Messaging apps like Whatsapp, Kik and Snapchat have made it super easy for your kids to keep in touch with their friends from school, sports clubs, or even online games. It also opens up the door for them to chat with bad and unsavory characters, in other words, people much older than them. Snapchat for instance has a ridiculous feature where images and videos automatically erase themselves. Many other apps like Whisper and Blendr, have anonymous messaging, and offer users the ability to chat with strangers, while making self-destructing messages, photos, and videos key selling features. These apps are breeding grounds for possible abuse/bullying by other kids or malicious adults and can be dangerous for your kids. They also destroy any evidence of said abuses.
Games like Fortnite and PUBG are revolutionizing the world of gaming for adults and kids abound. Most major franchises or game titles have a mobile component (e.g. Final Fantasy or Mortal Kombat have all made their way to mobile). FIFA allows kids to track their players stats through the FIFA app, PUBG mobile is a full-on battle royal gaming experience right in the palm of your hands. With this new accessibility, comes new risks, and a host of new questions all parents should be asking. Who are your kids playing with online? Are they playing with kids their age? Console systems like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One make it really easy for your kids to “friend people” they’ve met online in games (so they might team up later on another match). Multiplayer mobile games are no different. It might be important to find who exactly your kids are making friends with and playing with online.
Youtube has made it really easy for your kids to share their gameplay, music videos, or sports mashups that they made themselves on their iphones or android devices. It’s an outlet for them to express themselves, and maybe even get noticed. Singers like Justin Bieber or Shawn Mendes were noticed and signed after releasing videos on Youtube and Vine. While most kids are not going to be the next American (or Canadian) superstar, Youtube is still an important way for them to become creators. It’s also a great way for them to access new music, game and movie trailers, and soak up culture and information.
Posting their own content however can open them up to bullying, as comment sections aren’t exactly known for being nice. A lot of people are downright nasty and trollish, telling people their content is awful, or worse that they’re content is stupid or dumb. Another major issue with Youtube is that they’re algorithm will sometimes suggest content to kids that isn’t wholly appropriate. Youtube is actually embroiled in a scandal right now about how even on Youtube kids the algorithm was showing children violent and suggestive content. Not to mention the chance your eight year old might become a flat earther or anti-vaxxer because Youtube told him or her so. Simply put, it might be a good idea to know what your kids are posting on Youtube and what they’re watching. Most of the time it’ll probably be music (rap and what not) or bad humor videos (Jake Paul is just terrible), but you never know till you ask.
Social media sites like Instagram and facebook have made it so we can all stay connected with each other around the clock. It’s no different for your kids. Most of the time your kids are probably just posting about what they ate, or who they hung out with, but putting personal information out like that can put your kids in serious danger. Do strangers really need to know where Paulina went to eat on Monday? Do rando followers need to know she has swim practice at the YMCA? It’s information like that that parents need to look out for. Monitor your kids pages. That goes the same for who they’re following, and who might be following them. Does your 13 year old son or daughter really need to be followed by a bunch of adults? Maybe not. Like with Youtube, social media can open your kids up to abuse and bullying. A lot of kids have been made fun of, or had sensitive images posted about them on social media accounts. It’s really important to check your kids profiles every day and see what other people (maybe even friends of theirs) are saying about them in the comments sections. The more you know, the better. Stopbullying.gov has a great resource for how to keep your kids safe on social media.
Solution #1: There’s an app for that
While you might think it’s a little overboard to consider installing spyware apps on your kids phones, with all the dangers out there, it may not be such a bad idea. We live in a tech dominated world, where there is literally an app for everything. Why not an app to peak in what your kids are doing? Or, to monitor who they’re messaging, calling, or emailing? Spyware apps can be a great way to not only monitor activity, but to restrict it as well, by logging calls, blocking disturbing websites, limiting screen time, restricting abusive applications, scheduling use time, and so on and so forth. If you are truly interested in a spyware app to help monitor and control your kids activity on their phones checkout https://cellphonetrackersoftware.com, it’s a great resource for spyware apps.
Solution #2: Stay in the know, talk to your kids
Okay, so you’re not really into putting the “parent tracker” on your kids phone. You wholly believe your kids are trustworthy and generally don’t get into trouble (especially online). We’d say the best thing to do is have a talk. Set some guidelines, like limiting the amount of time they can be on their phones. Does little Jimmy really need to play PUBG mobile for 10 hours? Probably not. It would also be nice to see your kids faces every once in a while, or to enjoy dinner with other human beings, instead of a bunch of zombies staring at their phones.
Ask your kids about what they’re doing, who they’re playing with, or what apps they’re using on their phones. Just talking to them, showing interest without judgement, can go along way. But if you’re like a lot of parents, burned out, tired as all hell from a hard days work, you may not have the time to be a “helicopter parent”. In that case, an all powerful knowing app may just be the way to go.
Would you consider installing a spyware app on your kids phones to monitor what they’re doing or even limit their access? If not, tell us why you’re against it. Let us know in the comment section below.