[Updated Nov 2015] Choosing a new tablet for the kids this holiday season might seem overwhelming. There are so many choices when deciding on a tablet. Here are some tips and suggestions for parents looking for family friendly, affordable tablets that offer parents controls.
What can we do about sexting? Will monitoring help? A common question parents have – and an ongoing debate within the comments section on many of my articles – is whether or not to monitor their kids’ internet and phone activity.
It is common these days for each member of the family to use more than one Internet-connected device. In fact you might call it the new normal. In addition to home computers, you’ve got smartphones, tablets, iPods, gaming devices and smart TV’s. How many screens are in your home? I just counted 15 here – 2 TV’s, 1 computer, 2 laptops, 1 Kindle fire, 2 iPads, 1 iPad mini, 3 smartphones, and 3 (old and rarely used) iPods. Each of these connects to the Internet. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could monitor, filter and control usage on any of these devices without having to install something on each device?
Guess what, it is possible!
Here is a round-up of parental control tools that cover every device in your home.
Flinch is an app by the makers of OoVoo. The premise of this app sounds fun – it’s basically the digital version of a staring contest. The first person who smiles, loses the game. While the technology behind the app is impressive, parents should know that kids using Flinch can stare down with complete strangers.
As a parent, you might be looking for parental control tools for many possible reasons. You might be concerned about the content your child sees when surfing the web. You might be concerned about too much screen time and want to set limits. You might be concerned with who your child communicates with. You might be concerned with the content your teen is sharing on social media. You might be concerned with all these things!
Parental control tools can assist you as part of a “digital parenting” toolkit. I say toolkit because that’s what any software product is – a tool to assist you, not to replace you. Meaning, you can’t just rely on a parental control software product alone. Ongoing discussions are key to establishing healthy internet and device usage habits.
This list includes some of the products that I’ve wanted to write about, but just haven’t had the time. I’m also including some of the parental control and monitoring software tools I’ve written about already, for a “one-stop-shopping” resource on the site.
Are your kids using these apps?
Sounds like a commercial for a sugary cereal – Kik for Kids! But are all the kids using Kik really kids? Kik Messenger is a free texting app for iPhones, Android, Windows, and Blackberry phones. When I visited the App store, it didn’t take me long to see what the problem is with Kik.
OoVoo is a video chat and messaging app, and is available for iPhone/iPod/iPads and Androids. You can also use OoVoo on a computer (PC or MAC). With OoVoo you can video chat with up to 12 people at a time; you can see four people at once on screen during these video chats. I think this is the feature that kids really like. While kids can use FaceTime on their iPods and iPads, FaceTime only allows for a two-way call. OoVoo will let them have a little video chat party.