My child has a smartphone for emergencies, so they take it to school or when they go to a friend’s house but I am becoming increasingly worried about what they might access. Does anyone have any ideas to put my mind at ease? Perhaps there are some apps that can control what they’re able to use on the device itself?
If they use iPhone the easiest and cheapest way is to use the built in system. Search -> type in Parental Controls and setup limits for Content & Privacy Restrictions. Here you have Content restrictions eg. Web Content -> Limit Adult Websites. But there is much more limits you can setup: films, music, or even limits for the time that a child spend in allowed apps.
Thanks Piotr for your answer! Parental controls are very important.
Few more thoughts in the topic from my side.
Once you decide that your child is ready for a smartphone, it’s a good idea to get informed on the ways you can protect them from the dangers that the uncontrolled use of technology can bring.
You might feel that there is a lot of social pressure when it comes to giving your child a smartphone.
On that subject we’d like to refer to a campaign that is inspiring us: http://waituntil8th.org
When we discuss this issue in the office among parents one argument always returns, parental control won’t replace education and your conversations with your child.
Setting up parental control serves only as a supporting tool.
It’s important that you talk about your child about building healthy relationships with technology and what the dangers are, as you want your child to develop self control with regards to that matter.
However, we shouldn’t only rely on the self control of our children, especially when we know how addictive digital services can be (they’re designed that way), even for us adults. When your child is mad at your controlling their time on a device and restricting content, don’t worry, they will thank you in future.
We recommend these Common Sense Media articles to further read into the topic:
As parents, we are focused on keeping our children focused on what’s important. And one of the best ways of achieving that is to make it as easy as possible for them to pick up their iPhone when they want to use it. Parents love their kids for their tech skills and want to help them develop them as computer scientists, designers, authors, or whatever. Also, I got from familyorbit.com an app that monitors my kid’s activity on his phone. I can always see what he is playing or with whom he is talking.
One thing I have done with all my kids is have a “spot check” policy. At any time if I ask for the phone it is handed over for inspection. This is after talking at lengths about what they send and the language used. I would check randomly and not often but the practice meant they thought about how they used the phone.
Parental restrictions added to phone also. Restricting app store access, purchases behind a password they dont know etc Screen time limits. Sharing location when out.
All depends on the phone they have.