Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

What It Takes to Properly Vet Your Child’s Exposure to Media & the Internet

The internet opens up a world of opportunity. Science and nature can be explored, history reenactments can be watched, and your child can brush up on math skills or even learn how to fly that new drone safely. However, just like in the real world, there are bad Internet neighborhoods you need to protect your child from. Young children could accidentally be exposed to things you would rather them not see while older children may seek it out. Here are ways to vet what your child is exposed to on the internet.

Insist on Access to All Accounts

When your child becomes an adult, access to all of their online activity can be made private with only your child knowing the passwords. It is not about trust. It is about accountability. As a parent you should insist on knowing the login information for every gaming, social media, email, cloud-sharing, financial and purchasing account your child has online. Knowing that you can login and check on what your child is up to at any time is a simple yet highly effective deterrent of unacceptable behavior.

Use Nanny Software

Nanny, or parental control, software can prevent accidental exposure to internet content you do not want your child to see and also help prevent your child from gaining access to things they should not be looking for. There are too many nanny type software solutions designed to protect your child to cover here. Do some research of the key features each one offers to find the best one suited to your unique needs. Also, you should turn on the “safe search” option for Google to help filter out unwanted images and websites.

Know What Kind of Movies Your Child Is Seeing

Years ago it was often a family event to make a trip to see a movie at the theater or drive-in. Today, your child can stream movies to a smartphone or tablet. Even if you are a movie buff who watches a lot of movies, you probably do not have time to prescreen every flick your child wants to watch. Check out movie review websites, like Taste Movies, where you can quickly learn about movies your child wants to see before agreeing to permit a night at the cinema, a DVD rental or streaming programming using services such as Hulu or Netflix.

Secure Cell Phones from Undesirable Content

A smartphone is probably the number one device where your child can find trouble or trouble can find your child. Cell phones have cameras that are only as discriminating as the user when it comes to the types of pictures or videos that are recorded or sent. Text messages can easily be deleted. Anyone your child has given their number to can contact your child via voice, video, instant messaging or text. Phones are useful tools, but they can also be used for things such as bullying whether on the receiving or giving end. Call your network provider to discuss parental controls they offer. Android devices may have more parental control options available than iOS devices such as text monitoring. PhoneSheriff, Qustodio, and Norton offer apps that let you monitor and control the access your child has on a smartphone.

Though the topic is controversial, children have no right to privacy as it is something that is conditional based on behavior. It is not only your right as a parent to monitor your child, it is a responsibility. You do not have to hold access to the Internet, movies, music and other content hostage, but you do need to monitor what your child sees, hears and shares with the world using the internet.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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