Back to School: Smartphone safety for parents


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Back to School means some students will finally get their own smartphone.

When you are ready to let your child have one, you have to be ready for all that comes with it.

Apps can connect your kid with classmates and friends but also the outside world via social media.

Steps you can take to be cyber safe

There are steps parents can take to make sure their child is cyber safe.

Before handing over a phone to your child understand how social media works. The more knowledgeable you are, the less likely your kids can pull one over on you or just make big mistakes and the more likely you will be able to engage properly about their smartphone activity.

Know what your child is doing online

It’s important to learn more about what your child is doing online. Websites like Connect Safely have guides on some of the most used teen social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. It will show you how those social platforms work and the biggest safety threats for teens who use them. Connect Safely has multiple parent guides.

Set expectations

Next, have a discussion about your expectations and rules on smartphone activity. Website Safe Kids has printable contracts by age group for you and your kids to sign. Being clear about what you will and won’t tolerate puts you on the right path.

Monitor online activity

Last, monitor!

Family time for iOS and Android devices will track your child’s call history, text messages, installed apps and block certain apps. The annual cost is $30.

Qustodio has a dashboard that breaks down mobile activity, time spent on social media apps and will set time limits and block out inappropriate content.

It works for iOS, Android, Kindle and Nook devices. There is a limited free version but it will cost you to upgrade and get all of the bells and whistles, as much as 55 dollars a year for five devices.

ESET does everything from web blocking and content monitoring but also has a feature that sends a message to your kid — and their phone won’t work until they reply to you.

WATE 6 On Your Side is your official back to school station. School Safety is a top priority for parents … and it is for WATE, too.

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