In case you haven’t noticed, or somehow you missed it, we are living in the digital age. Welcome! Welcome to the age of everything at your fingertips. With technology constantly changing, yet continually growing more popular and widespread, parents are living in an extremely stressful age. In fact, two of the greatest fears parents feel when it comes to their kid and technology is…is my kid safe and Is my kid making smart choices? And maybe the biggest question parents are asking as a result is, “how do I know if my kid is digitally safe and making smart choices?” If any of that resonates with you, then please know you’re not alone, and there is hope! There are devices and services out there that can help you better know and manage what your kid is doing online and on their phone. Even though there are dozens of good products, services, and apps out there, we’d like to highlight a few of them that we think are highly beneficial for you as a parent. Here they are…
Recommended Monitoring Apps
Disney Circle Home and Go (our #1 recommendation):
Circle Home is a user-friendly product made by Disney to help monitor and filter any device connected to your home Wi-Fi. After pairing each of your Wi-Fi enabled devices to your Circle Home, you are ready to begin customizing each device to meet the standards you want. With Circle Home, you can manage online time limits, pause the Internet, set bedtime Internet allowance, customize filters to fit each person individually, and see how much time your kid is spending on each app. But what about Internet usage outside of your home Wi-Fi? This is where Circle Go comes in! Circle Go does everything that the Circle Home does, but all outside of the home Wi-Fi. Circle can currently be used on specific IOS and Android devices. Both the Circle Home and Go are great choices for parents who want more customizable options to manage their kid’s online activity better. For more info on this, please visit Disney Circle.
Qustodio gives parents the tools they need to better monitor, manage, and control what their kids are doing on their device. With Qustodio you can set limits, add filters, block content, manage screen time, and have limited control in monitoring what your kid is doing online on certain games and apps. With Android devices, you can even see who your child is calling and texting and read what they are sending. Also, Qustodio allows you to look at your child’s location. Qustodio can currently be used on Androids, IOS, Windows, Mac and Kindle. As you can see, this particular monitoring app has a lot to offer to any parent! For more info, please visit Qustodio.
Norton Family Premier (NFP) is designed to keep your kid safe from different dangers online. NFP pairs with specific Windows, IOS, and Android device. And pending which platform you have, with NFP you can track what websites your kid is on, block inappropriate websites, see what they’re searching, manage time spent on devices, track your child’s location, control access requests, have the ability to instantly lock your child’s device when and if needed, and much more. For more info, please visit Norton Family Premier.
- Covenant Eyes (Covenant Eyes): Designed to help you abstain from pornographic material.
- Accountable2You (Accountable2You): Primary purpose is to help you set up personal, online accountability.
- Surfie App (Surfie App): Helps with noticing Cyberbullying and negative online content.
Free or Limited Free Apps
- Qustodio and NFP have a free version or free trial!
- Mobicip (Mobicip) – lets parents manage content, time limits, and limited monitoring of apps.
- Life360 (Life360) – Primarily serves as a tracker app: knowing the location of your kid.
So as you can see, there are some good products and services out there to help parents and kids. It really comes down to what you specifically want to monitor and manage. And while each of these monitoring devices/apps can help your kid be safer and smarter in regards to technology, please keep in mind that they are not the “silver bullet” for never messing up. In the words of Patsy Clairmont, “Kids are clever, but not yet wise.” Kids and teens will try to find sneaky ways around the boundaries that we set up, so that’s why we need to not solely rely on these monitoring services.
The number one way to monitor your kid is to keep the relationship going. YOU are the best monitoring device. As cheesy as that might sound, it’s true. As you invest time in your relationship with your kid, you will find out things through conversation and through doing technology together. Plus, the more your kids believe that you care about them (not just what they do and don’t do), the more likely they will come to you in difficult seasons of life. And isn’t that our end goal anyway…that our kids will want to come to us in the good and the ugly? Ultimately, that’s the hope! So while you consider investing in a monitoring device/service, our hope is that you’ll invest even more in the relationship you long for with your kid!