If you’re wrestling through the smartphone battle, you’re not alone. One third of children have a smartphone by age 11, and 91% will by age 14. If your kid doesn’t already have a smartphone, they’re probably begging you for one. And for understandable reasons. A smartphone can be a great tool and represents easy access to learning and connecting with friends.
But they also can be damaging and represent potential dangers to your kids and your family. Porn, bullying, advertising, and more all threaten our children’s safety, self-esteem, and health.
You may ask yourself “should I have parental phone controls?”
If your children have smartphones or you are considering giving your child a cell phone, consider the benefits of parental controls and setting limits on your kids’ devices.
Why Parental Phone Controls?
Using parental controls for your child’s smartphone is a tricky decision. Putting parental controls on your child’s phone may feel like an intrusion into their privacy. Your kids may feel as though you don’t trust them or you are spying on them.
But it is important to have conversations with your kids about the potential dangers of the internet and perhaps make this deal:
“When you get a smartphone, we get to teach you how to use it, so parental controls are mandatory.”
Here are 4 compelling reasons why parental controls on your child’s android devices or iPhone are beneficial and smart.
Cyberbullying is a big problem, especially for middle school and high schoolers. Nearly 25% of kids reported instances of cyberbullying in 2021. This bullying happens via text messages, email, gaming chat apps and chat rooms, or through social media apps like SnapChat, Tik Tok, or Instagram. With phone monitoring, you can keep an eye on your kids and the things they are saying and the things their peers say to them.
Block Explicit Content
Did you know that the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is age 13? Kids are curious and hear lots of new and unfamiliar things at school, during after-school activities, or on the internet. You want your kids to come to you with those questions, and not the internet. With parental control apps, you can block explicit and adult content searches, apps, adult websites or other inappropriate content that your child may be searching for.
There are nearly 500,000 predators online each day that pose a threat to your kids. Kids between the ages of 12-15 (those most often new to owning smartphones) are most vulnerable to online predators. These predators use messaging apps, chat rooms, and even video games to get close to and groom vulnerable children. When you monitor your child’s phone, you can protect your children before they ever interact with someone dangerous. You can even monitor their location to protect them from danger.
Limit Screen Time
1 in 4 young people and children have an unhealthy relationship with their smartphone that could be damaging to their mental health. Excessive screen time has been linked to anxiety and depression. And in some cases, phone usage is so severe that it could qualify as an addiction. While research about the long-term effects of smartphone usage is still coming out, setting screen time and usage limits on your child’s phone protects their minds and hearts.
You can view our suggested phone monitoring apps for parents or you can learn some of the built-in parental controls for iPhones and iPads that protect your kids.
We know that you walk a careful balance when it comes to parenting your kids and teens through the 21st century.
Whether you are facing a tough conversation with your child and don’t have the words to begin, or you’re getting a jumpstart on the teenage years ahead, Axis is for you.Join us as we parent together from elementary to high school and beyond.
Written in partnership with Reach The Lost