The age when kids get access to cell phones continues to get younger and younger. It appears that 95% of families with children ages 0 – 8 have smartphones. This is probably because cell phones, Android or iPhone, have evolved into computer-like devices. They are not just used for texting or calling anymore. Users can accomplish tasks and errands like attending webinars, online shopping, or paying bills.
Kids and teens are often glued to their phones as they can comfortably surf the internet, access social networking sites, join online gaming platforms, or binge-watch their favorite shows. The problem, however, is that cell phones are enhanced to offer awesome features and cool apps, making them addictive.
Aside from addiction, phone usage is susceptible to several dangers, especially when used to connect to the internet. Hence, if you’ve bought your child a smartphone, you must be privy to the parental controls available on cell phones and the internet. Leverage technology to protect your child from the dangers of technology.
Android Built-In Features
Android phones have built-in parental control features that could restrict in-app purchases, set screen time limits, block inappropriate content, and more. Most Android devices allow multiple users where you can customize which apps are to be shown or can be accessed, as well as turn off or on certain settings. To do so, simply navigate to the Settings, select Users, then click on Add User.
If your child’s device is a Samsung, however, this option may not be available in some of its newer models. Nevertheless, Samsung offers several parental control options. Also, there’s a Parental Controls option on Google Play that you can quickly toggle on and off.
iPhone Built-In Features
Apple is well-known for its security features; them creating their own processor, operating system, and even their own app store is a sign of their good faith and commitment. iPhones offer reliable built-in parental controls that are readily available for use upon purchase, and free of charge. Through these settings, you could prevent your child from accessing age-inappropriate sites, viewing violent content, getting contacted by unknown users, and a lot more.
For iPhones with iOS 12, you can easily enable these features by choosing This is My Child’s [Device] under the Screen Time option on the Settings page.
Third-Party Parental Control Apps
Aside from the built-in features, you could also utilize downloadable parental control apps that you can easily acquire on Google Play, Apple Store, or directly from reputable providers.
These apps are programmed with a child’s safety in mind. A trustworthy third-party parental control app could also limit screen time, block accesses, track locations, and a lot more. Moreover, such software patches security loopholes, ensuring not only your kid’s safety from online dangers but the device’s safety itself. You can choose from a long list of available apps in the market, including Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family, and Google Family Link.
Third-Party Monitoring Software
If you want to go fully on-board, you could also invest in reliable and trustworthy phone spy apps to monitor your child and ensure their safety. These offer several features like location tracking, text message viewing, online activities monitoring, and phone settings controlling.
These monitoring apps generate and feed data in real-time, making it easier for parents to address any issues before the situations get too late for them and their children. Some of these also offer remote installation and stealth access for more efficiency.
Create A Cell Phone Contract With Your Child
Before you buy and give your child a cell phone, create a comprehensive cell phone contract. Go as detailed as you can, but be sure to present it in an easy-to-understand format. You could include in the contract rules regarding phone usage such as screen time and the only allowable sites or apps to be accessed. You should also explicitly state red flags such as using their devices for sexting, cyberbullying, stalking, age-inappropriate content viewing, and the like. Then, specify the possible consequences should they violate any of the enlisted rules and regulations.
To make your child’s phone contract more formal and to add more weight to it, you could include other essentials and specifics such as, but not limited to, your names, details, and specs of the phone, who’s responsible for the maintenance costs, who needs to pay for any needed parts or accessories, declaration of understanding, and signature sections.
To show your good faith, you should disclose any parental control apps you plan to install or you have already installed. Additionally, set expectations that all passwords, PINs, and codes must be known by both parties. Most importantly, take time to discuss all this with your child and ensure they do grasp the responsibilities and risks involved in owning a cell phone.
It’s natural for parents to want to protect their children as much as possible. Due to the seemingly endless dangers lurking both in the real world and virtual world, parents need all the help they can get – from parental control software to psychological tricks.