Police are urging parents to check their children’s phones in an effort to keep them safe online.

On this Newton Abbot Police facebook post, officers advised parents to stay up-to-date with the latest online trends, in an effort to increase awareness of cyber safety. Here’s a list of the most popular apps (that can be mis-used) among teens at the moment…

It’s not all bad though…

For every gut-wrenching story about cyberbullying, there are so many stories of teenagers (and adults) using social media for good. When people come together on social media to create awareness for something they believe in, change really does come and that’s amazing.

But it’s our job as parents to help our children navigate through this world that changes so fast as a result of our ever-changing technology ecosystem.

What can we do?
Not all apps are inherently bad – but I would definitely recommend monitoring the way they’re used.  Here are a few other steps you can take:

01. You can limit the amount of time your child spends online every day
There are a few parental control apps out there, but this one is my absolute favourite!  Not only does it help to improve safety, but it can help limit usage at times of the day (and night) kids shouldn’t be using their phones!  You can download it here.

02. Enable parental restrictions
Here’s a step-by-step guide to enabling parental controls and restrictions on an iOS device…

03. Turn off location services
If location services are on, chances are your child’s location is being shared while using one of the apps. This is an important feature to turn off in specific applications.

04. Check for multiple (fake) user accounts
Some kids will use one profile to interact with their friends and the other one is their “angel” account where they’ll only post what they’d want their grandmother to see. In Instagram, kids call it a “finsta” which means “fake Instagram” account. In order to find out if your child has multiple accounts, you need access to their phone and you need their passcode. If you don’t know their passcode, it might be time to have a whole other conversation!  Once you have access to the phone, open Instagram. Tap the head icon and that will open the profile. Tap on their name at the top of the screen. If there are multiple accounts, you will see them, if not, you won’t see any other accounts. It’s really easy to create a secondary account, so just watch for this and do periodic phone checks!

05. Check for secret apps
These apps are a photo vault that hides certain photos when you open the app, it works in the same way as a normal calculator, but when you type in your passcode, your secret photos come up.

Child predators know about these apps and use them to try to engage with children.  Your child could also be keeping secret photos (sexting or otherwise) that they don’t want you to see.


Images credit: appsolutelyapril.com