Online safety: Grooming/Apps that can help protect you, your children and teenagers from online hazards
“Hey, Becky you can’t go there”, “you can’t watch that content”, “don’t chat with strangers”, and so on are the cautionary sermon most parents say to their children and teens that have access to the Internet. Who knows, probably if that is what you say to your kids too. Well, we can’t blame you, after all, the reason is to protect them from viewing inappropriate content, interacting with strangers, and other harmful situations that may hurt them.
Gone are the days that children and teens of all ages play with their mates, read books, and other physical activities when they are idle. Today, the situation is now indescribable as many of them have unlimited access to various social media and interact with them on daily basis.
All this would have been nothing, after all, the world is now in a digital age and it’s a sign that our kids are adjusting to technological advancement. But while being realistic, the internet can not be trusted and can be tempting. As a parent I’m sure you understand all its tricks, after all, there are times you want to check a thing and you’ll end up spending 5 hours surfing the internet. If that’s the case, you’ll be playing with a mousetrap allowing your children and teens to roam free on the internet.
Now that saving your children and teenagers from the Internet debris is the priority, what should you do? First, it’s advisable you enlighten your kids on cyber safety and digital citizenship and don’t ever think they are too young to comprehend the message. Even so, you’ll need to monitor their online activity until they can control themselves. But before that, ensure you actively control their mobile devices, laptop, and internet usage. This will be easier, so far you live in the same house. However, there are cases you may not be around to watch their online activity, what can you do to keep them safe?
The beauty of this scenario is that the technology that exposes them to the unimaginable will also serve as the whistleblower but in a different way. Technology has made provision for several tools, app, and software that gives you an edge over your kids! Yes, we used the term ‘edge’, because these kids, sometimes, may try to outsmart parents by hiding somewhere they thought invisible. But with these products, you’ll be the king of the jungle. These apps or software let you monitor your kid’s Internet activities as well as effective in restricting them from going overboard, interacting with strangers, and more.
A novice may term your action as being overprotective, meddling, or spying. Most of them may conclude that your kids need to expose without your interference to learning adequately. But that’s wrong! Let them call you whatever pleases them, what matters is that you are being an accountable and involved parent!
We’ve compiled the 4 best browser toolbars, software, and apps to help you monitor and keep your kids and teenagers safe while surfing on the internet. These parameters or gadgets are divided into 2 categories, namely, ” The children safety apps and Teen Online Safety Apps.”
Children Safety Apps : (1 - 9 years)
Do you have kids that love surfing the net? The following software is perfect for keeping your kids where you want them to be.
The Parental Control Bar
This is one of the best platforms created to help responsible parents curb their children from accessing the wrong website. As effective as it is in what it does, you can access it for free. So what do you need to access it? The platform can only be operated by iOS and Apple devices or laptops. Once you have one of these handy, all left is to install the program and keep any of your children from accessing inappropriate content.
How it works:
Its operation is simple and requires no technical knowledge. As a parent, compiled the list of unwanted sites you won’t want your kids to access. Add these sites to either ‘always blocked’ or ‘always allowed’ as you deem fit. Once your children try to access a platform, the toolbar will conduct a quick (within nanoseconds) scan to check if the site is self-labeled or has been added to the “always blocked” category. This tool works perfectly in restricting nosy kids from going beyond their boundaries. Although, it should be noted that there is no platform without flaw; therefore, parents should be active in monitoring their kid’s online activity as time permits. Nevertheless, the parental control toolbar is effective in restricting kids from checking out inappropriate content
This is another impressive gadget, a cloud-filtering apparatus to be precise, that will help you restrict your kids from checking inappropriate contents. What makes it more outstanding is that it can also be used in school settings or businesses. Unlike others, Mobicip operates on almost all the operating systems (iOS, APK, and Apple). With just a Mobicip account, you’ll be able to restrict and monitor your kid’s browser history on all the mobile devices or laptops they have access to. The only difference in its use is that only the basic feature is free; the premium package which you’ll have access to other features may cost $39.99 per year.
How it works:
Unlike The parental control bar, Mobicip is an application, browser apps to be precise, that can be installed on most devices (APK, iOS, Apple). As a responsible parent, you should set this app as the default browser. Now, dive through the settings and set the age of your kids at the filtering bar as that determines what the search engine will make available whenever he/she is trying to access any page. And do not forget to enable the Report Only function, to have a comprehensive report of sites, videos, pictures, and more your children is viewing online in real-time. The filtering engine works like magic! As wide and extensive Youtube website is, the engine can filter all its videos based on the age of the user.
Teen Safety Apps (10 - 19 years)
If you have a teenager, I’m sure you’ll agree with the general notion that “teenagers are less likely to bend to your will as they normally do.” You can’t blame them, it’s a sign that they’re growing up. But how can you still keep them under the radar, especially, this period of their life that they are even more sensitive and aware of various things on the internet?
Teensafe is the answer to your silent prayer. This subscription service provides parents with real-time monitoring of their teen’s devices and Internet uses. You can operate this service on a PC or Apple. Teensafe offers 7 day free trials as a start while you’ll pay $14.95/ month afterward. The beauty of this service is that it lets you access your teen’s internet activities, which includes but is not limited to his/her text messages and deleted text. It also lets you control your teen’s smartphone regardless of where you may be at the moment.
How to use:
It should be noted that this app is not breaking any rules. Come to think of it, it does not require your kid’s iPhone to be ‘jailbroken” or his/her Andriod phones to be Rooted. All you have to do is install the app and assume your role as a responsible parent in curbing all forms of irresponsibility on his/her part.
Once you’ve created a secure pass that only you can access. The Teensafe app will now offer you unlimited access to your teen’s mobile device activities, which includes his/her text messages (sent, received, and deleted), call logs, location history, browser history, messages on some notable social media app. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also control your teen’s phone as deem fit. For example, if you discover your teen is texting overnight or when driving, or while carrying out important chores, you can interrupt it. Besides, you can block any apps you find time-consuming or used inappropriately.
Do you think your teen is spending more time on the internet? If that’s the case, SecureTeen would prevent your kids from burning hours on the internet. This app is also designed to filter harmful (online predators) and mature content off your teen’s radar as they surf the web. You can only install the app on iOS, APK, and Apple, and will cost you $39.99/year.
How it works:
SecureTeen monitors your teen’s online actives in real-time. While reports are logged and sent to you based on the report schedule. With these reports, you’ll be able to know whom your kids are communicating with, and what they’re talking about. I’m sure with this information, you’ll be able to make a swift decision if the code is red. Furthermore, SecureTeen lets you create schedules for your teen’s internet use. For instance, if you don’t want your teens to access the web in the middle of the night. They won’t be able to connect no matter how they try to get past unless it is approved on the schedule.
Just to mention a few apps, tools, and software that can protect your kids from danger looming ahead. Either you like it or not, the internet will continue to be dangerous for your naive kids. So why not subscribe to one of these apps that will keep them safe until they are ready to face the reality? Trust me, you’ll be doing them a favour!
For more on how Timeless can help keep your family online safely please get in touch!