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Online safety for children, apps that help you prevent cyber dangers

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There are many articles on cyber safety on the Internet. Nevertheless, there is little information on online safety for children, which should have been covered first of all.

According to the recent survey, 56% of children aged 8-12 have a smartphone. They spend approximately 4-7 hours a day online, 80% of the time via their smartphones, making it the most common media for online dangers like cyberbullying, sexting, contacts with online predators and identity theft. Let’s take a closer look at these issues.

Cyberbullying is pretty much the same as traditional bullying: kids harass and torment each other on social media, via email and text messaging. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if it hasn’t gone too far. By now there are multiple cases of children committing suicide because of online bullying. Cara Dellile, Amanda Todd and Tyler Clementi  are just some of many children under 16 who killed themselves because of cyber dangers. These deaths have lead to governmental awareness in USA and Canada.

Sexting is a new term of sexual explicit messages exchanging. Social media has given a rise to this form of bullying and it is much easier for perpetrator to get away with it now. Again, we all know by now that IM chats like WhatsApp and Viber can be hacked, which puts sexting on a top of the list of online dangers.

Online predators. Nothing new here. It is exactly the same problem we have faced before. Kids meet “friends” online who soon ask to meet them in real life. There is probably no need to explain that such cases rarely end in a happy way.

Identity theft. This is a form of an actual online stealing, which is usually called online fraud. Children are the first ones to fall into snare. The fraud is usually performed via online games or online sales. Kids fill out their personal information including home address, full name and their parent’s credit card number.

The common thought is that the above mentioned dangers can be prevented with the help of parental control apps. According to Electronic Communications Privacy Act, commonly known as ECPA, certain types of electronic eavesdropping are prohibited throughout USA. Nevertheless, one can monitor his/her underage children or employees who have been notified and agreed to be monitored.

You can also change privacy settings in your child’s phone to block some apps or contacts. But if you’d like to monitor your child’s Internet usage, take a look at the list of some decent apps for parental control.

  • YouDiligence. (monthly plan) The application allows you monitoring all the social media accounts your children have. The app presents up to 500 potentially dangerous keywords related to bullying, cursing, alcohol and personal information like address, credit card number, etc. Reports are being sent according to the user’s preference. A parent can also add or delete phrases from the list.
  • Pumpic parental monitoring. (monthly plan) This parental control app transfers data from a child’s smartphone to a parent’s personal panel. It allows parents to monitor mobile Internet usage remotely. After a quick installation, one can track social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, IM chats and general texting. There is also a useful feature that allows tracking real-time GPS location of a child, which allows setting geo-fences with triggers like “home, school or grandma’s house”. Each time a child leaves or enters these triggers, a parent receives a message. You can also block all the harmful sites.
  • Nearparent. (Free) The app allows parents to build a trusted network of relatives and teachers to assist kids when needed. Nearparent has three different views: “helpers”, “view” and “alerts”. If a child needs assistance, he/she can click either “small or urgent alert”, which notifies adults in the network that assistance is required. “Alert view” reveals the adult who is going to help and the “helper’s view” identifies GPS location of the child and a helper.
  • Cyber Patrol Online protection. (monthly plan) This app allows you to monitor online usage on your child’s computer. Just as other online safety applications, it has an alert system that detects preselected keywords and sends alerts to a parent with a detailed report. The app was awarded (PTPA) – Parent Tested Parent Approved seal of approval.
  • Stopit. ($3.99) This is a new app that allows students report bullies anonymously. Children can send reports to preselected trusted adults in order to reach out for support quickly and confidentially. Teachers can also write down personal guidelines and interfere with students on a daily basis.

Online world is wonderful and scary at the same time. You can both find cool educational information there and encounter different dangers. Parents should be responsible for making the Internet safer for the kids. Hopefully, this post helps with that.

 

May 11, 2016

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