The digital world is constantly evolving with new social media platforms, apps, and devices, and children and teens are often the first to use them. Some negative things that may occur include cyberbullying, sexting, posting hateful messages or content, and participating in negative group conversations.
If your child posts harmful or negative content online, it may not only harm other children; it can affect their online reputation, which can have negative implications for their employment or college admission.
While you may not be able to monitor all of your child’s activities, there are things you can do to prevent cyberbullying and protect your child from harmful digital behavior:
- Monitor a teen’s social media sites, apps, and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.
- Review or re-set your child’s phone location and privacy settings.
- Follow or friend your teen on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by children and teens.
- Know your child’s user names and passwords for email and social media.
- Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content, and apps.
Digital Monitoring Apps and Software for Parents
Parents who want to protect their children from cyberbullying, harmful digital behavior, and exposure to adult content can use parental control and monitoring software to help them set up systems that are less invasive to their children. There are free software options and apps available to help parents restrict content, block domains, or view their children’s online activities, including social media, without looking at their child’s device every day. Most of the free software options provide some features for free, but charge for more robust insight. A parent should consider a child’s age, device use, and digital behavior when selecting software – what is suitable to restrict for a ten-year old may not be useful for a teenager.