Are your kids using mobile devices and apps safely?
As a keen technology enthusiast and a parent of 3 wonderful kids 🙂 I always ask myself; are my kids safely using the technology and apps that are widely available to children across the world today?
My digital marketing software company, Kong Digital, integrates our unique platform, “Kongalytics”, with a number of social media & online advertising platforms and we get to see the powerful tools that are available to reach your target audiences with precise accuracy! In today’s digital environment, these platforms are extremely important to businesses and essential to driving positive ROI from their online activity.
On the parent side of my life, I see the potential risks that are out there for young kids who are growing up with a smart device in their hands. I have been asked multiple times by parents, and regularly see articles in the media, about the dangers of certain apps and social media platforms.
Here’s a bit of advice to parents who have young kids using mobile/tablet devices & apps…
All messaging apps & social platforms need to be monitored by parents. I see articles in the media alerting parents about the horrible stories of predators grooming kids; the most recent one I’ve seen was ‘Paedophiles are using hugely popular musical.ly mobile phone app to groom underage children’.
What I see off the back of these articles are parents thinking that the social media app in the article is the one they should ban their kids from, but to single out one or two apps as the only ones that are dangerous to kids is risky. There are potential threats to kids across all social & messaging apps.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to limit the risks to your kids.
For each app that your kids are active on, control the privacy settings and restrict who can view, follow or interact with your kids.
If your kids are online using social apps, then they also need to be regularly monitored. I do weekly checks on my kids’ devices and will also do random checks throughout the week. I also make sure my kids know that I am checking to make sure that they stay safe online.
If your kids have their own email address, make sure that their emails are automatically forwarded to your email address and make sure, where available, that you have notifications switched on within the apps they use, so you know as soon as someone contacts them, follows them or sends a private message.
Also, carry out weekly checks of their searches on Google/YouTube etc… And monitor who they are following or who they allow to follow them. There are a lot of fake celebrity accounts that kids think are the real celebs, so you need to be very careful of these.
Another one to be aware of are the games your kids play, there are lots of games that have chat features built into them and kids are chatting away on these without you even knowing. Clash of Clans and Roadblocks are just two examples.
I’m a big fan of technology and my kids are too. There are lots of great benefits of using these apps but also a lot of risks for kids. So, try and get into a routine of doing weekly checks and making sure that the proper privacy restrictions are enabled on the apps your kids are using.
I think the most important thing to do is to educate your kids on the potential risks of being online. You just never know for sure who is behind the online profile you are interacting with. It’s also good practice to monitor your kids’ interactions with their peers/classmates etc. Cyber bullying is a big issue and can have a very negative impact.