There are many parents who refuse to get their children a smartphone. They think there are so many dangers lurking on the other side of the phone, that it is not worth the danger. The other side of the coin is parents who purchase mature rated games for their 12-year-old and give them a cell phone as soon as they ask for it without any restrictions. Most parents fall somewhere in between. They want to give their children access to the tools available with a smartphone, but they want to help them stay safe.
Teach them proper use
One of the best reasons to allow your kids access to a monitored smartphone is so you can teach them how to use these devices properly. As adults who didn’t grow up with smartphones, we had to sort through how to use it ourselves. Many of us have failed, or are still failing to use these amazing devices properly! I always compare teaching proper technology use to money and chores.
You wouldn’t allow your child to turn 18 without ever having taught them proper money management. You give them an allowance, you teach them how to budget, so when they turn 18 and move out of the house, they understand how to manage their money. You also give them chores so they understand how to keep their house clean when they grow up. It is the same with technology. While they are in your care and are still willing to listen to you, teach them how to get the most out of technology, without getting sucked into some of the pitfalls of technology.
Through monitoring, you can teach them how to turn off their devices when necessary. You can also teach them when you find mistakes they have made. If they said or did something inappropriate, you are able to explain why those things are not allowed and help them make better choices in the future.
Protect them from inappropriate content
One of the biggest reasons most parents are interested in monitoring kids’ smartphones is to help protect them from the dangers that can lurk inside a smartphone. Pornography can appear in the most random places, and often you don’t even have to be looking for it. Using a filtered browser, and safe search settings can help keep most of the accidental inappropriate content to a minimum.
Through monitoring, you can also get reports on inappropriate content that your children are searching for, even if they don’t succeed in finding it. These reports can spark conversations about why certain things should not be viewed by them. You can also get reports on inappropriate content in text messages and other social media platforms. If someone is asking your child for pictures or your child is sending pictures that should not be seen, you can get notified so you can take appropriate action.
Watch for warning signs
Using monitoring tools you can keep your children safe by watching for warning signs that something is very wrong in your child’s life. There are so many news stories of children getting themselves into trouble, or even dying because of things that have happened within their phone. Some parents are shocked to know that their child has been communicating through an app they didn’t even know was on their child’s device! If you are actively monitoring your child’s device, you will know exactly what apps are in use, and you can block those you find that are damaging.
You can also see through monitoring if your child is bullying other children, or if they themselves are being bullied. These things can escalate quickly, and it’s important to be on top of it before it becomes a huge problem.
When you monitor your kids’ smartphone, you are not showing your child that you don’t trust them, you are simply helping teach them how to live in this digital world, the same way you teach them how to do chores and how to manage their money. It’s up to us to make sure the next generation of adults are up to the task. Are we up to the task to make sure they turn out OK?