Do You Know What’s on Your Child’s Smartphone?
Does the idea of parenting in the digital age scare you or bring shivers down your spine? If you are like me, I am scared to death about what my wife and I will be facing when our children are in middle school and high school, dare I say elementary school too.
Currently, we have a 4-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter.
If I’m honest, I don’t even want to think about it. I want to stay in this sweet spot of innocence and pretend life won’t bring the usual suspects to the table. At the same time, I do want to be somewhat future-oriented and start practicing/preparing now for what may come.
New Discoveries for the iPhone – iOS 11 Update
I began thinking about this after a recent conversation I had with a 14-year-old teenager, named John.
John has a loving mother who has put into place parental controls to monitor electronic consumption. Sidebar, I would strongly encourage parental controls of some sort with your kids.
John has stated to me on multiple occasions how frustrated he gets with these parental controls. He feels controlled and desires for greater independence.
On the day that I saw him, he was smiling from ear to ear and proceeded to tell me how he figured out his mother’s passcode to deactivate the parent controls.
He was able to use a new feature, called screen recording, on his iPhone that is available on the new iOS 11 updates from Apple.
Screen recording essentially captures what is happening on the screen of his phone and stores this video in the photos app. John had started recording his screen when he proceeded to give the phone to his mother for her passcode to allow him to view a predetermined website that was appropriate.
Mother, unbeknownst to her, had just given John her passcode and now John is able to view any website and listen to any music that he wishes.
As I have thought more about this conversation with John, I wanted to give parents some tips on parenting children in the ever-changing world of technology. This could easily happen to any parent who is trying to monitor their children.
Tips for Keeping Smartphones Safe
1. Know what is on your child’s phone, including apps. If you don’t know what a certain app is or even does, do some research. Ask your child how they use certain apps? Be curious in how you ask and listen to what they have to say. As with most things, there are good things about apps, but these same apps can be used for mischievous purposes.
2. Keep informed and learn about new technology that is coming. Whether it is Apple or Android, updates come out rather frequently. Learn about the new features and be curious about how your children may try to manipulate you. This is hard for me to even say because I don’t want to think that my kids would ever try to manipulate me. It happens and it has happened on many occasions with my son.
3. Update any passcodes with some regularity. This is probably familiar to you, especially in corporate America, where you are required to change your password for certain access every 90 days or so. The same holds true here to stay ahead of the game.
Trust is Still a Thing
With all of this said, I am not endorsing helicopter parenting. Trust is valuable and should be given. I also find it important to teach your children about what is and what is not appropriate. Let mistakes be teaching moments. Bring your own stories into the conversation.
This may be new territory, but we all have temptations and struggles which are common to man. Be educated about what is already out and try to learn what your children are into.