Do you ever wonder what June Cleaver would do if she were alive today? (For those of you who are too young to remember hearing about June, she was the quintessential 1950’s mom on the hit show, “Leave It To Beaver”). Would she be worrying about her sons, Wally and Beaver, using Instagram, Snapchat, or other social networks? Or would she be concerned about them texting inappropriate comments/photos to their friends?
My guess is that we’d probably find June in the kitchen, happily using Pinterest to cook up a super-nutritious dinner, unaware of what her kids were up to online.
The point is, even for an ideal mom, managing offspring on cellular devices is tough, especially with kids getting phones and tablets at increasingly younger ages. Even a supermom like June Cleaver would find it nearly impossible to keep up.
I used to think that the most effective, and only, way to truly keep kids safe online was to teach them how to use the best Internet filter in the world—the one they keep between their ears. And while I still believe this is the ideal, I’ve come to the conclusion that we all could use some help. Thankfully there is some amazing technology available today that can help us manage our online kids. Here are a few examples
One of the really great things about kids carrying around cell phones is that it’s now easier than ever to keep track of what they’re up to and where they are. For example, by using a tool called KidTrack you can actually see your child’s location, texts, calls and much more – whenever and wherever you choose. Kidtrack also has a unique feature called “geofencing.” What that means is that you can define a geographical area, even something as specific as a house you may not want your child entering or leaving, and KidTrack can alert you if your child does enter or exit this area. But like all of the monitoring software recommended here, this one suggests that parents use this tool together with their child, setting boundaries and expectations that you’ve mutually discussed and agreed to… all monitoring software works better that way!
But what if you don’t need/want to know about every single thing your child is doing online? Well there’s another new tool available called VISR . VISR is unique because it only searches for warning signals— explicit language, signs of cyberbullying, predators, illicit activities, sexting, etc.— and warns you about them. Think of it like an alarm. You can be alerted to activities you should be concerned about and then take action to help your child avoid harm. This capability is, I think, a marvel of technology.
Finally, Copilot Family is the only tool with the ability for educators and parents to work together to manage and protect students on school devices and personal devices they take to school (i.e. for BYOD or “Bring Your Own Devices” programs). This unique parent-educator engagement provides risk mitigation and regulatory compliance for schools, which is so important today. For the parents, it is the only tool that can be integrated with their school’s IT policies. Copilot also offers a free, and very easy-to-use, tool for parents who also want to customize and manage their children’s online activities (i.e. amount of time, when in use, apps i installed).
Regardless of what technological help you decide to employ, it’s important to remember no parental control software can be a substitute for active parent interaction with your children and supervision of their Internet use. But it is nice to know that there is help available in this area, because none of us could do this alone.
Not even June Cleaver.