The Technology You Need to Keep Kids and Teens Safe Online
by Sean Wright and Jason Hardy of 3n1technology
Part 3: The Problem with Mobile Devices and How to Solve It
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2015 study on the way teens use technology, nearly 75% of teens now have or have access to a smartphone. This means that it’s becoming imperative for parents to adapt internet safety strategies to apply to mobile devices as well as computers. As we mentioned in our last post, this can be a challenge.
Smartphones and tablets typically provide multiple ways of accessing internet content. On an iPhone, not only can you browse the web with the Safari app, but you can also access Facebook, as well as content from the web that people post in your feed, via a separate Facebook app. This makes content filtering and accountability tricky because there’s no good way to monitor and filter all apps across the board. Still, when coupled with some administrative control settings on the device and healthy parent-child communication about app use, filtering and accountability solutions can make smartphones and tablets relatively safe for kids and teens to use. Read on to find out how.
Step 1: Install a Filtering and Accountability App
As mentioned in our last post, we recommend using Covenant Eyes, a solution that provides both accountability and filtering. On iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), the Covenant Eyes app is essentially a separate web browser that will allow parents to monitor their children’s browsing activity, sending reports calling out potentially problematic behavior. The browser also offers filtering, customizable to the parent’s preferences.
Currently, the Covenant Eyes app for Android offers accountability services only, but instead of functioning as a separate browser app, it monitors and provides accountability services on Android’s stock browser app.
Step 2: If Using iOS, Disable Other Browsers
In order to be effective, the Covenant Eyes browser app needs to be the only browser your child can use to access the internet. So, after installing it, parents can adjust the phone’s settings to disable the Safari app and prevent the child from downloading any other browser apps.
Step 3: Make a Plan for Other Apps
As mentioned above, there are ways children can access inappropriate content on a mobile device without even opening the browser app. Parents need to decide, then, based on their preferences and their children’s needs, what further controls, if any, should be imposed. On iOS devices, for instance, parents can block access to social media apps, and can require parental permission for all app downloads.
When helping families create an implement a holistic internet safety strategy, our approach is to arm the parents with information on what capabilities technology gives them, and then help them match those capabilities to their knowledge of what is best for their child.
3n1 is offering Raising Boys and Girls readers a special “Fabulous Fridays” promotion on their family safety and IT consulting services. Schedule a visit with one of their systems engineers any Friday between now and the end of November, mention this blog, and receive a 20% discount!
Sean Wright, 3n1technology’s President & CEO, has put his passion for technology to use by helping families adapt technology to their needs for 14 years. Jason Hardy, 3n1’s Director of Communications, helps translate Sean’s wealth of technical knowledge for the rest of us. 3n1technology is a one-stop technology partner for businesses and individuals that serves Greater Nashville by doing IT differently. Find out how at 3n1technology.com.