This mum used to worry about her pre-teen’s mobile usage until she discovered this new service and wants all mums to know about it too
Children are becoming increasingly connected to the digital world - it speeds up their learning process but it also comes with a new set of worries for mummies. This busy mum found a solution to her child’s online safety with StarHub’s JuniorProtect Plus and shares her experience here.
When you become a parent, your love for your kids transcends all else. And that love is often translated through worry. Parents always worry about their kids, whether they are 2 months old, 2 years old or 20 years old. A different set of worry comes about as a child ages.
When they’re 2 months old, you worry about whether they are getting fed enough. At two, you worry about whether they are learning the right things. As they enter their pre-teens and teen years, you worry about their interaction in the digital world—especially since most kids around that age have a mobile device nowadays.
And that’s totally normal! Any parent would worry about what their kids are using their phones for, whether it’s accessing inappropriate or restricted content, the possible addiction to mobile games, or worse still, every parent’s worst nightmare—meeting predators online.
It’s nearly impossible for kids not to have a mobile device nowadays. With so many after-school activities and perhaps carpooling, it is necessary for kids to have phones to keep in contact with their parents if plans change.
But we can’t always monitor our kids’ phone usage, and most kids would find this rather intrusive as they grow up and seek more independence and trust.
That is why when I found the thing that struck a perfect balance between keeping my child safe and still maintaining that trust with her, I had never felt more relieved.
My daughter has had a mobile phone for slightly over a year now, since she started primary school. It was out of pure necessity that she received her first phone as a gift from my husband and I. But that was when I found myself faced with a new headache - keeping my daughter safe in the online world.
I considered downloading so many types of apps to help me track my daughter’s online footprint and browser history. But that seemed so troublesome.
As mums, we already have so much to keep track of. I didn't want to have to download another app and go through the hassle of signing up for yet another account and remember yet another password.
And above all else, what I really wanted was for my daughter to not be able to access certain sites in the first place.
So when I discovered the StarHub's JuniorProtect Plus service, I knew I had found the right solution to my problems and my experience is one I want to share with other mums who may be facing this same dilemma.
Trying out the service
All I had to do was to log in to the JuniorProtect portal with my Hub ID and everything was good to go. From the portal itself, I could configure the different parental control settings for my daughter.
For parents with more than one child using this service, you can access all of their account settings from one portal. It is really convenient and user-friendly!
There are categories presets ready for parents to choose from like Junior (where topics like adult content, violence, drugs, dating, gambling, hate and intolerance sites are blocked) and Teens (where there is more leniency in the topics they can read about).
But of course, every parent has different goals for their children, which is why one of my favourite features is the custom settings feature. For my 8-year old, I blocked out the usual Junior-restricted topics and also closed off forum and news groups, social networks and downloading capabilities.
That is because I believe my daughter is still too young to be caught up in the intricacies of social media. It may seem harmless, but that is where a lot of scams happen. Many adults still fall for these scams, what more children?
So what I allow my daughter access to right now is mainly entertainment, games and educational material. To me, this is age appropriate and I can be sure that these are the only sites she is accessing. I am also able to detect unusual activity on her mobile because the service allows me to be notified whenever she accesses a restricted site. If there is a need to, I can see my daughter’s location trail to track where she has been over the course of the day.
Another feature that I was impressed by is the internet curfew settings. I set a two-hour time restriction for homework time from 5PM to 7PM Mondays to Fridays. During these two hours, the phone is off limits. Another screen-free time is during school hours. So even though my daughter has her phone with her, she has no access to the internet.
My daughter likes to watch Youtube videos, so I get concerned that she might exceed the data cap and I will end up paying additional charges. With this service, I can check her data usage; if I notice that she is using her data too quickly for the month, I just toggle it on and off remotely to relieve my worry.
A better relationship
I think having this service has allowed me to foster more trust with my daughter. We struggled in the beginning because I couldn’t find the balance between giving her freedom and protecting her online safety.
I used to have to hover around her during the two to three hours she would be on her mobile and it prevented me from being able to do my own things. Now, at least I have the peace of mind to let her use the device freely for those few hours a day.
Overall, I have to admit that I am one happy mum because with the help of StarHub’s JuniorProtect Plus, I am able to free up a lot of time from helicoptering over my daughter (I am sure you can relate that us mums have plenty of other things to do!).
It only costs $13.38 a month to get a mobile line and the JuniorProtect Plus service from StarHub. I have to say that it’s a price that I am willing to pay for peace of mind. For more information, visit starhub.com/juniorprotect