As if parents don’t have enough to worry about with their kids learning to cross the street and not to swallow nickels — now you have to worry about cyberspace, too? Sadly, the Internet is now and will continue to be a murky place filled with shadowy characters and dark corners. The fact that it’s also one of the single most useful inventions in the history of humanity means that it’s not going anywhere soon.
Over 93% of teens regularly go online, and almost three-quarters of them already have social profiles on one or more sites. As long as there’s an Internet to go to, our kids will go to the Internet. As parents, we’d better learn to shepherd our kids through the trouble spots.
What to Monitor
How much you as a parent decide to monitor will ultimately depend on what kind of a parent you are. Some parents may allow their children more freedom in many areas of their lives, less in others, or a well-reasoned blend of the two. But whichever camp you side with, there are a few key areas to be aware of:
- Uploaded Photos and Videos: Almost half of all teens (ages 12 to 17) have uploaded photos of themselves online, and almost 15% have uploaded videos. An Internet activity monitor will let you know where these photos and videos are ending up.
- Chats: The Internet is a great tool for meeting new people all around the world, but predators know this too, and use it to their advantage. If you don’t know a person your teen chats with, make it a point to find out about them.
How to Monitor
Cellphone and Internet activity monitors are not hard to find these days, but quality and functionality are important when making the choice. You should find software that’s easy to set up, easy to use, and includes social media monitoring software, such as Instagram monitoring tools. Better yet, you should find software that isn’t software. Cloud-based Internet activity monitoring means no installation and no complicated setup, but all the functionality to maintain your children’s privacy while still keeping them safe.
Above all, talk to your kids. Never monitor Internet activity in secret. Tell them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Let them know where the boundaries are, and what happens if they go outside them. And let them know that, if they have any questions about anything they find online, they can always come to you for answers.