"I received my parental cyber-security wake-up call a few months ago. While looking for a text on his cell phone, I found out my seven-year-old son had been surfing porn sites." This from a conversation I had with a parent at one of my daughter's activities. Apparently, she was CLUELESS about her son’s extracurricular activities. She was shocked by what she found, and by the knowledge that the images she saw were not only freely available, but FREE for viewing by anyone, of any age, all over the internet. Would you say a bit naive for a 21st century mom? Sure. But how many of us truly know what our children are viewing, reading, or even writing on a daily basis? If your answer is, “I do!” then you too may be a bit naive. The internet has come a long way from the relative containment of chat rooms, and expanded into an infinite universe of technological possibilities. Children are able to create multiple accounts—the mom/dad-friendly account for your viewing pleasure, and those set aside solely for friends. Each child now has the ability to create their own personal worldwide reality show, complete with script, costars, photos, live video feeds, and commentary, and most parents are left off the cyber guest list. But let’s say we are not naive, and we try to open up a dialogue with our children about their mobile device viewing habits. How can we be certain they share the whole story and not the PG-13 version? The reality is—we probably can’t. So, how do we protect our kids from predators, cyber-sex and everything in between?
There are a few ways to make your children safer—but not completely safe—while using the internet or a mobile device. Going digital has inherent risks, and parents should be realistic about these risks before agreeing to allow their children to go digital. But the alternative—not allowing your children access to technology—is becoming increasingly unrealistic, and may even have long term consequences for your child’s educational readiness. So, what do we do?
Here are some basic rules to help secure your child's cell phone activity:
For help with the Privacy and Security features of your child's mobile device contact your Service Provider's Technical Support line or do a Google search by typing in the name of the device and privacy settings (e.g. iphone 5 privacy settings).
Content copyright 2017. SoLo Parenting Magazine. All rights reserved.
William Murphy is Founder and CEO of Venice Web Design, LLC an Internet Technology Solutions company providing web-related products and services to small-businesses and entrepreneurs. As a Business Analyst, William also helps companies establish requirements and get 'the right people in the room' in order to maximize their investment and ensure the overall success of projects and programs. He's an active mentor to local youth in the Southern Maryland community and serves as MC for numerous events. William's hobbies include playing golf and tennis, but his joy is spending time with his wife and 2 daughters.