It’s not surprising. Parental Controls are lacking for a slew of apps that are used by teenagers and kids. I think the problem is a combination of factors that these companies are failing to address. I’ll give you an example. I have a 17-year-old that’s always been pretty tech-savvy and curious (I wonder where he gets it from?) and of course, since he spends the free time his parents don’t have, using his favorite apps and games, it’s pretty hard to keep up with what he is doing. I know he is not a unique case.
I recently visited Despierta America virtually from my office to talk about the popularity of some of these apps such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, Fortnite and Roblox among others. The conclusion is simple. May the parents beware. The parental controls are there but effort needs to be put in by the parents to configure them and since there is no universal standard, each company can address the issue however they want.
Since there are so many apps, I’m not going to bother you with the details for configuring the parental control settings for each. Instead, I’m going to give you an easy simple method that you can follow so you can do your due diligence. Here are the steps.
No, it’s not the TV channel and yes, that’s the term used by law firms when they are gathering information about their case behind “enemy lines”. It’s simple guys. Take your kid’s phone and go through all the installed apps one by one and figure out what they do. They might have an innocent name but you won’t know until you do the homework. For example Bumble has nothing to do with bees, if you don’t know, go find out.
Once you have your handy list, you are going to go to Youtube and type in the #2 search engine in the world ” Parental Controls for X”, pick a video, watch it, learn it and that’s it. I know you are smart so, why do I ask you to watch videos since you can probably hack it on your own? I repeat. Since all the options are different and there is no universal standard, one app might call it one thing and the other app might have a different setting that’s easy to miss. For example, in some of the apps, you need to set a pin so you can protect the changes, if you don’t do that, your smart teenager can go after you are done and change the settings right back.
Phone Toss Up!
No, we are not talking about a prison movie but you need to follow me here. How would you know if all these rules you are setting are being followed if you don’t inspect them randomly? One of our clients loves to say “Inspect what you Expect” and I agree. You know “Trust but verify”, etc.
Last but not least, depending on the type of kid you have ( and you know the type of kid you have) you might need to implement more strict measures. You can monitor the network at home with a product like Circle from Disney or you can monitor their phones with Parent Spyware such as Qustodio or Mobicip. Using these types of software, you can have a closer look at everything they are doing online, the sites they are visiting, the pictures they are taking and exchanging, the texts, the apps, the whole kit and caboodle.
I know it’s hard but it’s also necessary. Give it a shot and let me know what you find most challenging. I know it’s not easy but I have faith you can do it!