Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Helpful Technology Information for Parents

The movie Screenagers included many useful tips for parents, such as having Tech Talk Tuesdays with your kids, and working with your children on an agreed upon contract for technology use.  If you missed the movie last week you can still get the tips and loads of insightful information on their website:  https://www.screenagersmovie.com/contracts-1/

Dr. Kelly Close spoke in detail at the break out session for parents of younger children about parental controls.  Dr. Close talked about how it’s tough to manage some persistent children's access to the Web and that parental controls and monitoring tools can help. These tools work best when used openly and honestly in partnership with your kids.  

Common Sense Media has a terrific discussion on this at:

Dr. Close had so much valuable information that many parents asked her for more details.  So Dr. Close wanted to share the following list of potential functionality and her recommendations on the available parent control/monitoring applications: (Youth Connect is exceedingly grateful to her for sharing this valuable information.) 

Here are MANY of the features that the control/monitoring software programs have, but none have all of them:  
a.              Remote ability for you to change settings
b.              Per user controls (each user has their own limits) and number of users each program covers (typically 5 or more people)
c.              Age-based profiles that allow setup to be easier and based on best practices
d.              App download restrictions- block or limit App use and download
e.              Time restrictions by time of day, number of hours, time on specific media (videos, texting, social media, phone), time on specific apps…
f.               Time restrictions tracked across multiple devices (don’t just switch from phone to computer to get more time)
g.              Set limits separately for each device associated with the child's profile. For example, you could ban smartphone use during school hours, and block computer use when the child is supposed to be asleep.
h.              Phone:  Text tracking and/or mirrored to your phone/computer PLUS text and phone call history log
i.                Number of devices that can be supported- usually 5+ for EACH person
j.                Type of devices supported (android vs Iphone vs PC vs Mac...)
k.              Web content filters (prevent them from accessing websites and videos that are not appropriate)
l.                Block secure (HTTPS) websites if they match a banned category, so your clever teen won't be able to evade its notice by using a secure anonymizing proxy website.
m.            Social media tracking and restrictions
n.              Personal data- If your child creates an account using a false age, you'll get a notification. You also get notified any time the child posts personal data
o.              Real-time notification of attempted abuse and history of this (are they trying to go to bad sites)
p.              Real-time notification of possibly inappropriate posts to social media or texts by your child (such as giving out personal information or swearing)
q.              FYI:  In most cases, installation of social media tracking requires that you know your child's login credentials, or that you convince the child to log in and install the tracker's app. Disabling this kind of data collection is a snap for the child, so here, more than ever, you need to get agreement from your child.
r.               Prevent texting with strangers
s.              Tracking contacts and social media
t.               Overall time limits and time limits by media type (text, web, phone, video…)
u.              Per-App time limits
v.              Some of these tools let kids remotely request parental override to unblock a particular site, or get extra time online to finish homework.
w.             Control game usage based on ESRB ratings
x.              GPS Tracking with viewable history
y.              Geofencing- setup alerts for parents when the child reaches or leaves a destination
z.              Panic alert to notify specific contacts as to location of the child
aa.           Forced Safe Search on browsers and Youtube based on age and settings, even if you have not done this on the browsers yourself.  Prevents children from turning it off in the browser settings
bb.           Video tracking- monitor what videos your child watches on YouTube or Hulu. Each item includes the date and time of viewing along with the video's category. Opening an item gets you the full description, a thumbnail image, and a link so you can view the clip yourself.
cc.           Ability to remotely lock the phone
dd.           One time fee vs yearly or monthly fee
ee.           Know that certain apps and software work better or worse depending if Iphone, Android, Mac, Chromebook…

If using Android and PC/Chromebook:
Qustodio Parental Control
around $69/year  This is the only one that has good social media controls.  

 Symantec Norton Family Premier- around $49/year  Review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372155,00.asp   See website: https://family.norton.com/web/ 

If Using an Iphone/IOS and/or Mac:
Qustodio Parental Control

I have no investment or stake in any of these companies, but they seem the easiest to use with the most features

 Thank you,
Kelly Close MD, MPH