Until just 10 years ago, it was not common for children to have cell phones. Smartphones weren’t even widespread, so parents at the time didn’t have to think about potential problems that could bring if their children are using such devices.
But today the situation has changed significantly. Every child has a smart device as soon as it is big enough to be able to hold it. Children play games on them, watch different content, chat and do practically everything the same as adults. Although it is very good on the one hand, because it develops their brains and prepares them for future life, it also brings a lot of dangers.
The danger is especially great if the parent does not have an insight into what the child is doing while using a smart device. However, this is an ethical problem, is it okay to spy on your children and thus violate their privacy. All this provokes many debates and there is no single simple answer whether you should spy on them or not. So read our article about is viewing contacts on your child’s phone necessary as well as other things related to that topic which is giving headaches to parents around the globe.
Parents are usually unsure whether they should spy on all or just certain parts, so it first occurs to them to have an insight into the contacts recorded in the child's phone. This can certainly be useful, but only as part of a broader spying to gain insight into what the kid is doing. It is important to know who he is talking to, but keep in mind that today the conversation is primarily done using social networks like Facebook. And as you probably know, in order to communicate with someone on Facebook or Instagram, you don't have to have his or her contact. It is certainly useful and it could be said necessary to have insight into contacts because of the apps like Viber and generally because of the phone calls, but don’t have a false sense of security because of it. We tell you that, because again video and audio calls can be made through the Facebook. Contacts are just one part you have to spy on, but you have to do the rest too.
How to do it, and what else you need to monitor, read below.
Having an insight into what your child is doing on their phone has never been easier. Even if you have a tech-savvy child, all it would take for you to monitor their activity and view their contacts is a phone-spying app.
Phone-spying apps have a bad reputation because people often associate them with breach of privacy and similar things, but is not what we are advising you to do. In the case of minors, betraying the trust can only lead to much more serious problems, so it is essential that you are transparent with your children about your intentions. Even though you don’t have any legal obligations to disclose to your children that you are monitoring the activity on their phone, if you are an owner of the said device – we suggest that you do.
This will create a bond between you and your child, and even though you would have a complete overview of what they do on their phones, you would still do it in a way that doesn’t betray their trust.
In most cases, the spying/monitoring apps have to be installed on the device you are planning on keeping tabs on. Those apps aren’t hidden. They will be visible to the user of the device. Furthermore, they can’t just magically appear out of thin air – you have to be the one to install them. So, right from the get-go, your child will know that their activity is being monitored, their location known, their contacts viewed and so on.
The setup of these apps is nothing if not easy. It doesn’t require rooting of your device, and it works equally well on both iPhones and Android phones. It does not work on Linux phones, but we assume you wouldn’t torture your kid with a Linux device. All jokes aside, all it takes is for you to go to the AppStore or the PlayStore, download the app you plan on using, and that’s it. It’s just smooth sailing from thereon.
The control panel will be on your mobile device or your computer, from which you’ll be able to see pretty much everything on your child’s device – who they talk to, what do they browse on the internet, how much they use their phone, where they are at all times etc.
Keep in mind, these apps don’t come free and are often supported through some kind of subscription. Rarely are they free, and if they are, most of the time they’re not as good, or they require you tampering with the monitored device, which we suggest you don’t do. If you do, you will not only use the warranty, but you will make the phone more vulnerable to hacking which could potentially lead to someone else having the exact same monitoring privileges as you do.
As we’ve said, these spying apps are very powerful, and they allow you to do more than just keep an eye out for the location of your child. Here are only some of them.
Some argue that feature isn’t nearly as useful as advertised, but we do believe in preventing problems before they even occur. While it is true that just looking at a contact list isn’t going to do much on its own, having an insight into who your child talks to will.
Knowing, at all times, who and when is your child talking to can prevent more problems than we could possibly imagine. Let’s say, for instance, your teenage daughter is talking to someone of age, let’s say a 21-year-old guy. From their perspective, it is only a few years between them, especially for the girl. She is conversing with a slightly older, seemingly more mature guy than the one in her school. The guy isn’t necessarily a predator or an ill-minded person – he could just be ignorant, but it is your job to make sure nothing bad comes out of it.
