I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself to keep check on the parental controls on all the devices my kids have. It’s been really easy to let things slip as they get a little older but compared to how I was with my older son, the tween has a lot more freedom. While I’m fully aware that this whole parenting game is pretty much trial and error (should profusely apologise to my teenager at this point, he has been a total learning curve) now I’ve settled into the role and am a lot more confident that I’m doing ok, I’ve been free wheeling with the tween.
But he’s the quiet one, the one which won’t make a fuss and just go about his day playing his xbox, checking his phone and watching TV when we’re home, while my lively toddler takes up a lot of my time. We always used to joke that my sister, the middle child, only ever appeared so well behaved (compared to me) because she was so quiet and in hindsight, she wasn’t the total squeaky clean teen we all thought she was. Silence was her virtue, where as open and nonchalant me got away with nothing!
So I’m using that gift of hindsight to take a reality check on my quiet little 12 year old and setting up parental controls on his iPhone, sorry son! He’s at such a vulnerable and impressionable age and the internet can be a dark, dark place. I had been using a Home Halo device to filter unsuitable websites to their devices. The peace of mind it gave me was invaluable but since that packed in, I’m relying on the BT broadband parental controls as well as setting up the correct ages on all their apple devices and keeping check on browsing histories that they’re not access anything they shouldn’t which has slipped the net.
Social networking is a big scare factor for any parent theses days but I do feel it’s something which we have to allow. I regularly check my tween’s followers and at 12 I think it’s not unreasonable to know his passcodes, making sure we have that conversation about staying safe online and for him to know that I’ll be doing it so he can exercise a little self control.
My real concerns, however, are when he’s searching the web and the possibility of him stumbling on things by mistake. knowing where to start when your kids get new devices is a total mine field though. Even a technology loving mum like myself is finding it harder to stay ahead of the game. Initiatives like those offered by the NSPCC and O2 provide parents with the free advice and technical support they need to keep children safe online.
For example, they run workshops with parents across the country, and offer a free dedicated helpline service – 0808 800 5002 – for any internet safety questions (i.e. setting parental controls). Additionally parents can get hands-on free assistance in-store with O2 Gurus. (you can book an appointment here)
With the statistics showing that;
- Childline has seen a 60% year on year increase in counselling sessions with children left worried after seeing porn online.
- · NSPCC research found that children were as likely to find pornography accidentally, as to deliberately search for it.
- · Web traffic to the NSPCC’s parent advice on protecting young people from the impact of porn has increased by 58% during 2016.
Setting parental controls is something to be taken very seriously.
This is a collaborative post