*Disclosure: While this post is sponsored by Websafety, this post is written by me and all opinions stated below reflect my very real feelings on this issue.*

Lets get to the chase. Every parent is worried about their children and their online activity (if you’re not, you should be).  We posted on LDS S.M.I.L.E. before about a Jr. High teacher here in Utah asking her students to finish the sentence “What my parents don’t know about social media is _____”.  The responses where startling.  These are good kids (many of which who are LDS) whose parents think they know what their kids are doing, but really have no idea (we’ve posted some of the responses below).

 

Out of 85 Jr. High kids polled, only 5 said they didn’t have a social media account. These students on average have an A on their grades and are by and by considered “good kids.” You should assume that your children are on social media (even if they tell you they are not) and you need to be proactive and be involved in your kids lives. It’s not the “other kids”, these are YOUR kids.

But the main problem of what to do still exists.  Ok, I see that there is a problem but I just don’t know how to really monitor everything. There are so many slang phrases, text messages and social media posts, how can a parent ever really expect to keep up? Do you know exactly what your kids are doing and what they’re looking at? I work in the social media space for a living and I can’t keep up.

Clearly, every parent needs to be proactive and frame this dialogue with their kids. It can’t just be a one-time conversation that you have with your kids and think that you’re finished with the subject (same principle goes for the “sex” talk as well).  If you don’t frame this discussion someone else will.  You need to talk to them over and over again, in the car…while doing chores…and pretty much any time a “teaching” moment presents itself.

In Ashlee Miller’s Facebook post, she talks about some of the lessons she took away from a meeting she attended with 300 other concerned parents.

Children are susceptible to all kinds of influence and situations.  Many times they honestly are not actively seeking out inappropriate photos/videos or texts but those things can find them.  One quick text from a kid pulling a prank, one social media comment from a classmate that spirals into a full-on shaming effort or a quick inappropriate photo on Facebook. This is why we as parents also need tools to help us along the way.

One tool that we have found to be extremely helpful is the WebSafety app.  It’s an app that help parents, protect children and help them use their mobile devices safely. It monitors where your kids are going, who they contact and who’s contacting them on their phone. You set up rules and when something that you want to know about happens, you get an alert.

 Websafety helps you to monitor and track so many things. Some of the things it helps us to monitor and do are:
  • Bullying through social media (either as the instigator or the victim)
  • Monitoring your kid’s phones for objectionable/explicit content (sexting, etc)
  • Protect your children from predators or adult content/porn
  • Monitors text messages and social media use
  • See what photos your kids are posting or interacting with on Facebook and Instagram
  • Sends real-time alerts when they see dangerous activities or cross boundaries you set.

We’ve tried it

It’s been amazing! It’s nice to have the peace of mind that we know that our kids are not receiving inappropriate messages or receiving inappropriate photos of their school friends.  We’ve tried filters in our homes that help with the internet but nothing that has been able to help with the social media and text messages. Not to mention that really only protects them when they are at home.  I’m super excited that we have this app in our family and that it allows us to help our children navigate the crazy digital world we live in. Check out the video below that talks more about some of the amazing features that Websafety provides.  You can try it free for 30 days and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family like it has been for us.