As someone who is constantly talking to parents about the digital world and the challenges they face raising children today, I know that they often feel helpless and overwhelmed. Finding the balance between protecting our kids, whilst still giving them the skills to face this world independently, is certainly no mean feat.
But essentially much of our parenting has fundamentally stayed the same. When our children are young we need to protect them and keep them safe from harm. As they get older we give them the skills to not only be safe but to be independent and productive members of society. And certainly we can still apply this to parenting today. We are however, doing it in a vastly different playground. And so we need to make some changes. That means understanding and keeping up with the advancing technology.
What children are exposed to online is obviously something that causes great fear for many parents. And certainly when the average age a child sees pornography is said to be 11 years, then we certainly have something to be fearful about. The content on the internet is not regulated and unfortunately there is so much out there that is not only completely inappropriate, but potentially, very harmful to our children.
In the past I have always recommended to parents to certainly do all they can to protect their children but I urge them not to rely on software and apps to do all the work. Not only is it often difficult and overwhelming for parents to work out what they are doing, they are often never any guarantees, stuff still gets through and there is the notion that parents may ‘set it and forget it’. Thus they are missing many opportunities to look for teachable moments and to most importantly, remember to monitor their child, and not just the devices.
So when Family Zone approached me, I was again a little sceptical. I don’t want to tell parents to install something and their kids will be safe. For me it is all about being smart online too, and making good choices.
But thankfully, I feel like I have found something that allows parents to do both of those things. Keep them safe and help them be smart.
So I have teamed up with Family Zone as one of their cyber experts. These are the 3 elements to Family Zone that helped me make that decision.
1) Family Zone Home Network
This box simply plugs in to your existing wifi router. It then takes control over any device that logs in to that wifi. It can disable content, website and apps and can work on daily routines to limit times on sites and devices. There is also an option for guest restrictions too, so that even visiting friends can come under the same restrictions as your child. Depending on your child’s age and specific needs, a plan is set up for that child each time they use their device.
2) The family Zone App:
For those times when the device leaves the house, and they revert to data usage, an app can be downloaded to each individual device to further protect a child based on their age and maturity. These profiles can be set up to reflect what is needed and relevant for that particular user of the device so they remain safe whenever they leave the house as well. As the parent, you have the ability to override the profiles at any time and will also be notified on your own device whenever a device deletes the app, makes a purchase or downloads a new app.
3) Cyber Parenting Expert:
Each sign up to Family Zone comes with a cyber expert to help you along the way. The expert decides what they deem appropriate for certain age levels and sets up the wifi box as well as the apps for your family. In consultation with your family and their particular values and needs, these can be changed at any time by the expert or the parent if they so desire. The expert is also on hand to share any further information about new apps, to share strategies for parents and offer a forum to discuss any concerns or challenges you may be facing.
With those three things in mind, this solution sits so well for me as a cyber safety expert. It incorporates protecting and keeping kids safe whilst we still can, but at the same time, keeping parents informed to continue to make the best decisions for their families. I also encourage open and honest communication with your child to ensure they are learning the skills, behaviours and thinking to make the best decisions online.
So please take the time to have a look via this link. If you choose me as your parent expert I look forward to helping you help yourself and your family safely navigate this new world. Together we can look forward to giving our kids access to the very best the technology has to offer, whilst offering peace of mind that we are protecting their childhood for as long as we can.
Please feel free to contact me for any further information or head over and find a plan that works for you at familyzone.com/modernparent