A constant debate among parents is if child phone monitoring is a necessary and okay thing to do. Honestly, there’s no right or wrong answer to this. And with the growing use of mobile devices by young children, it’s a topic that needs to be touched upon.
To help us address this touchy subject, we talked with the following experts:
– Adina Mahalli: Certified mental health consultant and family care specialist with Maple Holistics.
– Amy Carney: Author of Parent on Purpose. Mother to 17-year-old triplet sons, 16-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old son.
Is It Okay To Monitor Your Kid’s Cell Phone?
Everyone is going to have a different answer when you ask them, Is It Okay To Monitor Your Kid’s Cell Phone? After asking many people myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that monitoring your child’s phone really depends on the child and your family dynamic. Amy Carney’s response to this question was:
Yes, it is absolutely okay and necessary for parents to monitor their child’s cell phone. How much depends on the age of the minor and their level of maturity and ability to regulate themselves. Every child is different and will need different guidance and monitoring.
And I couldn’t agree more. However, Adina Mahalli brought up a great point regarding children’s phone use. “Children appreciate when they’re given privacy, and making their own decisions is the best way for them to learn how to be independent and safe.”
As a parent, you need to find the best balance between knowing your child’s every phone activity and letting them do what they want. Just like you, they deserve to have some privacy and independence. However, if they aren’t quite at the age where they’re responsible and mature enough to act on their own, some phone monitoring is necessary. They may be naive enough to fall victim to cyberbullies, catfishers, and predators.
Carney sums up perfectly why overseeing your kid’s cell phone activities is needed:
We must understand that our job as parents is to raise a capable adult who can go into the world and hopefully use technology as an asset in their lives. It’s up to us, as parents, to slowly teach our children each year how to better do that while they are growing up in our homes. We are unable to do that if we put a smartphone in our child’s hand and never monitor or discuss their habits and usage.
3 Child Phone Monitoring Tips:
– Draw Up A Cell Phone Contract
Owning a smartphone is a great responsibly. To help your child understand the gravity of having their own phone, you should create a cell phone contract they must agree to.
“When we first allowed our children to have smartphones at the age of 13, we drew up a cell phone contract for them so they understood that having a phone was a privilege and that they needed to be responsible when using it,” says Carney.
In the cell phone contract Carney used for her children, some of the stipulations included:
- I will not lie about what I’m doing on my phone.
- I will always communicate with members of the opposite sex with respect.
- If I receive something uncomfortable or dangerous from a friend, I am expected to bring it to my parents’ attention.
- I will not respond to or reply to any communication from unknown contacts.
Along with this, you as a parent should make it clear that you will be monitoring their phone (if you choose to do so) until they are mature enough to act responsibly.
– Utilize Built-In Phone Controls
Many parents don’t realize that many Android smartphones and iPhones come with built-in parental control features.
iPhone Parental Control Options:
- Content & Privacy Restrictions: Go to Settings → Screen Time → Choose This Is My Child’s [Device] → Follow the prompts to create a passcode → Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions → Adjust settings to your liking.
- Ask To Buy (App Store, iTunes, etc.): Settings → Tap on [your name] → Family Sharing → Click on your child’s name → Choose Ask To Buy
Android Parental Control Options:
- Wind down (Included With Android Pie): Settings → Digital wellbeing → Wind down. Wind down enables you to block notifications during a set period of time, like bedtime.
- Google Play: Open Google Play → ≡ → Settings → Parental controls → Turn on parental controls → Create a pin → Choose the content you want to filter in Google Play.
– Use Parental Control Software
Along with using built-in parental controls, you would also benefit from using parental control software. This type of software will enable you to view other phone activities like texts, Messenger, photos, videos, and so much more. However, with this software comes great power. Avoid misusing it to invade your child’s privacy.
Steps To Finding The Best Parental Control App For You:
– Step 1: Figure Out What You’re Looking For
First and foremost, you must figure out what you’re looking for in a parental monitoring app. Ask yourself, What do I want to monitor?, What am I willing to pay for it?, and What type of phone(s) am I looking to monitor? Your answers to these questions will greatly impact your final decision.
– Step 2: Do Some Research
Browse online and see what parental and phone monitoring apps are out there. See what the experts and customers have said about these products.
From experience, you should make sure the app can do the following:
- View their phone call log, text messages, private app messages, and social media activities.
- Use GPS location tracking to find the phone.
- Web filtering to help your child avoid inappropriate content online.
- View app usage and block apps that they shouldn’t be using.
- See all photos and videos taken and downloaded on the phone.
– Step 3: Evaluate Your Options & Choose
Lastly, look at all of the options you researched and weigh the pros and cons of each. After some time thinking, you should be able to narrow down the best option for you. If you are looking for a child phone monitoring app that enables you to view most phone activities, Highster Mobile is a great choice.
So, should you monitor your child’s cell phone? Ultimately, it’s up to you. But just remember, doing so will give you some peace of mind knowing your child is safe while using their phone.
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