3 apps parents can use to monitor children’s phone activities
We all know how much smartphones and tablets have become a staple in our lives. In a previous article, I’ve even shown how the average child spends up to SEVEN hours a day using technology. How can we, as parents, find comfort in knowing that they are safe in their actions? Here are three free apps that can help you protect them and you.
Kid’s Place – Parental Control
Sitting at my son’s basketball practice earlier, I watched as another parent tried to occupy a younger sibling by handing over their phone to the child. The little boy immediately clicked through and found a game he enjoyed playing. As I watched, I thought this would be a great way to occupy the little ones when a parent had to shop, got to the doctor, etc. I did have major concerns about having them get into apps that could have disastrous results for the parent. Many of us have banking, shopping or even work-related apps that a child could get into and create a whole world of trouble. Enter Kid’s Place – Parental Control. Created by Kiddoware, this app can create a safe place for your child, while locking away any other part of your phone that you want to keep away from them.
This app allows you to create an individualized home screen for your child, where only the apps that you approve of will show. It will block them from making in-app purchases or downloading new apps, lock them away from the internet so they don’t burn through your data, and has “Toddler Lock” feature where an app that was accidently closed will re-start so you can focus on whatever you are doing without interruption. It supports multiple user profiles, so you can create different age specific pages for your different children. It also has a timer so you can limit the amount of activity your child has.
As our children get a little older, the next fear we have comes from what they are looking at on the internet, and who they are talking to. Qustodio, created by Qustodio LLC, has an answer for that. Once you download this app onto your child’s device, it automatically blocks “adult” sites and removes them and any other dangerous site from web searches. It also gives you the ability to monitor social media and text messaging activity. You can access an activity dashboard online at any time to see what your child has been up to. The free version only allows one user. For multiple users, there is a premium version that also has stronger social media monitoring capabilities, location tracking, and a panic button if your child feels they are in danger.
Stepping into the world of pre-teens and teens can be an extremely overwhelming experience. We are at the age where they never leave their room, sulk when you ask them to participate in family activities, and act as if their phone or iPad is the only thing in the world that matters to them. My oldest spends every evening on an app that allows her to video chat with all of her friends at once. You would think there is a party going on in her room, but she is the only one in there.
SpyHuman allows you to monitor them a little bit further. This app has a call tracker that allows you to see who they are talking to on the phone, how long and at what times. It has a text message tracker where you can see both incoming and outgoing messages, as well as the text message itself. This app also has a location tracker for your social butterfly of a child that you can use to make sure they are where they told you they’d be. It also tracks their browsing history. The free version does NOT monitor social media, so you may need to either overlap it with another app or purchase the premium version.
There are many other apps out there, and if you are inclined to pay for one, the abilities of these apps only get better. In this day and age, unfortunately we have to keep a closer eye on our children than our parents had to for us. The safety of our children is a major priority in all of our lives. Whether you use these free apps, their premium versions, or any other software, please do something. You don’t want to have that moment in your life where you say “I should have…”