Stop the screen-time debate and start following these parental control measures

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By Caroline Garcia
Last updated: September 18, 2018

Parenting now has become a smartphone debate not just with kids but with other parents.“How much time should my kid spend on their tablet?” “What’s the right age to buy my kid a phone?” “What screen-time rules should I implement?” These questions have turned into a debate. In case you are here wondering when to start setting up parental controls to limit the access to technology, now is a perfect time.

Despite the use of built-in parental controls on apps, tabs, and iPads, young children still spend 2 hours per day on their screens. Depending on their age, kids can easily get around the digital parental controls limits and access inappropriate content on the web or even cause self-harm. They may end up sharing personal information on social media that can become a source of bullying if circulated online.

For parents, it is hard to cut off their children’s digital media access, but if you believe that screen addiction is becoming a problem, then you can always exercise some aggressive parental control tactics. Stephen Balkam, the CEO and founder of the Family Online Safety Institute says that the best parental control out there is talking to your kid and we couldn’t agree more! Every child and a teen is different and there is no one-size fit to keep your kids safe online but here is what you can do:

No to social media if your kid is under 13 years

The Online Privacy Protection Act for Children makes it illegal for kids under 13 to sign up for social media networks and websites that gather user data. Some parents have let their young ones sign up for Facebook Messenger for kids since is meant for kids between 6 and 12 years. This app’s parental control measures lets you check your child’s contacts, messages and even set time limits. Some health experts and child advocates think it should completely shut down because it can push kids towards smartphone addiction at an early. In short, keep your kid away from social media until they are 13.

Get them dumb phones

Some parents can’t imagine leaving their 5-year-old at a friend’s place without a source of contact.  They want to be able to reach their kids in case of an emergency. Instead of getting them a smartphone, why not get them a dumb phone (like a flip phone that lets you call and text only). They can use it to contact you in case of an emergency.

Use third-party parental monitoring apps

If your kid has a device that lets them surf the web, then it’s a good idea to use a parental monitoring app. They allow you to control a phone beyond the default iOS or Android settings. Since these apps have to be installed on your child’s device, as a parent you must consider their privacy, especially if you have older kids.

One of our recommended parental monitoring app sis Xnspy. It lets parents block websites or apps, block the device and limit the time kids spend on their tablets or smartphones by blocking the device itself. Xnspy’s Basic Plan starts from $8.33 a month and it allows parents to monitor social media, calls, text messages, web browsing, and even track location etc. You can also pay for the Premium Plan that costs $12.99 a month and get access to advanced monitoring features like keylogger and ambient recording. A good thing is Xnspy is a highly compatible app. It supports all Android and iOS devices. For iPhone, no installation is required, you just need iCloud credentials to pair the app with the device you want to monitor.

Parental monitoring apps have enabled some serious snooping. Although parents use them to keep their children safe, if you are dealing with a teenager, then it can shake the grounds of trust in the relationship. Your kid will certainly feel violated if they find everything they are doing online is being monitored. That’s why it’s best to have a conversation with your kid about using a parenting monitoring app. Let them know why you want to monitor them. You can even set guidelines on how your kid is going to use their mobile device and how much and when you will monitor them.

Most of all, have a conversation

As mentioned above, there is no better parental control measure than talking to your child. Your kid is going to be online no matter what you do. It’s better if you teach them how to be careful when a stranger tries to talk them on the web and what they should share on social media. For youngsters, it is pretty normal to talk to strangers and share their personal lives online. It can happen when they are playing a video game online or if they are running their own Instagram page. Your job is to engage with your kid and tell them how they can be more socially responsible online. They must know how to respond in the online communities the right way. Most of all, they must know that their self-esteem isn’t based on the number of likes and comments they get on social media. Be a good role model and foster good media habits in them and they will turn out to be ok.



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