Your children’s online safety continues to get compromised. Aside from the growing popularity of secret Instagram accounts (aka Finstas), dangerous gaming habits and kids being preyed upon in live streaming apps, now Apple and Google Play are making it even harder to protect your children from online dangers.
Recently, Apple announced it was removing monitoring apps from their App Store because of “privacy and security risks,” namely that information was being transmitted via a third-party app and providing details on browsing history, location data, etc.
You know, things parents want to know about their children’s behavior. The only ones who don’t want this private information shared are the kids (and we all know why that is).
This is also information that Apple tends to monetize from with their own programs, making these monitoring programs direct competition to their own business. These apps can also help restrict downloading of other apps, which again is against the business model of Apple.
Given today’s online world, and the boundaries our children like to test, these apps are a necessity for parents who choose to allow their children access to the world at the palm of their hands.
Slowly and quietly, Apple and Google Play are removing these apps — they’ve already kicked off 11 of the 17 most popular ones — only two are fighting back. But, can anything be done?
The current climate shows me that we are losing more and more of our control online: Instagram is hiding likes to determine if they can manipulate moods; Facebook isn’t letting certain posts trend that aren’t in line with the company’s political views; and now the two big players are pulling parental monitoring apps.
Why we need monitoring apps
Monitoring apps are essential! They are analogous to the airbags and seatbelts in a vehicle. Of course you can hand keys over to your kid and hope they don’t get in accident — and maybe they won’t — but, statistically most do.
These apps check key words to guard against bullying and drug and alcohol discussions. They also allow GPS tracking and some can even allow digital tracking of searches or restrictions to ensure they aren’t accessing dangerous sites.
What to do if the parental monitoring apps are all removed from Apple’s App Store and Google Play
The simplest answer I can give parents regarding what to do if all of the monitoring apps are removed is this: seriously consider whether or not your children have access to phones.
If removing phones from the picture isn’t an option, you can go direct to the monitoring app site and download the program … but who knows how long this option will remain and whether or not it will continue to be supported by the company.
Finally, your internet service providers do offer some sort of internal protection programs for parents. But, these services are convoluted and difficult to find at best. Remember that companies aren’t in the business to keep your kids safe online, they are in business to earn money.
Education is important
Did you know that six is the average age kids receive their first device? Most often these are old parent devices that don’t have cell service, but they do have full access to WiFi. With no training required before they go online, they are exposed to a myriad of dangers.
Kids need to learn how to make good choices online, just as they do offline. Parents wouldn’t drop a kid off in a crowded mall without having a discussion with them about what to be careful about. Online behavior is no different, except there are more than a staggering 7 million strangers at the press of a button to connect with or that may try to connect to your child.
Are you ready to protect your kids online? We offer a special course for parents to teach children how to stay safe. Learn more today.