Guard The Home Pt. 4 - Device Monitoring
“Kids just don’t go outside and play anymore.”
I’m absolutely sounding more and more like my parents as I get older. But if I’m honest, probably for some good reasons. Ultimately our society is changing technologically. And it’s changing QUICK. It feels like not that long ago that I was sitting in a college dorm where my roommate was showing off his brand-new iPhone 1. And now we just had the release of the iPhone 15. I really am getting old. I can remember a time before iPhones and iPads, but my kids were born with them. It’s amazing to watch a 3 year just instinctively navigate through their favorite games and video streaming apps. I even remember the first time my kids saw commercials and freaked out cause their show got cut off!
As we progress through this digital age it’s important that we make sure we take the time to learn, to monitor and help disciple our kids well when it comes to technology. I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the latest technology. So we want to give you some resources that’ll help you keep your kids protected from screen addiction, obscene content and even predators online.
Practical Tip: Set up screen and usage monitoring on your child’s devices. Have conversations with them about being safe online.
Common Sense Media held a survey in 2016 where over half of the teens that responded said that they felt ‘addicted’ to their mobile devices. Whether an addiction or not, the reality is that social media, gaming, movies and TV are designed be engaging. Companies like Facebook have created algorithms that generate annual revenue to the tune of over $100 billion. So as parents, how can we help set screen time limits?
If you have an iPhone there is a built in setting that you can use on your and your children’s phone to notify you of your screen time usage. There are even options for Downtime, App Limits and more. For more info, click here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208982
Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more hands on. Apps like Bark give you much more deeper control. The downside with these is that they usually come with subscription costs, but honestly, our kid’s protection is worth it. You can find more details at www.bark.us or even view other options with a pros and cons list at https://www.parents.com/parentsirl/best-parental-monitoring-apps/.
These options will also allow screening of messages, emails, calls, internet websites visited and so much more. It’ll give you much more control and details on exactly what your children are seeing and doing. As parents we want to believe that our kids aren’t viewing vulgar and violent material, porn or having inappropriate conversations with strangers, but I promise you it’s much more prevalent that you may think. It’s wise to set safeguards and monitors to help you. But you should also know that kids are smart. And they can work around some of these things. If you don’t know what an VPN or hidden browsers are, please take the time to do some research.
Like I mentioned earlier, our society is changing very rapidly when it comes to technology. And unfortunately, there are predators out there who are using this rapid change to take advantage of children in ways that parents just don’t even know about. Keep an eye out for hidden chat rooms in various apps, especially in games. Predators like to use these because many monitoring apps won’t pick them up. If you haven’t talked with your kids about online safety here’s a great blog that can help you start the conversation: https://www.safesearchkids.com/how-to-protect-your-child-from-online-predators/.
At the end of the day, we’re called to be our kid’s parent first, before we’re their friend. These levels of monitoring may come across as hard or even intrusive but know that they’ll help protect your children and their minds. If there’s any way that we can try to assist you, please let us know!
Check out our other blog posts in the Guard the Home Series: