There are a number of reasons that as a parent you might want to be able to monitor your child’s social media activity closely.
One reason is to protect against predators. Predators may target children on social media sites, and they often pose as young people themselves.
You also want to ensure your child isn’t spending too much time on social media. That can be an especially big concern with many students around the country heading into a primarily virtual semester. You want your kids to stay as productive as possible while they’re learning virtually, and that may mean taking steps to not only monitor but also limit their use of social media.
There’s also the issue of cyberbullying.
According to one study of teens in New York state, 55% of respondents in one region of the state said they’d witnessed cyberbullying. The causes of cyberbullying can be diverse, but regardless of the specifics of the situation as a parent, it’s never something you want to see.
When a child or teen is the victim of cyberbullying, it can cause academic and emotional problems.
With that being said, the following are some of the best tech tools to help you monitor your kids’ social media activity.
KidLogger is a free app that’s available for Android, Windows, and Mac. You can track PC, tablet, and mobile activity of your kids. Some of the things you can specifically monitor with KidLogger include:
- How long your child spends on devices
- Which apps were used
- Visited websites
- Who your child communicated with on Facebook, Skype, by phone and by text
- The photos that your child created
You can view the keystrokes and texts entered onto a computer with this tool, it also records the text that’s copied onto the clipboard. The technology will periodically capture screenshots of the computer and they can be viewed by you online, and you can see the name of files and folders on the device.
KidLogger is not only beneficial from a security and safety standpoint, but it could also be useful to have while your child is learning virtually to monitor their school activity.
The RealizD app is good not just for monitoring your children’s activity online, but you might even want to use it yourself to be more cognizant of how much time you’re spending on your devices so you can reduce your own screen time.
With the RealizD app, you can get visual representations of your child’s daily phone usage, and also see exactly where that time is being spent.
If your child goes over their limit, their device will turn off.
The family features of RealizD are even more helpful. You can automatically monitor your family’s phone or tablet use, compare usage by day, week, or month, and set screen time limits for all devices. You can also use the Force-off feature if you need to enforce limits.
Mobicip is parental control software with wide-ranging features.
You can use Mobicip to manage all of your family’s devices from one single app or dashboard, and you can schedule separate daily or weekly screen time limits for everyone. You can instantly lock devices, track your child’s location, and review up to four weeks of online browsing history.
With Mobicip, you can block websites based on category, and you can either choose to allow or block specific apps and games. You can block video streaming sites and apps too.
McAfee Safe Family
With McAfee Safe Family, you can use the app to view your kid’s device activity, and you can also see their location and places they’ve checked in.
You can set screen time rules based on your child’s age and what’s recommended for them.
You can locate your kids on a live map and receive automatic notifications if they enter or leave certain places, such as school.
ReThink is an innovative cyberbullying prevention tool available on Google Play.
The app was created by a teen who read a story about a girl dying by suicide after being cyberbullied.
The ReThink app is like a keyboard on your mobile device, and it works on all other apps and features of the device, including text and email to detect offensive messages in real-time. Then, you have a chance to rethink whether you’ll send them.
According to the creator of the app, it’s a behavioral nudge that helps reduce the impulsive behavior that can lead to cyberbullying.
The goal with ReThink is to proactively stop cyberbullying before any damage is done.
WebSafety is one of the most popular parental monitoring apps with a robust set of features.
For example, with the web browsing feature, your child’s browsing history is captured so that you can see what they’re exposed to. If your child visits a site that’s in the WebSafety database of inappropriate websites, you’ll receive a mobile alert. You can also add your own sites to the database.
If your child downloads a new app, you’ll receive a notification of that, and you can see any apps they currently have downloaded from your own phone rather than having to go through their phone.
There’s a Curfew feature that lets you manage how much screen time your child has each day.
With WebSafety, the app will capture every photo your child posts on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll receive a notification in your parent dashboard each time your child posts something, and you’ll also be able to see not only the original post but also comments. The comments are checked against the WebSafety concern database.
There are GPS features so you can see your child’s location in real-time.
The main screen with this app is the parent dashboard, which serves as a central hub for family communication. You can see all your notifications here, and they’re prioritized by the most critical.
While online and social media safety are things every parent worries about, luckily, there are a lot of available options to help you monitor what your child’s doing.