This is only one instance in which viewing contacts could have a positive effect on every party involved. You see, we’re witnessing many bad things happening to our children and youngsters, both out of ignorance and ill-intentions, and unless we do what needs to be done – nothing’s going to change.
Although most parents first think about the dangers of communicating over the Internet, which is certainly a big problem, equal attention should be paid to the control of apps and content that is available to the child. With all the fantastic content that can be found on the Internet, there is also much that a kid should never come across. There are many malicious programs that can steal data or damage device and so it is up to you to limit the apps that can be accessed. Also, the Internet is full of content like pornography and violence, which is definitely something you don't want your kid to see. So limit the apps so he can use only the most popular ones where security is at a high level. And then it would be good to have an insight into their activities on social networks, because there danger is also hidden.
It has never been easier to know where your child is, than today with the help of apps and GPS. Know at all times that your child is safe and that he is where he told you he would be, not that he is lying to you. Once you have a trusting relationship with your child, then deviating from the agreed route will be a red alert and you will be able to react in time. That is why it is necessary to have this option, especially for children under the age of 12, because they are most susceptible to various dangers. There is an option to check where the child is and you can include the option for the app to send you a report every half hour or hour.
There are various reasons why it is important to keep track of your child’s smartphone. Some of the most common dangers are:
-Cyberbullying - As our life has largely moved to a cyber environment, so bullying has taken on a new form, called cyberbulling. Children are bullied in the same way as live, except that physical violence is not usually involved, but only emotional. But it causes equal stress and negative consequences for the psyche. When you monitor activities, you can’t miss it, and that is important because kids don’t usually say things like that right away.
Kids often pent up their emotions and rarely ever talk about problems like cyberbullying, and that could cause an array of psychological problems. We all know how ruthless kids can be, face to face, so you can only imagine how horrible they become when they’re protected by the screen. They will say the most gruesome, meanest things to another kid, and if that kid is yours – you have to know about it.
-Sexting - Something that older children usually do when they are in their teens. Then the sexual urge is stronger and that is why it is not uncommon for them to send each other their nudes and the like. But this can lead to abuse in the form of unauthorized publication of these photos on the Internet, which can be very dangerous. There are also many predators on the Internet and that is why it is necessary to be careful.
The disturbing statistic is that over 55% of teenage boys and girls have either sent or have received a nude photograph. Not only can this be seen as child pornography in the eyes of the law, but it could also have significant consequences on both the physical and psychological well-being of a teenager.
You see, once those photos are uploaded to the internet – they're there to stay. Forever. More often than not, those photos end up in the wrong hands, we go back to cyberbullying, and the vicious circle continues.
-Information protection - Children are often very naive and then people with bad intentions can extract various information from them, both about them and about your house, money and much more. Up until recently, even grown-up people have been helping Nigerian princes and falling for even less sophisticated scams, often resulting in the theft of their personal information and money. Therefore, it would be in your best interests to protect your child from unknowingly doing the same thing.
-Limit screen time - Dependence on smart devices has become a big problem. Many are claiming that over 60% of modern-day society is downright addicted to their phones. We may not see it, but it is obvious just how attached we are to these things. The first thing we do when we open our eyes in the morning is we grab our phones and scroll through the socials.
Kids and youngsters are even more vulnerable to becoming addicted to phones. Prolonged use could affect every aspect of their life, almost exclusively in a negative way. But when you follow your children's activities, you will have an insight into their screen time and you will be able to limit it as needed.
As much as all these options bring peace to the parents and as much as they are justified, as you could read in the article, they often cause great dissatisfaction among children. Also, many experts state that this is too much invasion of privacy and that it can have counterproductive consequences for your relationship with the child. That is why it is important for the child to know that you are using such apps, and not to hide it from him, so that he discovers in the end. That would be disastrous for his trust in you.