Are you aware of your kid's online activities? Learn more about parental controls on your kids' gadgets, and set healthy boundaries from here on out.
One of parents’ biggest responsibilities is nurturing their children’s curiosity and keeping them safe at the same time. It’s a hard task, considering how easy they can access information online. While the internet is a great tool for teaching your kids, it can also affect them negatively if they’re exposed to information and content that aren't age-appropriate.
Fortunately, web and mobile developers include parental settings to help parents with this task. Most applications now have parental control features to regulate the content their kids consume. Some developers even make separate apps, specifically designed for kids.
As parents, it’s essential to know how to use parental controls on your kid’s devices. Read on to learn more.
Of course, babies must have less exposure than toddlers and teenagers. But how can you exactly know the right age to expose them to more online content?
Have you ever seen a baby crying his heart out because the parents confiscated the phone? It’s exactly what happens when babies under two years old are exposed to too much electronics. They become too dependent on gadgets and online entertainment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that babies under this age group must get no exposure at all. However, it’s extremely hard, especially when making video calls to grandparents or distant relatives. That’s why the guideline now includes essential online communication and high-quality programs like Cocomelon and ChuChu TV. Under this guideline, exposure must only be limited to one hour per day.
The formative period of a baby is very important because it’s when they develop lingual, emotional, social, and motor skills. This is best achieved through real-world and live interaction rather than on a screen.
Toddlers, or kids aged 2-5, become more and more curious about different things. As they start to play more, it gets harder to keep your gadgets away from them. The key strategy to make parenting easier is to not keep the gadgets away — join them instead!
By joining them, you can closely monitor what kind of online media they consume. It’s also a good way to form a bond with them. Aside from online content, you may start letting your kids play games. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Amazon use the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) when creating games for kids. They also use this to provide more accurate content listings on YouTube Kids and Netflix.
Most of all, it’s important to set rules for your kids. To make sure they stick to these rules, follow them as well. Being an example for your kids is very important. When they’re at this age, it's so easy for them to follow whatever you do.
Primary schoolers, or kids aged 6-12, seek for more freedom away from their parents. It's that phase where they want to be left alone all the time. It’s a good sign of growth, but remember — they’re still kids! Let them explore by themselves, but set limitations to it.
Both macOS and Windows have specialised parental control settings. You can limit the time usage and web pages your children can access. Also, it’s best to lend your spare devices to your kids rather than your main ones. Kids are clumsy, and they can easily drop the device, spill milk over it, and more. Worse, they may accidentally delete critical work files for good, which may pose a harder task for you.
Best of all, encourage creativity by downloading child-friendly productivity applications. Apps such as Osmo, Scratch, and Toontastic can help. You may also watch out for cyberbullying — not only when someone does it to them, but also when they do it to someone else.
Teenagers, or children aged 13-18, must know how to handle responsibility — and the same is true for their online consumption. As a parent, you must let your kid have a little more freedom and privacy, but maintain constant monitoring of their internet usage.
The key responsibility of parents is to monitor, not to spy. Your children must feel respected about their privacy. Ask them to hand over their devices and check their content side-by-side. This way, you can also avoid uncalled doubts on what your kids do on their gadgets. If you see something suspicious, you can ask them about it then and there. You may also encourage them to install productivity applications on their devices.
Most of all, watch out for tech addiction. According to social psychologist Adam Alter, you should watch out for behavioural and emotional changes. Aside from prolonged time on screen, look out for surges of emotion whenever and after they use their devices.
Parental control is difficult, but there are foolproof ways to make it easier. In some cases, kids become more tech-savvy than you are. It’s important to keep yourself updated with technology so you know the best parental control settings for your kids.
The best way to prevent tech addiction is to collect their phones before going to bed. This is inclusive to all kinds of electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and video game consoles. Not having bright light at night encourages a better sleeping pattern, which is really important for growing children.
Otherwise, encourage them to take part in other activities. If you can play the guitar or can play chess well, teach them! It may not sound like a lot, but it can pique their interest in other things. If you’re able to, enrol them to extracurricular classes like piano and taekwondo lessons. It can teach them a skill or two, plus nurture their social relationships too! See whatever it is they find interesting when they're not on their phones, and nurture that. This way, you would be able to support and raise a well-rounded kid.
Aside from parental control features, you may also take advantage of family-sharing broadband and mobile plans. Leading providers in New Zealand now offer this plan type to make things more convenient at home.
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