How to monitor your child’s smartphone use?
Kids are using smartphones at earlier ages these days. With this increased use comes understandable concern from parents worried that their children may get into trouble or experience other issues while using their smartphones. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help to ensure that your child engages in responsible behavior when using a smartphone. Here are five ways that you can monitor your child’s smartphone use.
Set time limits
It does not take long for a child to become addicted to their smartphone. As a parent, you can help to mitigate this danger by setting reasonable time limits for their phone use. Although your child may fight you on this at first, they will soon get used to the restrictions.
How you structure these limits is up to you. You can either go with an honor system and trust that your child will effectively self-monitor. Or you can go into the phone and set time limits manually. Depending on the phone or the app that you use, these restrictions will automatically be triggered when your child has reached their set time limit of usage.
Lean on monitoring apps
There are a number of apps that you can install to monitor what your child is looking at on their phones. These apps can also help you to limit the time that they spend on the phone. You can use these apps to check up on what your child is looking at each day, to proactively block dangerous apps or sites, and more.
Be sure to research the various options before committing. When you educate yourself more about the process of how to create apps, you will feel more confident in the security of these monitoring applications. A monitoring app will help you to take the guesswork out of what your child is doing each day and night with their phone, giving you peace of mind that they are not engaging in potentially dangerous behavior.
Take phones away at night
It is no surprise to learn that children are more likely to get into trouble on their smartphones when they are using them late at night with no adult supervision. In order to prevent this from happening, it is recommended that you require that they turn their phones in at night.
To avoid pushback from your kids on this rule, it is important to establish the precedent from the day that they first get their phone. Once they get in the habit of turning their phone in at the end of the day, they will not even realize what they are missing when they do not have it at night.
Sign an agreement
You will likely see more success in your efforts to monitor your child’s phone if you empower them to make good choices and take control over the usage. Many parents find success in asking their kids to sign a smartphone use agreement. What you include in this personal contract is a personal family decision.
Once your kids reach driving age, be sure to include a clause that they agree to never use the phone when behind the wheel. You may also choose to hold them responsible for paying for their part of the cell phone bill if they are old enough to earn their own money. All of these steps will empower them to take responsibility for their smartphone usage.
Keep an open line of communication
Kids will more likely understand the reasons behind your control if they are aware of the dangers of using a smartphone. For this reason, it is vital that you keep an open line of communication about phone usage within your family.
As soon as it is age-appropriate, you need to have discussions about inappropriate content. Your child needs to understand that simply joking about inappropriate things online can lead to serious repercussions. Be sure to remind them often that nothing is private on the internet. In addition, what they put out there may stick around forever.
There is no doubt that allowing your child to use a smartphone comes with great responsibility. However, with the right tools and parental control, you can make this a good learning experience.