Social media can be overwhelming. There are so many platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Kick, flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine and more. How do you monitor it all? How do you protect your child from cyberbullying, pornography, predators and other negative influences? You need help. How do you keep track of what is happening on the family computer, the lap top in their room, and the multiple smartphones and tablets that exist in your home?
You need help. You will use technology to fight technology. You are going to down load an “internet filter”. These filters will allow you to see what is happening on your child’s smart phone without actually picking up his/her phone. These filtering devices will create a dashboard on your computer you can use to monitor multiple devices.
Theses filters will block access to pornographic sites as well as violent sites or sites that promotes suicide and self-harm. They will also be able to give you a snapshot of what your student is doing with social media. These services do costs money. However, considering the protection they provide, they are extremely affordable.
Go to these websites to download filters and tools that will help you monitor your student’s use of social media. These tools will help you stop inappropriate messages/images from going out and from coming in. They will also monitor your child’s social media use for you and report to you through email alerts. You do not have to individually check your students Facebook, twitter, etcetera, accounts. The below sites do it all for you (in varying degrees).
www.uknowkids.com – An all in one service that monitors just about every social media platform and reports to you via instant emails. Provides a dashboard that allows you to track nearly everything your child does online.
www.netnanny.com – Another all in one service that helps parents monitor online behaviors. One of the most powerful internet filters on the market.
www.truecare.com – Monitors social media and reports to you like the above sites, however, does not cover as many platforms.
The above sites have some of the best reputations in the industry. However, there are many more. Simply Google “social media monitoring tools for parents”.
The following sites do not monitor social media, however, they are some of the best sites for help if your child has been bullied, stalked, or harassed online.
www.haltabusektd.org – Works with kids and teens that are experiencing online bullying.
www.wiredsafety.com – Deals with cyber abuse. If the situation involves any sort of physical/life threats parents must report to the local police before Wired Safety will get involved.
The theme of this article is to use technology to fight technology. There are many ways you can do this in addition to downloading an internet filter. You can get the assistance form service providers themselves. Every service provider includes parental controls in their package. However, as I tour the US as an anti bullying speaker and survey my audience, very few parents are actually using these tools.
With most providers, it is as simple as grabbing your student’s phone, entering your email and access code and using the menu button to navigate to “parental controls” or “settings”. There are many creative ways you can limit you’re students access. For example, at many of the schools I go to, administrators complain of something they call texting fatigue. Students are falling asleep at their desks because they have stayed up all night texting their peers. Teen’s text an average of 60 times a day or 3417 times per month http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/texting-and-teens_n_1365650.html. Much of that texting is occurring late in the evening or early in the morning.
You can program your student’s phone not to accept or be able to send out texts at certain times of the day or night. You can allow certain numbers (yours, relatives, and emergency numbers) within that limited time, however. You can also limit times that your student can make and receive voice calls.
You can do this. Your student needs help to make good decisions. Use technology to help him/her deal with technology.
Keith Deltano is an award winning teacher, private counselor, educational comedian and anti bullying speaker. You can learn more about him at www.DontBullyOnline.com