There was a recent survey that suggests very few moms and dads actually check the content that is on their children’s phones. While there is no doubt that many parents confiscate their tween’s phones after realizing that they’ve had a little too much screen time, very few actually open them up and check their kids’ messages, apps and social media accounts to see what their kids are actually doing.
According to parenting and health experts, parents need to be more vigilant when it comes to their children’s phone use. With that said, here are ten things that parents should check on their kids’ phones every day.
10 Their Social Media Apps
When it comes to ‘spying’ on their children and their phones, there are some parents who think that they have every right to do so because they pay for it. Others think that they are being intrusive by invading their child’s privacy. Quite honestly, both sides are correct. However, it is important to check and see what your child is doing, especially on social media. Just make sure that you are being honest and upfront with your child before you do so. The last thing you want as a parent is for your child not to have a reason to trust you. Of course, the same can be said about them.
9 Their Gaming Apps
Sure, there are a lot of parents who know that their kids are playing different gaming apps every day. But do you know what gaming apps your kids have? Also, do you know if their accounts are private or if they have access to in-app messaging services? Those are just a few things to look out for.
Yes, gaming apps aren’t exactly what you would call social media, but they do sometimes have similar functions. Little do parents know that strangers can reach out to unsuspecting kids on games like Minecraft and Roblox the same way they can reach out to them on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
8 Their Text Messages
This one is critically important. There can be a lot of damage or digital drama that can be done through text messages. First and foremost, parents should tell their children that if they have something to say but wouldn’t dare say it out loud, then by all means don’t say it through a text. Also, there’s a very good chance that kids who are bullied are very unlikely to tell their parents about it. Before you scroll through your child’s text messages, be clear and upfront about it with your child first. Let them know that you are doing it for their safety and in some cases, you might be doing it for their mental health as well.
7 Their Photos
Another thing that many parents don’t do is check their children’s photos on their phones. Many parents often find themselves pretty surprised by the content that they find there. That’s not to say that kids are only taking inappropriate photos. But instead they often waste their storage space by taking photos of everything and anything. Also, discuss with your children the meaning of consent. They should always ask before taking someone’s photo or posting it online. The same applies to them. Make sure others have your child’s consent before posting their photo online, too. There are actually a lot of parents out there that don’t want their children’s photos online or on social media at all.
6 Their Contact List
If your child has his or her own phone with their own phone number, it’s also a good idea to sometimes check their contact list. The only people who should have access to their phone numbers are their close or immediate family members and close friends that they are in contact with in real life.
Let your kids know that it’s never a good idea to give out their phone number, especially to people that they’ve never met or to anyone who might ask for it online. It’s for both their protection and their privacy. You should also check for what contacts they have and if you know everyone on their list, too.
5 Check Their Phone Usage
Another thing that parents should do is check the usage on their kids’ phones. In other words, actually check how many minutes or hours have been logged on to your child’s phone each and every day. You’d be surprised to find out that some kids spent as little as a couple minutes on their phones while others are on it for several long hours. And if they are doing that on a school day, there’s a good chance they are checking their TikTok app more than actually doing their homework. That’s why parents need to get on it and make sure to put limitations on how long their child can be online.
4 Check For Wear And Tear
When you give a tween or a teenager their first phone, they should understand that they have it because it’s a privilege and not a right. A lot of young kids make the mistake in thinking that they are entitled to have a phone when that’s not the case at all. In fact, it comes with a huge responsibility and kids need to understand that. They should treat their phones with respect and of course, take proper care of it. That’s why parents should often check for wear and tear. Seeing how many phones are very pricey and expensive, many kids shouldn’t have one if they can’t handle it with care.
3 Check Their Internet Browser
While a lot of emphasis is usually put on social media and gaming apps, parents should also check out what their kids are looking at on their browsers. More often than not kids will have multiple browsers or tabs open in their phones. Moms and dads should have an open and honest discussion with their kids about the web sites that they frequent, the content that they either look at or read and overall online safety. While parents do everything they can to guard their kids in the real world, the online world poses many different risks at just one click of a button.
2 See What They Are Posting
Not only do you need to check what your child is posting online and on social media, but also scroll through their friends’ sites and check out what your child might be posting on their accounts, too. Parents should tell their kids that whenever they post online, they are representing who they are to the online world.
And yes, there’s a very good chance that it will stay online forever. Not only do they need to think about the present, but about what their posts might say about them in the future, too. Little do kids know that every online word counts.
1 Check For In-App Purchases
Last but definitely not least, also check your child’s phone for in-app purchases, especially if they have their own account. The last thing that you want is a surprise bill on your credit card, especially if it comes in the form of a gaming app or another app that unlocks hundreds of different selfie filters. Yes, a lot of parents can agree that these are a huge waste of money yet kids don’t see it the same way. If you can’t trust that your child will make the right decisions online, then simply deactivate their account or better yet, don’t give them your credit card details.