How to Learn About Your Kids’ Digital Footprint

The increase in screen time over the past decade has forced parents today to adjust their rules, style, and language. For the first time ever, parents are having to manage children in the digital world, and it’s scary when we feel like we can’t control it. With the surplus of digital media thrown at our kids on a daily basis, how do we filter it out the bad? How can we take steps to protect our children from the online world without being a ‘helicopter parent’? Lucky for you, I’m here to break down exactly how to get some peace of mind.

Step 1: Get your child’s passcode (including social media)

Easier said than done right? But with the right tactics, it’s doable! Come with the approach that you’re only asking because you care about their safety. For example, if your child was missing but their phone was left on the counter, you’d want to have all the access you can. Let them know you don’t want to invade their privacy — you just want to be cautious! Remember the point is to build trust.

Step 2: Create your own social accounts

Since social media is a huge part of life, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how it works, so you can teach them how to be smart with it. You’ll get insight into potential dangers, how online relationships are established and how your child behaves online vs. in real life. , there is a disconnect between how your child interacts in person and how they act online, so it’s important to monitor any changes you might see. Make sure to follow your kids but try to be a silent or infrequent commenter so they feel like you’re still respecting their digital space.

Step 3: Turn off geotagging.

Geotagging allows you to add geographical identification metadata to various media like photos, videos, websites, SMS messages and more. In simpler terms, you can pinpoint exactly where the photo or video was taken. It’s important to make sure that this feature is turned off in the phone settings as well as for any apps.

Step 4: Make sure airdrop is set to contacts only.

If you aren’t familiar with Airdrop, this feature uses Bluetooth to create a Wi-Fi network between the devices. Each device creates a firewall around the connection and files are sent encrypted, which actually makes it safer than transferring via email. If you don’t select contacts only, your Airdrop is available for everyone to see, putting your child at higher risk.

Step 5: Download the Find My Friends app.

This is a great app if you need to find someone’s location. The app is used to locate friends (or in this case, your children) that have an Apple device using GPS, so you’re able to see them on a map. Ask your children to share their location with you so in the event of an emergency, you’re able to locate them with ease.

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