Digital Drama: Is Your Child Hiding Something from You?

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Digital Drama: Is Your Child Hiding Something from You?


Now that the holidays are over, your children may now have new devices, gadgets or other digital media tools that open up a whole new world to them that, as parents, you may not be comfortable with. Is constant connectivity and unfiltered security settings making you nervous about what your kids are watching? Well, you’re not alone.

Parents in this contemporary world of digital media often feel one step behind their children when it comes to the latest media, apps or digital products. This can create uneasiness about what is safe versus what is educational, and can generate endless questions with answers that aren’t always clear.

Even with the best intentions of their parents, there is a wide array of stealth apps, or other ways kids use deception, to share profane text messages, racy photos or other inappropriate material with each other. This can create a danger for your kids.

Here are a few examples:

snapchat-app-icon-9 100x100Snapchat lets users send photos that disappear after a few seconds. Since it can be used to send inappropriate material, TeenSafe.com warns parents to be wary of allowing teens to use Snapchat.

calcu-100x100Photo Hider, App Locker, and Calculator% are older apps that let users hide media and activity.

poof100x100Poof hides other apps kids don’t want parents to find. It’s technically no longer available, but some kids still have the app.

vaulty 100x100Vaulty is an Android app that lets users hide photos, videos and other media away from the main storage in a password-protected vault. It even takes a picture of any person who types in the wrong password.

hqdefault 100x75Hide It Pro allows users to hide media; the app itself is disguised as an “Audio Manager” for the smart phone. Pressing and holding the app screen reveals a lock screen behind which users hide media.

In addition to being on the lookout for these deceptive apps, parents can take several steps to monitor and help guide how their kids use social media safely.

1. Wait until 13 years old. That’s the age required to open accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Enforce the age restrictions in your home.

2. Connect. Set up your own accounts and require that your child connect with you via all social media sites, and monitor their activity.

3. Check privacy settings. Be sure your child sets up appropriate privacy settings to avoid revealing too much personal information online. On Facebook, for example, only friends should see what your child is posting.

4. Monitor usage. Monitor your child’s usage with tools like NetNanny or Teensafe. Learn what sites your child visits, how long they stay there, and their general online activity.

5. Keep the computer in common areas. Keep the computer where it’s available to and visible to everyone in the home.

6. Teach about Internet consequences and dangers. Teach children to think long and hard before they post anything, and to never give out personal information nor add anyone online that they do not know.

Ultimately as the parent, it is important to take steps to ensure your child or teenager is safe, whatever that may look like for your family.

To learn more about Parenting in the Digital Age, click here to read the latest issue of Amazing magazine.

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