Posted July 16, 2019
Being a mother or father is difficult. And today it seems that it's more difficult than ever.
In addition to all the old challenges of raising happy and healthy children, we also have a number of new things to worry about. And one of the biggest of these is how to keep our kids safe online.
Unfortunately, with the growth of smartphones and the spread of apps, it is no longer as simple as putting the family computer in the middle of the living room. Some parents found this out the hard way last month when they discovered that their 1
The idea of adult men and women talking to children on a dating app is enough to throw some parents out … and get you to throw your child's iPhone out of the window.
But here's the good news: There are some simple, effective steps you can take to make sure your kids stay on the dating apps … at least for a few years.
1. Enable Mom Mode
Wouldn't it be good if you could stop your little guy from asking Siri to search for scary words? Or get a notification on your own phone when kids try to download an app on theirs? Good news! The help you need is already there.
Apple still has the job of policing the App Store, but they offer some powerful parental control tools in Screen T ime, which you can find in your iOS settings.
You can use the content and privacy restrictions in screen time to filter your child's web search for adult content, restrict or block app downloads, and receive notification of their activity.
In short, you can create a "sandboxed" iOS experience for your kids – a safer and more aging version of the real thing.
2. Lose your innocence. Expect the Unexpected
You've probably heard of Tinder, Match or Bumble. But what about FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U?
Never heard of them? Not surprising. Nevertheless, these somewhat obscure dating apps were guilty of the alarming news stories of last month.
With millions of registered iOS developers worldwide, huge numbers of new apps are being sent to the App Store every single day. And unfortunately, the approval process for these apps remains, let's say, less robust than we'd like to see.
So remember, don't assume everything in the App Store is safe. And don't just look for the household names you've heard before. If you do not recognize an app or know what it does, some detective must work before leaving it on the child's phone!
3. Take Cybersecurity 101
Do you know the difference between Trojans and adware? "Phishing" sounds like a security risk – or just something you want to associate with 90's music?
Not all that technical-savvy? Don't feel bad! You are far from alone. But if you don't know the basics of cyber security or how to work with the security features of an iOS device, keeping your kids safe online will be much more difficult.
Here's the thing: You don't have to be a kind of "elite hacker" to master the essence of cyber security. In fact, an afternoon of reading a decent security blog might give you plenty of grounding to handle the vast majority of threats you will ever face.
Some hours of learning are enough to make a real difference – definitely worth it!
4. Resist the temptation. Don't track. Talk.
Some mothers and dads are so concerned about children's safety that they turn to tracking software and surveillance programs to review them.
For various reasons, we do not recommend these. But fortunately it is a much better solution.
Talk to your children – openly and honestly – about the dangers that are out there.
Children are not stupid. But they are inexperienced. And they can be a little naive when it comes to trusting strangers.
When the children were young, you had to tell them not to open the door when they were home alone, or to take candy from strangers. Now that they are older, they need you to give them common sense guidelines to protect themselves online.
By helping them understand how to stay safe and explain why they advocate them doing these things – you want to make your children their best defense.