Posted July 23, 2019
It's hard to be mom or dad. And these days it seems like 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 increase 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 out the hard way last month when they discovered that their 1
The idea of adult men and women who talked to the kids on a dating app is enough to crush any parent … and make you want to throw your baby'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 out of dating apps … at least for another few years.
Activate Mom Mode
Wouldn't it be great if you could stop your little guy from asking Siri to search for rude 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 work to do to politicize the App Store, but they offer some powerful parental control tools on the screen that 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 apps downloads, and receive alerts about their activity
In short, you can create a "sandbox" iOS experience for your children – a safer and more age-appropriate version of the real thing.
Lose your innocence. Expect the Unexpected
You've probably heard of Tinder, Match or Bumble. But what about FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U?
Have you never heard of them? Not surprising. Nevertheless, these somewhat obscure dating apps were the culprits of the alarming news last month.
With millions of registered iOS developers worldwide, a large number of new apps are being submitted 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 house names you've heard before. If you do not recognize an app or know what it does, do some detective work before allowing it on your child's phone!
Take Cybersecurity 101
Do you know the difference between Trojans and adware? Does phishing sound like a security threat – or just something you want to associate with the 90's music?
Not so technically knowledgeable? 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 kids safe online will be a lot more difficult.
Here's the thing: You don't have to be a kind of "elite hacker" to master the essentials of cyber security. In fact, an afternoon of reading a decent security blog can provide you with enough grounds to deal with the vast majority of threats you will ever face.
Some hours of learning are enough to make a real difference – definitely worth it!
Resist temptation. Do not ask. Talk.
Some mothers and dads are so worried about children's safety that they turn to tracking software and monitor apps to suit them.
It's tempting to use technology to look over the children's shoulders while they're online. .
But for various reasons we do not recommend this.
For one thing, companies that develop tracking technology make it for profit – meaning they have all the incentives to collect data about your kids and then sell it to third parties.
Second, by allowing an app that collects sensitive data to run on the child's phone, you can inadvertently create a security risk if the app developers have not properly protected their user data.
In other words, this type of software can create the same type of privacy and security issues that you tried to prevent! Fortunately, there is a far better solution.
Talk to your children – openly and honestly – about the dangers that are out there.
Stranger Danger 2.0
Children are not dumb. But they are inexperienced. And they can be a little naive when it comes to trusting strangers.
When your children were young, you had to tell them not to open the door when they were alone at home, or to take candy from strangers. Now that they are older, they need to give them common sense guidelines to protect themselves online.
This is not to say that you need to make them anxious or afraid. But they should have a realistic picture of what dangers they can get online, and know what to do with them.
By helping them understand how to stay safe – and explain why you ask them to do these things — You will make your children their own best defense.