In this digital era, a smartphone is a must-have and this is increasingly the case with children as well as adults. While cellphones were once just a way of contacting one another, today’s smartphones give access to a huge array of online material, and unfortunately some of it is harmful to children. Denying use of smartphones is simply no longer practical, but as a parent, you still need to keep your kids as safe as possible from the many digital dangers lurking out there. The best thing you can do is install parental control apps. iPhone devices offer some great apps, but many parents are unaware they exist. There are many options to choose from, and most of them offer multiple functions. Here are 4 of the best to get you started.
Screen Time Parental Control
There are so many things to occupy children on smartphones – there are countless apps to download, millions of games to play and social media can be extremely engaging. If unchecked, what started as fun can quickly turn into obsession and addiction. The Screen Time app is a great way to limit the time you child spends on their phone. From your phone, you can monitor and control their phone. Apps can be paused or blocked altogether. It is also very flexible; you can block activity taking place at certain times of day – very useful at mealtimes or before bed! Similarly, you can reward good behaviour by allowing extra time on apps as you see fit.
If you’re concerned about what your children are viewing, then Famisafe may be the app for you. You can check both web history and social media activity, and you can block access to any inappropriate sites or searches. If your child seems to be spending too much time on a particular app you can pause or block it. The app also monitors keywords in communications so you can see if your child is being bullied (or heaven forbid, bullying someone). Any suspicious photos are also flagged to the parent by the app, and Famisafe allows you access to your child’s YouTube account to see if they have been looking at anything inappropriate to their age.
Bark is a great tool for keeping kids safe online and is particularly good at tracking social media usage. It can be used on over 30 different social media platforms and looks for any suspicious content or activity. It is designed to constantly scan communications for any signs of drug use, cyberbullying, depression, suicidal thoughts or anything of a sexual nature. Should anything worrying be found an alert is sent to your email. The algorithms are very sensitive and can detect even mild profanity. However, the app allows the sensitivity to be adjusted with three options: relaxed, moderate and strict. So, all types of families and all childhood ages can be catered for.
This is a hugely popular parental control app and has some of the best web-filtering capabilities available. Net Nanny has been around for over two decades and they pioneered internet filtering software, and although the app has many other features, filtering arguably remains their core strength today. Certainly, if you’re looking to refine what your children are surfing online, it is a very useful tool. The app will give you detailed intel on the searches your children are making. You’ll get alerts on anything pornographic, drug-related or violent and any content showing or discussing suicide. You can then block sites and apps you deem unsuitable or limit the time of day when they can be accessed. Also, you don’t have to be responsible for manually filtering everything – Net Nanny scans new sites in real-time and blocks them automatically if they look suspicious.
There are many great parental control apps available on iPhones; they all have different strengths and weaknesses. You should research carefully and pick the option that suits your family circumstances best. Remember kids are very tech savvy - parents should keep abreast with developments and ensure the technology they use is up to date. When you get a new iPhone, make sure you go online to get a great cash deal on your old Apple model.