Parenting in today’s digital world can be complex, especially with all of the resources that kids have at their fingertips. It’s become quite common to hear horror stories about texting, scary apps, and cyberbullies.
According to Dr. Tracy Bennett, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of GetKidsInternetSafe.com, kids often keep their challenges and fears to themselves. “Kids intentionally keep things private from us,” said Bennett.
Parents Are Increasingly Monitoring Their Kids Phones
According to KidBridge, a leading phone monitoring service for minors 17 and under, more than 2.2 million parents have trusted their technology for peace of mind.
This makes sense, as recent statistics have revealed that 48 percent of parents have admitted to looking through their kids cell phones, 61 percent have monitored their browsing activity, and 65 percent use the taking away of phones as punishment for bad behavior.
“For parents, it has to be all about parenting strategy,” said Bennett. “While I believe in transparency and communication between parents and their kids, in the end it’s important to have the right tools and methods for protecting them.”
Freaky Stats Are Driving Increased Monitoring
Based on a 2017 report in which 500 million messages across texting, email, and social media of children 8-17 children are more at risk than ever:
- 66% of teens and 57% of tweens experienced cyberbullying.
- 72% of teens and 53% of tweens encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature.
- 18 % of teens and 11% of tweens were involved with a self-harm/suicidal situation.
- 40% of teens and 28% of tweens expressed or encountered violent subject matter and/or thoughts.
- 70% of teens and 54% of tweens talked about illegal drugs/alcohol.
Given these stats, it’s not a surprise that nearly half (48%) of all parents either are currently monitoring their kids or have in the past.
The Secret to Monitoring Your Kids Phone
Technologies like KidBridge allow for you to read your kid’s iPhone messages, view their phone browsing history, see their bookmarks, review their call logs and contact list, and more.
With KidBridge, you go through a short setup process that requires you have your child’s phone in hand. But, once everything is configured, you can monitor their phone activity from your computer, iPad, or phone.
The secret to your success with KidBridge is successful initial setup and then making sure your child regularly connects to your wireless network. A backup of their data is made every 30 minutes when they’re connected.
Should You Tell Your Child They’re Being Monitored?
There are mixed thoughts on this, but most experts, including Dr. Bennett, think it’s good practice to communicate with your child about it. “I think it’s best if you can actually come out and tell your kids you’re going to be monitoring their phone.”
Dr. Bennett admits that she uses text monitoring most with her children. “I’m not the kind of parent who helicopters too much. But they know I have access to everything they do online, so they think before they do it — and I remind them all the time,” says Bennett.
While all parents probably wish they could be so open, there are some instances in which you may not want to (or be able to) tell them.
In the end, Dr. Bennett suggests that you have to gauge your situation carefully and make sure whatever you do is in the very best interest of your child — and your relationship with him or her.