Helping Parents Limit Their Kids’ Time – and Risk – Online
The biggest challenge for most parents is keeping their children safe from physical dangers and emotional harm. Parental Controls integrated into a high-quality smart home solution is one of the most popular features for subscribers who are raising “tweens” – adolescents and teens.
This article will discuss time limits and other specific Parental Controls that address the five most common concerns keeping parents awake at night:
- Time Management: Tweens spending too much idle time online
- Inappropriate Content: Exposure to mature content intended for adults only
- Online Predators: Innocently developing an online relationship with a person who is intent on luring the child into an illicit activity
- Cyberbullying: Emotional harm from being threatened or ridiculed by other tweens
- Privacy Breaches & Malware: Entering personal information or unintentionally downloading malware from URLs that appear to be harmless
Benefit 1: Management of Adolescent Online Time
Fact: 45% of teens say they’re online almost constantly
Parents worry that their children will not grow up to be productive adults if they do not put their devices down and engage in regular physical activity or face-to-face socialization. This is a continuous struggle in families without smart home technology.
Thanks to the power of Parental Controls in a well-designed smart home solution, parents can limit the total time their kids spend online daily. They can also control the times of day the tween can access the internet and set other limits on their online activities.
Benefit 2: “Adult Only” Content Filters
Fact: 90% of children aged 8-16 say they have seen pornography online
Fact: 70% say they have accidentally opened a porn site through a search to complete their homework
Long-term emotional issues can result in children who are exposed to inappropriate adult content, yet it is ubiquitous on the internet. Without content filters, it is easy for a child to innocently type a search term and get an adult entertainment site in the results.
With content filters, parents can greatly reduce the chance that an adolescent will “bump into” inappropriate content when they are on a smart home network. These parent-controlled filters can be adjusted to include violence, gambling sites, and websites selling or promoting the use of alcohol, cannabis, etc.
Benefit 3: Flagging Suspicious Activity by Strangers
Fact: It is estimated that over half a million sexual predators are online on any given day
The worst fear parents have about adolescents on social media is that their child might be contacted by an online predator and lured into a dangerous situation.
With Parental Controls tracking social media, parents can receive alerts if their child is part of an online discussion that involves any potentially harmful contact with questionable individuals. Effective Parental Controls allow subscribers to tailor the types of monitoring and restrictions in place so they can give tweens an appropriate level of privacy while keeping them safe.
Benefit 4: Detecting Cyberbullying
Fact: Young people who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm, exhibit suicidal behaviors, or attempt suicide.
Parents need to know if their child is being targeted with threatening, demeaning, or other inappropriate content from cyberbullies. Unlike in-person bullying, online bullying can torment children continuously through online social media platforms, exposing them to private or public humiliation. Bullying can drive teens to harm themselves and others out of fear, anger, depression, and desperation.
Parental Controls can monitor social media, text messages, email, and more, generating alerts about potentially concerning content.
Benefit 5: Cybersecurity & Parent-Controlled URL Access
Fact: 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services
It is the same for kids as it is for adults: they find a website that offers something they are looking for when a popup appears asking for their name, email address, and other personal data.
Children’s identifying information can end up on an alarming number of online databases by them simply looking for information for school projects or topics that interest them. Parents need a way to secure information until the child is old enough to understand the downside of completing contact forms.
Fact: Almost 10% of young people have been personally affected by malware
Fact: 41% of tweens say they have downloaded or streamed movies and TV shows from illegal sites, even though they know that a virus or malware can attack their device
A website site may look harmless – like an online game with unicorns and princess dust – while its primary function is collecting data or installing malware. Inquisitive teens (and most grownups) may not see the harm in using the site.
Young people are especially easy targets for cyber-attacks because they tend to underestimate the devastating effects of downloading viruses or malware.
A smart home solution with state-of-the-art home network security protects every device on the network and offers robust privacy protection by complying with the European Union’s GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation. It also maintains a frequently updated catalog of known URLs that pose a risk.
In addition to these built-in safeguards, Parental Controls go further using white-listing for children’s online behavior. The subscriber can enter the website URLs they feel are safe for their children and prevent the child from sending or receiving data from websites that are not on the white list.
Smart Home Bonus Feature: Physical Safety Integrated with Online Security
Even with built-in and customizable parental controls and other features, the final layer of protection is a physical security system that can be triggered automatically or remotely when tweens are home alone.
With built-in security features like cameras, door and window sensors, motion detectors, etc., smart home technology can stop an approaching intruder in their tracks by turning on the outdoor lights, locking the doors, and triggering the alarm. It should also include an interface for notifying first-responder security agencies.
The Bottom Line
Fact: Only 33% of parents use parental control technology
In an age when the majority of children spend time online – for school or entertainment – without automation, it is difficult for parents to insulate their kids from the hazards of using the internet. Many families with young teenagers and adolescents find that smart home technology is an ideal solution to help protect their children.
Built-in cybersecurity features work together with easy-to-use Parental Controls. Parents can confidently set limits for their tweens’ online behavior and count on the smart home system to help enforce those limits.
When interacting with subscribers who are parents, service providers can help them see the power of smart home technology and take full advantage of the Parental Controls it offers. You should demonstrate the simplicity of these controls as a key component of your sales presentation.
At Xunison, we have developed the BriteLink™ smart home solution that protects families with Parental Controls, Network Security, and Home Security. We offer a complete catalog of smart devices, cameras, plugs, sensors, and more, along with a consumer mobile app – BriteKey™ that makes online monitoring and managing easy for parents.
Reach out to us today for more information: BriteLink™ by Xunison