Talk To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring

smartphone image - not eie photo

 This blog was submitted by guest contributor Scott Reddler

In this digital era with widespread use of smartphones among children, it’s important for you as a parent to take usage monitoring seriously. From cyberbullying, to sexting, to predators, the online environment presents many potential dangers for children. And when you consider that 75% of children under eight make use of mobile devices like smartphones, cell phones, and tablets, you can appreciate the importance of keeping your children safe online.

Of course, you can expect that your children might be resistant to your monitoring efforts, but there are some things you can do to hopefully get them to understand why going this route is a must. What follows are, firstly, some tips to help you talk to your child about smartphone monitoring and, secondly, a look at how to actually go about monitoring usage.

Discuss Digital Safety

You should never assume that your children understand the the full extent of the potential dangerous out there with online predators, cyberbullying, and sexting. Remember that their young minds are still developing, and they will have a harder time than adults when it comes to properly assessing potential consequences for their actions. So before you start monitoring your children’s smartphones, explain to them why this policy is necessary by engaging them in a discussion about digital safety, what it means, and why it’s important.

Listen to Their Concerns

 While as the parent you need to make it known that smartphone monitoring is a must, you should also listen to your children’s concerns and validate their feelings. A two-way discussion is more likely to yield the results you want than would a one-way lecture where you simply lay down the law and tell them how it’s going to be. As you listen to their concerns, let them know that you understand where they’re going from and explain why monitoring is necessary.

Draw Up a Contract

 Before giving your children smartphones, be sure to create a smartphone contract that covers the following:

Screen-free time to keep your kids from being tethered to their smartphones;

  • School performance requirements that let them know that good grades are a requirement to gain the privilege to use their smartphones; and
  • Restricted apps that they’re not allowed to download or use.

Let them know that they must sign the contract if they are to be granted access to smartphones — and be sure to list the consequences of violating the contract so that your kids are fully aware.

How to Monitor Usage

 Fortunately, parental-control apps are plentiful, so you can browse what’s available to easily monitor your children’s smartphone usage. In order to be fully transparent, let your children know that you’ve taken the liberty to download usage-tracking apps onto their smartphones. When they know that they are being monitored, they’ll be less likely to get into trouble.

Indeed, this digital age, combined with the widespread use of smartphones among children, means that you have to pull out all of the stops to keep your kids safe. They may not fully appreciate the dangers that lurk online, but it’s your job to protect them. And smartphone monitoring is definitely one way to keep them safe.

For more tips on how to talk to your child about smartphone monitoring, check out the following infographic:

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