Has technology made your job as a parent just a little bit harder? You’re not alone. Technology is often touted as a convenience that’s made so many things easier—shopping, paying bills, and keeping up with old friends, for instance. If you happen to be the parent of a tween or teen, however, technology—especially the Internet—can make life more difficult, especially if your child happens to be more techno-savvy than you are. If you’re concerned about your child’s online activities or just want to be proactive to ensure that your child plays it safe online, read on to discover three practical ways you can monitor your child’s computer use, even if you consider yourself a bit technologically challenged:
One of the best ways to stay informed about your child’s activities is to make it a habit to talk with him/her on a regular basis. This is a universal strategy that can be applied to any situation, but is especially effective when it comes to monitoring online activities. Since you can’t possibly see everything your pre-teen or adolescent is doing on the web, talking about these activities is a great way to find out how your child is spending time on the computer.
When you approach your child, do so in a way that comes across as conversational as opposed to confrontational or overbearing. If your child feels threatened or intimidated, then he’ll likely clam up and your efforts will be counterproductive. Instead, talk with your child as you would an adult and express a genuine interest in any games, web sites, or social media platforms your child is involved in. As you talk, be on the lookout for warning signs that may suggest inappropriate or negative online behavior. If your child becomes sad, looks away, or refuses to talk about the subject, then you may need to take a closer look at the sites your child has been visiting or the people he’s been interacting with online.
### Be Present.
You’ve probably heard that your “presence,” rather than your “presents” is among the most valuable things you can offer your child. This is especially true when it comes to monitoring his or her online behavior. Although your child will almost certainly protest if you’re looking over her shoulder constantly, an occasional glance at her computer screen shouldn’t be considered a violation of privacy. If your child questions this behavior, just let her know that you’re interested in what’s she’s doing, and leave it at that. The point of these occasional check-ins is to let your child know that her computer activities are not private. If she knows that you’ll be peaking at her screen at any minute, she’ll be less likely to engage in risky online behavior.
### Install an App.
Need more help to ensure that your child remains safe online? We’ve got an app for that! Internet monitoring apps such as Qustodio are easy to download and provide you with detailed reports about your child’s Internet activities. You’ll know which sites they visit, who they talk to, and how much time they’re spending online. You can even block dangerous websites, providing your child with extra protection.
Ready to begin making the Internet a safer place for your child? Take the first step today by downloading our free, highly effective web monitoring app today at www.qustodio.com.