How Parents Can Help Protect Their Children from Online Dangers

May
2017
26

posted by on Cell phone safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Parenting, Parenting Teens

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Every parent has his or her own suspicions about their child’s cellphone use. With today’s technology the world is literally at the fingertips of our youth. Anything and everything you could possibly imagine can be found on the Internet, thus leading to overprotected parents and heavy monitoring on children. It is natural for a parent to be curious about what their child is doing on social media but there are definitely boundaries that should be set in place. Parents have the right and should be able to monitor their kid’s phone whenever and wherever they please, although there are healthy ways in doing so. Setting limits and boundaries are one of the many ways to do so. Doing otherwise can lead to lack of trust and broken relationships between parent and child.

With smartphones and tablets becoming more and more popular each day it seems like the age at which children first get their very own cellphone keeps getting younger. In fact, the average age for a child to receive their first phone in the year 2016 is between 10 and 11. One of the hardest questions parents find themselves asking at this stage is whether or not they should monitor their child’s phone, and how much. While many experts argue a strong yes or no, there are both pros and cons to each argument and that parents should monitor their kid’s phone as long as strict boundaries are established. For example the age of the child may have a huge impact on how much a parent is checking up on a child, or the amount of time spent monitoring may seem intrusive and over whelming. However, as long as these limits are in place parents should be able to monitor their children without being too overbearing.

Thanks to the evolution of our technology, children with smartphones have a great accessibility to communicating with the world. With that, comes meeting strangers from the Internet and the chance of being stalked or bullied through social media apps like Twitter or Facebook. This in fact is where age comes into play. Every parent’s worst nightmare is for their child to meet up with a stranger that they met online. To keep these things from accruing an age limit should be set for when children should be allowed to make their very own social media accounts. Parents can even opt into making joint accounts where the parent and child both have access and can post simultaneously before the child has reached the age to own their very own. A good age limit to set could be around 15 to 16 years of age. By this age they have finished elementary school and are getting ready to join high school. Parents should sit down with their kids and discuss the level of maturity it takes to create and own their very own social media account. Also only allowing children to download apps that are age appropriate is very important and allows the parent to still gain some control. For example apps like Tumblr or Whisper are specific for teens and adults ages 17 and up and are not suited for 10 year olds. It is very important for parents to check to make sure the child is downloading things that are age appropriate. A little checking up on the child does not hurt, although constant monitoring can cause strain on the parent-child relationship.

No matter how many times one might hope and pray that their child listens to what they tell them not to do, there is always that they slight chance that they will. Therefore, it is natural for parents to want to check up on them and make sure they are doing okay. Part of growing up means kids should be able to rely less and less on their parents. If a parent is too strict about cellphone use this can cause the child to be sneakier about their actions or can even lead to lying. In order for kids to grow up and mature parents must learn to not become intrusive and place trust in their children’s cellphone use. Parents should have boundaries when checking the phones. Without trust and boundaries, parents can abuse the child’s privacy by overstepping too much or too frequently which then can lead to an unhealthy relationship between the two.

Monitoring cellphones can be a tricky task to accomplish. There is no set right or wrong way to do it, which can make it very confusing and difficult. Setting limits and boundaries can definitely help. Parents are in fact entitled to know about what their child is doing, but a little trust and limitation can go a long way.

Contributor:

The KidGuard team consists of technology experts, researchers, and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems. Our sole mission is to protect your children online bringing awareness and inspiring solutions on issues of cyberbullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology.

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