Children and teenagers constitute a demographic that was born and grew up in an environment where digital technologies are pervasive. The rise of social media, widespread use of smartphones, and increased internet connectivity are all changes that occurred over the past ten years. The attitudes and norms of youngsters now reflect this technological trend. For example, a recent study showed that more than half of children own a smartphone by the age of 11, with a majority owning one by the time they turn 12. While this has provided exceptional opportunities for learning, socializing, and entertainment, there are dangers with technology use as well. These include addiction, cyberbullying, access to inappropriate content, loss of privacy, scams, interaction with cyber predators, and others. In this article, we will identify five ways you can improve your child’s digital safety.
Education lies at the heart of ensuring your children remain safe from harm. It requires you as a parent to make sure you understand the kind of threats present in the digital world, learn how to tackle them, and acknowledge the importance of technology in your child’s life. While you can read up on these issues, you can also engage your child to help them teach you as they may understand some things better than you. Furthermore, education is a continuous process that requires you to stay in touch with what is happening in the digital world. Teach your children to recognize challenges such as cyberbullying and how they can manage it. Similarly, if they learn to recognize scams in the digital world, they can do so in their practical affairs as well. A safety-first principle helps children to orient themselves in the world in an effective way. The core component of effective learning and education involves communication, and it brings us to the next item on our list.
Communication is an integral part of all human relationships and your relationship with your child is no exception to this. Your children will have better motivation to learn and practice what you teach them if you do so in an effective manner that does not invalidate how they feel. This requires you to accept the importance technologies like social media play in their social lives. Additionally, communication is also done non-verbally, where your children learn from the example you set with your digital behavior. Practicing digital safety yourself can help to impart the same skills to your child. Another important part of communication is the development of clear rules that all family members should follow. These can be about device overuse or sharing personal content on social media. Communicate with your child about these rules, make them feel part of the process, and be willing to use punishment if required, to enforce these rules.
3) Participation & Observation
Participation and observation are important behaviors that can help to improve your child’s safety. Participation requires that you engage in shared digital activities with your children. This can include playing video games, watching movies, or following each other on social media. These activities can be a part of family time as well. Similarly, observation requires you to keep a keen eye for subtle changes in your child’s behavior. Children, especially teenagers, are often hesitant in discussing things that they find distressing. If you notice unhealthy changes in their behavior, it could be because of cyberbullying or other similar problems. Participating in digital activities can help you be more observant of your children as well.
4) Practice Digital safety
We previously discussed how it is important to act as a role model for your child and how creating clear rules in the home can go a long way in providing safety. By practicing digital safety, you can encourage your children to follow your example. The rules you create should also be based on this. Install and update all apps, make sure there is adequate protection from malware by purchasing a well-reputed antivirus program, avoid using public Wi-Fi connections, and do not share personal data online. Be careful of who you interact with on social media, keep track of digital devices, do not use technology during specific activities such as while having dinner, and choose strong passwords. These are just some ways you can practice digital safety for yourself and your children.
5) Monitoring apps
Parental monitoring apps are designed for parents seeking to track the digital activities of their children without violating their privacy. Installing monitoring apps on your child’s phone can help you protect them from threats. There are plenty of such apps available for download on Android and iOS devices, but XNSPY is among the most sophisticated. The app offers features such as call monitoring with which you can view exactly who your child is talking to. A monitoring app such as XNSPY recognizes the importance of instant messaging apps and social media. You can view all sent and received messages, including those exchanged via apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, Tinder, LINE, or Kik. You can also track web-based activities such as bookmarks, emails, and browsing history. Additionally, a location tracking and geofencing feature allow you to identify exactly where your child is.
The remote control feature is particularly valuable as it allows you to block unsuitable apps, lock the device to limit screen-time, and even delete all data from the phone in case of theft to protect privacy. Instant alerts are another unique feature available with XNSPY. Just add a word, phrase, contact, or a location to the app’s watch list, and let XNSPY handle the rest. The app will keep track of everything in the watch list, and immediately notify you if there any activity related to it. This way, you can intervene in a timely fashion in case there is a danger. The app is affordable, compatible with a wide range of devices. Using a monitoring app, along with education, communication, digital safety, and direct participation can help your children get the most out of modern technologies while minimizing harm.