Best Ways of Taking Back Control from Children With Smartphones and Computers in This Electronic Age is Something We Should Share With the Parents of Our Grandchildren

secure-teen-todayThis Grandma is amazed at the number of our school aged grandchildren with smart phones, some as young as 7.  According to a study by Common Sense Media, three quarters of teenagers have smartphones and 50% said they are addicted to them.  Younger and younger grandchildren are being given smartphones by their parents.  Yes, in this scary age, parents want the ability to keep in touch, and moreover, want the ability to track their children and can do so via smartphones.  When we were in Paris with our oldest grandson, he told us his parents could track our exact itinerary as they had such tracking device on his phone.  He said they have the ability to read his texts too.  He, at age 13, seemed okay with it, understanding the security reasons for them to do so.  The New York Times on February 19, 2017 had a question to a column asking if it is wrong for a parent to read a nine year old’s diary and “invade her privacy.”  The answer said that the child would be angry “and with reason.  Children have survived to maturity for a couple of hundred thousand years without their parents invading their innermost thoughts.  It can’t be necessary.  Leave her diary alone.”  This Grandma disagrees with the author Kwame Anthony Appiah, who teaches philosophy at N.Y.U., in this day and age.  We live in a different time now.  The internet and social media is a threat to our grandchildren, who have access to the entire world of the internet and not the maturity to understand the consequences of this new world access.

Jeff  Rossen, investigative reporter with the Today Show, recently introduced three of the newest apps available for smartphones to download onto children’s smart phones which enable parents of our grandchildren to monitor web history, texts and telephone calls and can give their exact location.  There are desktop versions that can be installed in laptops or computers to monitor children’s on line activity. See the December 1, 2016 video and read the article here.

The three apps are:

  1. NET NANNY

Net Nanny says on their website that 82% of children are exposed to inappropriate material on line before age 11.  NetNanny has parental controls on internet activity, blocking websites, and tracking usage and websites visited, and time management of allowable time on social media, among other features.  Yes, there is a charge, but it is worth passing this website along to the parents of your grandchildren.

  1. SECURE TEEN

The Secure Teen website gives us more reasons to pass this post on to the parents of your grandchildren:

“The internet is a scary and dangerous place for kids. SecureTeen was designed to help parents make it drastically safer. One in 16 children is exposed to hardcore porn, while 42.1% children have admitted to viewing online porn. One in 12 children has had sexual chats with people online; while one in 25 have exchanged explicit pictures of themselves with someone on the internet. One in 20 children will agree to meeting a complete stranger from the virtual world, and they have done so in secret. Over a quarter of all children online are able to sign up on different sites pretending to be adults.”

Secure Teen is for both phones and computers and offers internet filtering to remove harmful content from landing on the devices and allows for safe search, blocks apps, has FaceBook monitoring, blocks pornography, creates a list of all website and webpages reviewed, has a time management feature, location tracking, text message logging by sending all texts sent or received on the cell phone directly to parents’ user account. Parents can check all these details easily remotely through an online dashboard by SecureTeen. Parents are also given control over the child’s phone by remote control access. “These features can help protect your grandchild in the event that their phone is lost or stolen. Here’s what can be done with it:

*Remotely lock device. Use your SecureTeen dashboard to send out a command to the phone to lock itself. If it’s lost or stolen then whoever had it will not be able to access any of the content on it.

*Remotely unblock device. Your SecureTeen dashboard can also be used to unblock the device.”

Jeff  Rossen says, “SecureTeen does even more: It gives your kids call logs, which means you know who your kids are calling, and who’s calling them. It even enables you to read your kids’ text messages.”

3.  TEENSAFE

Jeff  Rossen says “TeenSafe may be the most advanced of all. Not only does track text messages and calls; it also pinpoints your child’s exact GPS location instantly.”  This app monitors WhatsApp as well, allows parents to read deleted texts and does what the other apps do.

The prices seem comparable for each of the alternatives.  This Grandma has found Jeff Rossen tries to find the newest and the best. After an internet search on “apps that can help you monitor your teens’ activities online,” I also found it was the newest list of apps.  Therefore, the parents of your grandchildren may have an older app company and should explore these newest apps.  I would also keep the internet search phrase and note to check every six months to a year for newer and more sophisticated apps available.

The parents of our grandchildren can also create “device free” times, such as during dinner or for a period after dinner each day.  This Grandma has found that the parents of our grandchildren may find it harder to have device free times than our grandchildren!  I bet their “addiction” is higher than the 50% attributed to teens.

I found myself imagining being a parent able to lock the child’s phone when driving so they cannot text and drive and be safe!  Remote management in real time is wonderful.  It seems that there is so much peace of mind now with these new apps. Having raised a challenging teen, this Grandma wishes we had this when our children were teenagers.

HOWEVER. . . .

When this Grandma mentioned the apps to the former teen, now near age 40, she said she would just borrow a friend’s smartphone or computer whose parents did not put apps on their smartphones or computers.

Therefore, the best advice to give the parents of your grandchildren is to forward this post to every parent of every friend of your grandchildren so all the children are covered!  And to get a family plan and put the controls on all the phones and computers available to our grandchildren, including ours, or be suspicious if they ask to borrow our electronics when visiting!

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

 

 

 

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