In the past, everything was simple: the children played in the yard or garden. A glance out the window was enough to know what was happening and who had just stolen whose shovel. Whoever was at home at the time had an eye on everything and intervened if necessary. The children managed the way to school on their own and usually came back unharmed.
In modern times, this seems to be different: Parents worry more often and more about what their offspring are doing or experiencing. Some go so far as to monitor their children almost constantly with apps like Flexispy, more information at https://www.alertdino.com/monitoring-app/flexispy/.
Locating and displaying the location: Where is my child at the moment?
With both parents often working these days, it’s difficult to keep track. Various apps that can be used to monitor children are designed to help. They are available for iPhones and Android devices. They can be used, for example, to check where a child is at any given time. This is usually done via GPS. In addition, some apps can define safe areas in which the child is allowed to move. If the child leaves this area, the parents are alerted by an alarm. The prerequisite is that the control app is installed on both the child’s and the parent’s smartphone.
Activity recording: What is my child doing on the cell phone and/or the Internet?
In addition to determining location, many apps or programs can tell parents what the child is doing on the cell phone, tablet or computer: what apps does the child use? How long does he use these apps? Which Internet pages does he or she access? Parents can then block the corresponding apps and websites or set time limits.
Tests by computer experts have shown that the apps work relatively well and satisfy parents’ interest in keeping an eye on their child. But those who want to use them should consider the following: It is often not clear what the providers do with the data they obtain, for example location data. Especially with free offers, refinancing via the sale of such data seems possible.
Some apps are also reminiscent of so-called spy apps: They allow everything (!) that the child does on the device to be recorded – including what he or she writes to the friend in a message or what search terms he or she enters on Google or YouTube.
… and the child’s privacy?
In addition to such technical measures, it is of course also possible to directly monitor the child’s cell phone: Which apps has the child downloaded? Who is he chatting with? Especially with younger children who already have their own cell phone or use a computer in the child’s room, parents should always keep an eye on what their son or daughter is doing with it.
For one thing, it is important to regularly check the security settings of the devices and the apps or programs. After app updates, for example, previously made settings may be deleted.
- On the other hand, parents should of course also make sure that the child does not use sites or apps that are intended more for teenagers or adults. It should always be agreed in advance what is allowed and what is not. This can be set out in a media usage contract.
- Control is good – but not behind the child’s back. It should be jointly agreed that parents (preferably together with the child) are allowed to check the cell phone or computer from time to time. However, this does not automatically include reading the messages sent to the best friend or searching every chat history for alleged violations. This can shake and damage the child’s trust in parents.
- Children also have a right to privacy (also read https://www.mevorahlaw.com/parental-authority-and-children-s-right-to-privacy-where-is-the-line-drawn)- and to make mistakes on the Internet without the threat of a cell phone or computer ban. Because let’s face it: even in the past, parents didn’t always see and know everything. And that was okay!