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How to keep your kids safe online

By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley

As a parent, I’m very aware of the dangers lurking at every corner, in the real world and online. With that, many parents have opted not to allow their children a cellphone, but as parents, we also cannot hold them back forever.   

Firstly, when your child is given a parent device, I suggest that you equip them with tools to help them navigate this new era. The most important thing is to sit your kids down and talk to them about what to do and what not to do online, the same way you would when teaching a child about stranger danger. As a parent, you need to set up boundaries and allow a child to understand that specific rules cannot be broken under any circumstance. 

You can download apps on your child’s device that can monitor, limit, and even shut off the phone when controlled to do so. Specific social media apps have a parental tool where you can control the content, screen time, etc. Here are some of the apps you should be looking at.

Life 360: This is an app that helps you track the location, and it is simple to use. It also allows you to set notifications so if your child is on an outing, you will be notified in real-time when they arrive and so on.

Bark: This allows you to scan your kids’ texts and social media without snooping. So, the app alerts you when something harmful has been sent, and it helps screen texts and social media for harmful content. You can also set screen time rules. 

Most new phones and tablets come with a screen time limit and content blocking; you can enable this on android phones, limit the app store as well, and every time a child wants to download something, you will have to approve it on your device. Phones also have an option of parental control where you can set a screen time limit, and once that limit is reached, only the call button will be accessible for emergencies. 

Our Pact: This app is worth every cent as it allows you to set limits per app, so during exams or whatever reason, you can allow certain apps to work and others not to. The app also allows you to set different rules for different users. It has a text blocking function as well as a web filtering option.

As a parent, you also have to set healthy boundaries between you and your children; each app allows control but no snooping. All we can do is equip our children with much-needed tools for the online world.  



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