What should you make sure of before you get your child that first phone?
Sam still remembers the day her then 10-year-old daughter came up to her, requesting to use the laptop for doing online homework. She of course, agreed. Later on, she barged into her daughter’s room unannounced to get some stuff, only to find her hastily shutting down all the open windows on her laptop. Quite obviously, she hadn’t been doing any homework.
Says Sam, “I was a bit taken aback. She looked so nervous! I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world she had been watching or reading! And why did she have to close the windows as soon as she saw me? Was it something I wasn’t supposed to know?”
Sam’s concerns are not new. In fact, today’s parents are constantly worrying about what their kids are using their phones or laptops for. The Internet is a storehouse of information, and most of it is not meant for kids.
A mobile phone is a necessity these days
Many parents feel that it would get majorly difficult to keep a tab on your child’s activities if they also bought him or her a phone. Yet, isn’t having a phone a necessity these days, even for children?
Mummy Celine vividly recalls how distraught and helpless she felt that day, when her 11-year-old daughter failed to get back home from school on time. She had apparently been released late. Celine says, “That day I realised that it was very important for a child these days to have a phone, for their safety; in case they needed to make that emergency call, and also for parents to know of their whereabouts, especially with the CCA and after-school activities.”
So, how then can parents ensure that their children benefit from having a mobile phone, and yet use it judiciously? Of course, one solution would be to ban the Internet, but remember, anything that is forbidden becomes instantly more appealing for children.
Protect your child from harmful content online
This 2016 study on usage of mobile phones among children has some key findings:
- The average age now for getting a first phone is 10.3 years old.
- Only 27% of the parents surveyed used online programs to control and filter sites or platforms.
- 24% of kids now have “private” access to the Internet from their bedrooms, and 38% access the Internet via their phone.
- 50% of kids have social media accounts by age 12, with Facebook and Instagram being the most popular, followed by Twitter and Snapchat.
- Only 7% of parents use the smartphones’ GPS capabilities to track down their kids.
What do we learn from these findings? It is a fact that children would change their online behaviour if they knew their parents were watching. With the increasing use of social media, more kids are engaging with strangers online, and tend to overshare information.
Quite frankly, it is impossible to know what your kids are doing all the time. As parents, you can’t physically be wherever your kids are, including the online world. But we need to be aware of what they are doing, to be cool enough to let them explore the online world, without them realising that we are spying on them. Basically, to stay ahead of them without them knowing it, and to help them stay safe.
This is where StarHub’s JuniorProtect Plus comes in; it’s a network-based solution that lets you manage what exactly your child is allowed to see online, and gives you the control to set curfews on their Internet surfing time. What’s more, you can even track your child's footprint trail.
Here are some key features of JuniorProtect Plus:
- Blocks out undesirable websites: It gives you the flexibility to customise and personalise the list of allowed and disallowed websites, based on categories or web URLs.
- Set surfing curfews: You can now manage their screen time and set specific time restrictions. No more worries about your kids watching videos on their phones, and neglecting their school work. Kids can no longer toggle between homework and videos when parents are not looking!
- Switch on/off data remotely: Monitor and control mobile data usage. Be able to switch on/off your child’s mobile data access anytime.
- Receive SMS & Email notifications whenever your child accesses any restricted content.
- Location trail: Be aware of your child’s last known location and follow their footprint trail. This feature is sure to appeal to parents who want to know for sure where their kids have been, and whether they have been telling the truth on why they came back home late.
What makes JuniorProtect Plus different from current parental control solutions:
- Network-based solution: This means that parents do not have to download a separate app on both the parents devices and each of their children’s devices.
- Customisation: You can also have different settings for each of your children, based on their mobile lines.
- Remotely switch on/off data: Parents will no longer need to get hold of their children’s devices to switch off their data if they exceed their usage. This helps to bring convenience to the parents, enabling them to monitor and track their kid’s data usage remotely.
Looks like StarHub’s JuniorProtect Plus is the need of the hour when it comes to protecting your child from harmful content online. So, what are you waiting for?
Give your child a mobile line with JuniorProtect Plus from just $13.38/month. You can find more details at starhub.com/juniorprotect.
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