Mike The Tech Genius, Part 1: Monitoring Your Kids’ Internet Usage
Hi. I’m Mike, the IT guy for LCS. It’s no secret that the Internet is a scary place when it comes to your children. Responsible parents are always trying to stay one step ahead of their kids. It may seem impossible to do so, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Here are some great tools to keep tabs on your kids and their interaction with the Internet.
- Circle with Disney: for $99 and 5 minutes setup time, you can keep track of all the devices in your home, and track usage, time, and monitor and filter content. Filters can be customized for each member of the family. Circle Go is a $10/month subscription for up to 10 devices at one time. This allows you to keep tabs on your child’s cellphone usage, wherever they go. Get more information here: https://www.disneystore.com/circle-with-disney/mn/1026902/
- Norton Family Premier: This is a yearly subscription of $50 for up to 10 devices at one time. This monitors time, usage, filters content, and helps to teach kids about appropriate Internet sharing. They’ve won multiple awards for their parental control. One word of caution: this works best for Android. It works for iPhone, but not as well. Check it out here: https://us.norton.com/norton-family-premier
- My Mobile Watchdog: Monitor and access your child’s apps, texts, websites, time usage, messages, and more. Block apps and set up time limits. It’s $100 a year, up to 5 devices at once. Get more information here: https://www.mymobilewatchdog.com/
There are a lot of options out there, but these are three good choices. More important than any app, however, is establishing open communication and a bond of trust with your children. They need to know you’re keeping tabs on them, rather than being sneaky. They need to be able to come to you with questions and struggles, without fear of judgment and humiliation. Teaching your children wisdom and discretion in general but specifically regarding Internet usage, is invaluable. They must learn that their reputation can be ruined by one mistake, and that anything posted to the Internet, though deleted, could still exist. Teach your children to err on the side of caution, and to not hide behind the anonymity of the Internet in order to write or say things they wouldn’t say in person.
An additional practical tip is:
- Have a charging station in a central location of the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
These recommendations are no replacement for a relationship with your child, as you must know. But hopefully, they’ll give you peace of mind and allow you to be one step ahead. Do you have any tips that have worked for your family? Share!
Lastly, if you have a child who is especially sneaky and seems to be able to circumvent all these precautions, contact us and I’ll see if I have any ideas for you!