedtimes.
Online Reputation and Privacy
In this Snapchat and Instagram generation where pretty much anything flies, this issue is of paramount importance. Kids are likely to follow trends and peer influence is an all too common occurrence. As a result, some post stuff that later comes back to haunt them. A good example of a parental control app that is doing a fine job monitoring the social media activity of your children is Qustodio and if you have the app installed make sure to use their advanced facebook monitoring tool.
This is one area where advice can apply not only to teens but also young adults. By virtue of the fact that much of our lives are online, it is not inconceivable to imagine future employees using a stupid post against your otherwise qualified child.
Therefore, teach kids the importance of balancing self-expression with a certain level of civility. You wouldn’t want your kid to be the next meme, right? There is even the option of following your kids social media account just to keep tabs. This way, you could always stay on top of things and ensure aspects like their privacy are not compromised.
This has everything to do with sensitivity and proper decision making. Having that cognitive skill to be polite and tolerant comes from positive parenting and reinforcement. There are certain social platforms out there that are no place for very young teens as they can get exposed to things that are rated G which might create aggressiveness and other bad behavior patterns.
Cyberbullying is yet another frontier in the internet etiquette battle. This is because it comes all too often that young adults and kids mock others for aspects of their lives they can’t control like disabilities. At the very least teach your kids the importance of respect and understanding. These can go a long way in shaping them to be responsible citizens.
When kids are online, they can make unauthorized purchases using your credit card. For instance, they can download games and they can buy items using your money. This is a horror story that any parents would not want to experience. Parental control iPhone and Android have features that will prevent this from happening.
With the right parental control app, you can block all online purchases without your permission. When kids try to buy a game in the AppStore, the transaction will be declined. You will also be immediately notified so that you will know that your kid is trying to purchase something online.
Should you use Parental Control Apps as last resort?
Yes, you should use apps parental control as your last resort. This will provide you with peace of mind. As parents, you have the inherent duty to do what is best for your child, and a parental control app might be the one that can help. It is a great way to prevent cyberbullying, malware, unauthorized purchases, and access to age-inappropriate content, among other things.
We certinaly hope that the article above convinced you why parents should use parental control apps. Its importance does not have to be backed by empirical values for one to realize that they are indispensable. Indeed, one may argue that a kid could end up on either side regardless of your efforts. However, it is better to fail knowing that you tried rather than failing for not trying.
Read our recommendation for the best free parental control apps.