As a mother of a teen myself I realize that most of the items on our children’s Christmas lists have the ability to connect to the internet. Whether it’s a smartphone, iPad, or gaming system, before wrapping it up PLEASE be sure to take every possible measure to increase the layers of protection. I have worked with many children (and adults) who are struggling because of an experience they had online.
Talk to your wireless provider about what they can do to block inappropriate content and monitor inappropriate contacts, set your DNS settings on your home wifi to block pornography (see: https://cleanbrowsing.org/parenting-guides/how-to-block-pornography), and consider adding a monthly product like Bark (see: https://www.bark.us/?ref=NQ6NM6T) If you sign up for Bark Jr through the end of 2020, you get that service for free for life!
Bark Jr includes:
- Manage schedules like School Time, Bedtime, Free Time
- Filter which websites your kids can visit
- Block which apps/sites they can use at what times
- Keep up with your kids with location Check-Ins
- Unlimited children & Screen Time devices
- Trustworty security
- iOS / Android parent app
- Unlimited support
But, remember, while providing protection is essential, it’s not enough. Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers still need to be aware of what kids are doing (keep devices in public areas) and what it could be doing to them (balance time online and off), prepare them for the digital world and how to make wise choices (talk to them often), and respond if you have a concern (be the trusted adult they need).