There’s plenty of research to show that we, as parents, need to keep an eye on what our young kids are doing online. But how exactly do you keep an eye on a tech-savvy little one 24/7?
To make life easier, we’ve listed some of the best tips for monitoring young kids online and on social media.
1. Set an age limit
This one sounds straight forward, but many parents don’t realise that Facebook has a minimum sign up age of 13 years. The bad news is Facebook can’t actually enforce this regulation, which means the buck stops with mum and dad.
While you can report underage users to Facebook directly, it’s probably going to be more realistic (and effective) to simply have a conversation with your child about when they can start using social media. (It’s the when can I get an earring conversation of the modern age.)
If you want to educate your kids about social media before they enter the big wide world of Facebook, consider using a secure social media website like eebudee. eebudee teaches young kids how to use social media in a fun and safe environment – like training wheels for the online world.
2. Get savvy with privacy settings
Nearly all browsers allow you to play with security settings. For example, you should be able to stop your child from accessing a specific website, such as Facebook or anything else you don’t want them to view.
There are even ‘child-safe’ browsers, many of which only allow a child to open one window or tab at a time. This makes it a lot easier to keep an eye on what your child is looking at. One example is www.kidoz.net, a kid safe browser for 2 to 8 year olds.
You may also be interested in the host of kid-friendly browser apps, which can be downloaded for Android or iPhone. Here’s a great list of 10 kid-safe iPad browsers.
3. Filters are your friend
While security settings let you block certain websites, filters allow you to directly monitor what your child is doing online. You can even see exactly what keys your child is typing, how long they’ve spent on the Internet and any other computing activity they engage in.
4. Keep it central
It may sounds simple, but if your children are under 12 (or indeed older), consider keeping the home computer in a central location, such as the living room.
Of course, many young kids are now required to have an iPad or laptop at school. If this is the case, create a ground rule about where mobile devices may and may not be used.
For example, you may dub the living room ‘the computing zone’. When your child isn’t using their device, it should be placed in a box or basket located in the zone. That way you can easily tell whether your child is using the device elsewhere.
5. Be the change you want to see
Our final point is less about ‘monitoring’ and more about being a great example for the little ones. Simply being aware of your own social media use will help your kids learn good social media etiquette, especially when interacting with other people in the real world.
Got a useful idea for monitoring kids online? Leave a comment here. Or check out our Facebook page, which offers more insights into safe social media for kids. As well as links to articles and resources on parenting kids in a digital world.