Monitoring Your Kids Phone
I’m sure it’s difficult to be a parent. You do your best to enforce rules and raise respectful kids, just to have them find thousands (and I think that’s a literal count) of ways to go around your guidelines to do what they want. With technology advancing as quickly as it is, parents struggle to keep up with the latest trends their kids are doing. Kids get away with partying and sending inappropriate things right under their parent’s noses.
Before I go any further, this isn’t a blog to shame you, parents. This blog is meant as a helpful tool for you to protect your children. Maybe it’s a wake up call or a friendly reminder for you. Either way, the goal is for us to work together in keeping your kids and their friends safe.
Here are a few apps to start looking for when you do a routine check of your child’s phone:
Snapchat seems fun and safe at first glance. It’s a great app to keep in touch with friends and the filters can make for some pretty hilarious photos! However, when used unsupervised or underage, it can be highly dangerous. Snapchat allows for its users to connect with contacts in their phone, but also random (possibly strangers) people around them. They can message their “friends” all day, without worry because the texts delete themselves. This often opens the door to sexting and other inappropriate conversations our children shouldn’t be having.
Snapchat also becomes dangerous when we take a look at the content shared. For many teens, they consider it ok to share inappropriate content including pictures or videos of them partying, drinking, doing drugs, or without clothes on because the snap disappears in seconds. They forget people can screenshot what they see, or use another phone to record and save videos. And, if I remember correctly, I believe Snapchat itself has implemented a saving feature as an update, making it easier to incriminate someone with their snaps.
As a parent, it is imperative to teach your child that snaps do no simply go away and can even be used against them with the authorities if they are caught doing something illegal and inappropriate.
Instagram is also an app that appears to be safe at first glance. If we are being honest, it is one of my favorite apps, which means it breaks my heart more to include it on this list.
Often, kids engrossed in Instagram become obsessed with gaining followers and likes. They begin to rely on people to tell them they are accepted. It’s ok to want people to like your photos. It becomes an issue when kids base their self worth on how many likes their selfie received. Teens tend to take critical blows to their self esteem when someone posts nasty comments about them.
It’s also becoming a trend to create fake Instagram accounts. Often, kids will make accounts to degrade and make fun of other kids around them anonymously. The fake accounts can also lead to kids following and being followed by strangers much older than them, asking them to post or direct message some naughty things.
SARAHAH AND ASK.FM
Both of these apps are question and answer platforms. They allow users to ask or post anonymous things to people. Some questions may be harmless, but when someone can get away with saying harmful things without taking responsibility for it, the chances of leaving something negative increase exponentially.
Sarahah has become a popular to rate or size up people. Often someone will send out a message with “TBH” (To Be Honest) followed by “honest” opinions about people they wish to talk about. More often than not, this becomes a breeding ground for cyberbullying. This app can also be linked to a Snapchat account, increase the odds of finding strangers and discussing inappropriate content.
AUDIO MANAGER AND CALCULATORS
These apps are used to hide certain files on a person’s phone. If a kid knows their parent will be doing a phone check, they may download these apps to hide other apps or photos they don’t want to be seen.
One of the tricky parts about Audio Manager and Calculator is just that – they look like what they say they are! It’s easy to overlook a calculator app because how harmful can that be?? These apps can be twice as tricky because they also include a feature to make it look empty or unused if someone who doesn’t need to see inside finds it.
Please note, this blog is not necessarily meant for you to take all apps off your child’s phone immediately. It’s a way to help you teach your child about the potential dangers of using them inappropriately. It’s also about teaching your children how to be responsible and respectable to their peers and to themselves. Technology doesn’t have to be the enemy if we stay informed and aware.