Should I track my child’s phone? What about their computer usage? These are questions a lot of parents grapple with. However, as a parent, you’re liable for your child’s behavior AND well-being — but you can’t supervise them when you’re not together. Heck, sometimes it’s tough to know what they’re doing on a digital device when they’re in the same room with you.
We don’t mean to scare you, but there are some legit reasons why a parent should track their child’s smartphone. Here are some reasons why followed by a list of tools that may help you.
Reasons Why I Should Track My Child’s Phone or Computer
Online Harassment and Bullying
Children are often embarrassed or scared to admit to their parents when they’re being cyberbullied. In other cases, the child is the cyberbully. Social media monitoring can help parents stay informed about online activities.
Driving is the greatest gift to a teenager, but their lack of experience can cause trouble. Some apps can monitor how fast the phone is moving and can send alerts if the speed exceeds a set limit. They can also lock out the ability to text while driving. Both of these are prudent features for monitoring new drivers.
Sure — you’re worried about drugs, but you might want to limit screen time or schedule your child’s screen time particularly if your child is not getting enough sleep. Or, if children spend more time on devices than playing outside or doing homework it’s best to be aware of it. When you spot the signs of social media addiction, you can get apps that block to set time limits on the child’s devices.
Spending Real Money on Virtual Trinkets
Some children should have apps blocked that connect their (or your) credit cards. There are gaming apps that allow kids to purchase items for gameplay through the app store, as well as other online purchasing options you may not love. These apps are often exploitive and can be absolutely devastating to your pocketbook.
This is huge. Children meet numerous people online, at school, after school, and they have hundreds of contacts. Do all these people have good intentions? Most do, but the threat is out there. Tracking tools allow you to know what apps your child is using and for how long.
Children and teens sometimes do not use their privacy filters when they communicate with their friends and (sometimes) with strangers. Make them aware that this can be dangerous. Predators often seek out the most vulnerable online users so it’s best to check in and monitor their online conversations.
Sexting is a federal crime. Still, some students send and collect nudes like people used to collect baseball cards. On one hand, that’s considered child pornography, which could spell trouble for the kid with the phone (and their parents). On the other side, teens who date can be pressured, or naively share nude photos of themselves. These photos seem innocuous at the time, but there’s always the risk that the relationship can go south and those photos get posted online in retaliation. Why? Because teens act emotionally rather than rationally when it comes to relationship dynamics. Having an app that can track your child’s phone activity can help.
The internet has all kinds of content — and some of it is adult. These days, even toddlers play with cell phones. Blocking or monitoring content can help make sure important conversations are had beforehand. Consider blocking all sites that contain sexually explicit, racist, or sexist content, as well as those that intentionally or unintentionally glorify drug use or self-harm.
Dangerous Apps for Kids
Kik and Whisper are examples of apps that can be dangerous for kids. Kik makes it difficult to identify the sender and receiver of messages and can be used to protect the identity of a predator. Whisper is a site where one can anonymously share secrets with location-based grouping. This app is also used by predators. There are many other apps that are similarly dangerous, so parents need to know what is on their kids’ devices.
Your Child Keeps Losing Their Phone
Seems simple, but knowing where a phone is can save a lot of grief and money.
You Made a Contract with Your Child
If you made a contract with your teen or child regarding their phone or computer use, then monitoring apps let you know if they’re keeping up their end of the bargain.