Published: November 2020
As a parent, there’s nothing more important than keeping your child safe. But it can be hard to know how to do that once your child gets a phone and becomes active online.
The majority of Australian children surpass the recommended two-hour daily screen time limit. In fact, by the age of 13, most kids get between three to four hours of screen time per day. With all that time spent online, how can you keep track of the types of apps they’re using or make sure they’re visiting age-appropriate websites?
It’s impossible to monitor their internet usage at all times. So what parameters can you put in place to keep your children safe? That is exactly what we’ll discuss in this blog post.
Popular Apps and Sites for Kids
Before you can work on strategies to keep kids safe, it’s helpful to know the types of games, apps, and sites that are popular among kids. Here are some of the most popular sites among kids and teens:
- YouTube: YouTube is a place to share and view videos and it can be a great educational resource. However, there is also a lot of inappropriate content on the platform. And the comment section can be incredibly negative and difficult for kids to handle.
- Snapchat: Snapchat is a social media app for kids ages 12 and up. Users can send photos and videos that disappear after they’ve been received. This can lead teens to make poor choices and send inappropriate content which can be screenshot by viewers.The problem is that data is still data, so nothing truly “disappears” after you send it. And there can be serious repercussions to sending explicit photos and texts online.
- Kill Messenger: Kill Messenger is a messaging app that is designed to have a face-to-face feel. The app is for age 17 and up but since there’s no age-verification anyone can download it. And the app has reportedly been used for cyberbullying and for sending sexually-explicit messages.
- Jailbreak programs: Though not technically an app, it’s important parents be aware of jailbreak programs. This involves hacking your mobile device to download third-party apps not available in the App Store or Google Play. Teens typically use these programs to download sketchy apps that you probably don’t want them viewing.
How to Prioritise Safety Online
So now that you understand some of the dangers kids face online, what steps can you take to prioritise safety online? Well, this starts by having a conversation with your child.
Find out what apps they’re using and ask them if they’ve experienced cyberbullying or any other inappropriate behaviour online. Of course, there’s always the chance they won’t be completely honest, but asking these questions at least opens up a dialogue.
Next, it’s a good idea to look into apps that will help you monitor your child’s internet usage. For instance, an app like Qustodio comes with a detailed dashboard to help you track your child’s internet usage.
It and similar apps allow you to do things like:
- Track your child’s location
- Block certain apps
- Monitor their contacts, calls, and text messages
- Filter internet content
It’s also a good idea to set time limits for your child on all of their devices so they don’t engage in too much screen time. And you can set age limits on their device so it’s harder for them to gain access to certain sites.
It’s impossible to monitor your child’s internet usage at all times. But being aware and setting limits wherever possible will go a long way toward keeping your child safe online.
And if your current internet plan isn’t quite what you need it to be, you should check out the plans offered by MyRepublic. We offer flexible high-speed internet plans with unlimited data, so it’s a great option for the entire family.