If it’s not already here for your kids…it’s coming. School’s out for summer!
Gone are the days of homework, after school activities and the mad rush of transporting your kids to and from school.
The lazy days of summer are here and your kids are looking forward to long days at the beach, bike rides and outdoor adventures.
Right? Then again, maybe not.
If you’re thinking – “MY kids are looking forward to long days in front of the Xbox, social media and computer”, you’re not alone.
There’s no denying it. When left unmonitored, kids will spend HOURS online. These days, “online” refers to anything from social media to online gaming. It used to be easy to keep kids safe at home, but with online access, children can become victim to or witness a host of scary things online – without even leaving their bedroom.
As parents, regardless of your children’s’ age, you want to keep them safe this summer. Here are the top 7 safety apps to keep your kids safe.
1) SCREEN TIME
With the Screentime app, you can manage the time your kids spend on their tablets or smartphones.
From your phone, you can:
- Set time limits or restrict access to apps during certain times of day or at bedtime – from your own phone or any browser.
- Pause your child’s device or grant bonus time. You can set limits on when and for how long your kids use their apps.
- Create fun checklists of things you would like your kids to do and motivate them with rewards of extra time for individual tasks, depending on the incentive they need.
When your child completes a task, you receive a notification and even an accompanying photo waiting for your approval. (i.e. Look mom, PROOF I cleaned my room!) Learn more about the Screen Time app here.
2) NET NANNY SOCIAL
If cyber bullying is a concern for you, as it is for many parents, you might need Net Nanny Social. Through their Language Detection tool, this app identifies online threats like cyber bullying, cyber-stalking or grooming. If content is published on a social networking site that the tool identifies as harmful language, you will be immediately notified.
Net Nanny Social is a powerful, cloud-based dashboard that helps you monitor the social networks your kids use.
You can protect your kids from online threats and monitor activities related to “friends”, cyber bullying, sexual predators, privacy concerns and reputation-damaging pictures or videos. Net Nanny Social can monitor many children on many networks for one low cost. Find more information about Net Nanny Social here.
TeenSafe is an app built by parents, for parents that allows parents to monitor their children’s texts, calls, social media, phone location and even view and block smartphone apps.
Using TeenSafe, parents can see:
- Sent, received and deleted SMS and iMessages.
- Call logs of sent and received phone calls.
- Device location and location history.
- Web browsing history, bookmarks and contacts.
- Messages sent via Whatsapp and Kik Messenger.
- Instagram images, posts, comments and followers.
Unlike other apps, TeenSafe doesn’t alter an iPhone in any way (ie. no need to “jailbreak” the iPhone) If you’re looking for a way to monitor your teen’s digital life that doesn’t violate the phone’s warranty, TeenSafe is it.
If you’re looking for a FREE parental control software, Qustodio may be a good fit.
- Through a simple dashboard, understand how your child uses devices, apps and the web.
- Set healthy multi-device time limits to manage your child’s online experience – without the drama.
- A powerful filtering technology protects your child from harmful content.
- A real-time internet filter blocks inappropriate content – even in private browsing mode.
- Monitor time spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and more.
- Set time limits for games & apps or block apps you don’t want from running altogether.
- See who your child calls or texts most, read text messages, and set a list of blocked contacts.
- Track your child’s location and in an emergency, your child can use the panic button to call for help.
5) K9 Web Protection
Rather than an app, K9 Web Protection is one of the best free parental controls software/internet filters available for your home Windows, Mac computer, iOS or Android device. K9 web protection blocks websites in more than 70 categories. You can also enable safe search and set time restrictions.
Additional features include:
- Blocking web sites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, phishing
- Forcing SafeSearch on all major search engines
- Setting time restrictions to block web access during designated times
- Configuring custom lists for “always allow” and “always block”
- Overriding a web page block with a password
- Enhanced anti-tampering, even children can’t break
- Viewing easy reports to monitor and control web activity
- Real-time categorization of new adult and malicious sites
Is your child is a new driver?
MamaBear allows you to protect your child on the road by receiving an alert if they exceed a certain speed limit.
But that’s not all, through this awareness tool, you’ll always know where your kids are through location tracking, you can monitor their social media, read any incoming/outgoing text messages and more.
7) MY MOBILE WATCHDOG
My Mobile Watchdog is a great app that incorporates many of the great features covered previously, but in an easy-to-use, friendly dashboard. You can check out the full feature list here.
You can access your child’s text messages, call logs, location, remove or block apps, allow or delete contacts and as My Mobile Watchdog puts it, “be notified of any unapproved communication.”
Their website states “Knowing WHO your children are talking to is now the number one concern among parents who have given their children smart phones. My Mobile Watchdog provides the peace of mind parents need while enhancing family communication and understanding.”
Visit their website for helpful videos and more information about the app.
While these apps are great tools for parents, it’s always important to teach your children about online safety. Advising them of the risks they face online and providing them with a line of open, honest communication is one of the best ways to keep your children safe this summer.