Yesterday we talked about the most dangerous apps your kids can install on their phones and devices. Today we are going to discuss the various ways you can protect your family from those apps!
The first thing I want to let you know about is Airtime’s mobile plan. It is exactly the Zact service I told you about earlier this year. This is the phone service I have for my son. My favorite part of this are the parental controls. I can access the settings from the web on my phone, and grant more minutes and time on the device.
Screen Time – This app is so awesome (sorry iOS folks… it’s only for Android). First you can set time limits and “block out” times for various apps. For example, at bedtime you can block games, but allow reading apps. You are also able to block the entire device at the push of a button. Kid get grounded? Easy peasy to lock their device completely, even if you aren’t at home! It also has fantastic monitoring where you can see exactly what apps they are spending the most time on, and what websites they are visiting. Also, while it’ s not quite the same as me manually allowing the install of an app, you can get notifications when a new app is installed!
TeenSafe – OK, have I mentioned how much I love just about all of these apps? This one is really great too. My friend at one point wanted to know if her daughter had rejected a babysitting job. Her daughter told her that the person she was going to babysit for got sick and so they weren’t going out, but she had a feeling that her daughter was the one that initiated the cancellation. We went to check her phone to view her text message between this person and her, and there were none. The daughter had deleted them. bum bum bum… enter the TeenSafe app! With this app you can view ALL text messages, even deleted ones! You can also view your teen’s web browsing history, Facebook activity (which most teens don’t actually use anyway), and Instagram activity!
Ignore No More – Lastly, we’ve got a fun app that can get your teen’s to respond to you when you need them to. Necessity is the mother of invention, and this app definitely came out of necessity. You text your teen, nothing… you call your teen… nothing, now you can lock their phone until they call you back! The mother who created the app was sick of getting ignored from her teens, and made this to stop it once and for all!
There are so many more opportunities for children to get into trouble these days with technology. I’m a huge fan of all of these methods… and as my children get older, I’ll probably use them all combined! For now, I’m happy with the Virgin Mobile Custom settings. Please though, install these apps and settings WITH your child and make sure they have full knowledge of what you are doing. Let them know that the cost of ownership for a phone or other type of device is that you have control over what they can do with it. Conversations with your children about these types of things should be happening all the time. When you do find something they have done that they shouldn’t be doing, sit down with them. Explain why it was not allowed, and help them to understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their technology. Actual conversations can go a lot further than apps!
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