How to Monitor Your Child’s Smartphone Usage
By By Ask The Geek –
Keeping children safe means more than making sure they don’t get injured when they’re not with you. It also involves looking out for them when they are on their cell phones chatting with friends and out exploring the online world. Parents have to work just as hard, or even more so, to make sure their children stay out of trouble and harm’s way.
Thankfully, there are several options available for today’s parents to monitor their son or daughter’s cell phone usage, from blocking inappropriate websites to limiting the number of calls and texts made and received. Take a look at some of the more common ways to accomplish this.
Buying a Prepaid Cell Phone
Not all parents want or can afford to give their kids an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Instead, many are opting for prepaid cell phones. There are many companies, such as T-Mobile, that offer a variety of low-cost, no-cost phones that work well for children whose parents don’t want expensive phone bills.
Prepaid phones allow parents to monitor how many minutes their children are allotted. This helps them use self-control when it comes to making calls, being online and texting, as all those eat up minutes quickly. Unfortunately, not all prepaid smartphones have the option of blocking websites or the Internet altogether.
Installing or Activating Parental Control Apps
If your child has an iPhone and you want to know how it is being utilized, there are ways of placing restrictions on his or her usage. Under general settings, you can turn off specific features and applications such as FaceTime, purchasing and installing apps, Safari for web searching, Siri and more. Parents can also restrict the types and ratings of content downloaded and viewed on their children’s phone.
Parents can also download Mobicip Safe Browser for free from iTunes to remotely monitor their children’s cell phone browsing history. They can also set up a custom Internet filter on all their children’s devices.
They can also download Norton Family from Google Play or iTunes. This free companion app is available for both Android and Apple phones. It is for parents who already have a Norton Family account and want to keep an on their kids” activity through their own phones or tablets. Parents can view all of the websites” their children visit and receive alerts when their kids attempt to view an inappropriate site.
For those children with Android phones, parents can install Kids Place. The free app not only locks the phone to protect personal data, but can also restrict kids from downloading apps, playing certain apps installed on their phone, texting or other actions that can raise a cell phone bill.
Apps to Prevent Teens from Texting and Driving
If you have a teenager with a driver’s license, one of a parent’s worst nightmares is he or she texting and driving. However, for a small monthly fee, txtBlocker blocks a user from texting while driving and can be customized to prevent these actions when in certain No-Cell Zone locations, such as school.
While this only blocks someone from texting, an app such as My Mobile Watchdog allows parents to monitor all text and picture messages, as well as use a location tracker so you know where you children is when he or she is not with you.
So the next time you worry about giving your child a smartphone, consider all the ways you can keep them safe and monitor their activity.
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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