Specifically speaking of children and the education system during the pandemic of COVID-19, we can describe it as a great evolution of the education system. It has shown that distance is just a phenomenon, and reaching out to students can be virtual too.
Though virtual classes have made schooling and education uninterrupted in tough times, it has also attracted children to online games, adventures, art, and creative activities on various shows and series, movies, etc. The material available online is as vast as the sea; the more you explore, the more you are swayed and lost.
Increased hours in front of the screen of computers, tablets, and Android phones has created great concern related to children’s deteriorating mental and physical health. It has ill effects on eyesight, body posture, physical and psychological workout, etc. Besides all these, there are many more things children have become prone and vulnerable to.
In the present blog, we are going to discuss why and how to monitor your child’s computer activities.
Things to be Monitored:
Personal Information Sharing
Children do not know they should not reveal their identity to strangers. They may do so online to strangers who may fetch the information fraudulently or by pretending themselves as someone else. This may help the stranger reach out to the child in the real world. This can be a potential threat to the security of the child.
Damage to Reputation
Children may post certain things online, which may tarnish or injure the reputation of other children, which may in the future create a hindrance for them in any field.
Theft of Identity
Children are innocent, so they do not know to hide information or disclose things out of innocence. Getting personal information of the child or his parents may help the person on the other side to get the credentials of bank account, credit card, etc., and misuse the same.
Downloading online games which are not trustworthy or opening unreliable sites may cause accidental download and infection of your device with any virus, malware, or Trojan. Children do not know about the credibility of such games and sites. So you should make them aware and need to monitor what they are viewing or downloading.
Abuse of chat
It consists of sending or sharing sexual text, nude photos, pornography material, etc., through mobile phones, emails, etc. This can be to instigate a person or younger children may do this for fun, as a challenge acceptance, or think it as vogue. This can be discovered only when you notice unusual behavior like being online at odd times and for long hours and wanting complete privacy while being online. You can be aware of it by closely monitoring their online activities. In such cases, kids’ computer activity monitor will be of great help. You can compare the situation as organizations monitor employee skype chat conversations for security purpose, so can you do of your child’s whatsApp chats, Skype chats besides chats on social media.
It is an extension of on-premises (school) bullying. This may comprise posting negative, mocking, or hurtful comments on social media, engaging in online dispersal of embarrassing or personal photos or videos of a child without his consent and knowledge, etc. This act may push an introvert or emotionally weak child into mental distress and unexplained withdrawal from his group and society. He may not have the courage or trust to share the same with his parents or near ones. On the other hand, the child may be bullying other children too. In both cases, you can discover the fact only when you monitor your child’s unusual behavior and find the cause by monitoring their online activities. It programs to track Windows computer and user activity like key loggers.
Abetting Dangerous Games
Online people or games may instigate, abet, or compel your child to get involved in some illegal act, meet dangerous challenges, commit suicide, etc. In the recent past, many challenging games have led to the death of many children. We reiterate that as Employee monitoring is done by its organization, so can parents monitor their children to know what they do online on computer.
Company of miscreants
You should always keep track of the company your child keeps. By watching the acts and behavior of each child of the company, you may come to know whether it is worth being in. Also, you need to find if there is any miscreant who is affecting or spoiling others.
You never know if someone is coming closer and making friends with your innocent child. This predator may be envisaging the child as prey. There can be many reasons, like hatching a plan to kidnap a child for a big ransom, planning to avenge to settle some grudges, or someone involved in human trafficking, etc. The safety of the child is of utmost concern, so parents need to be extra cautious if they think there can be reasons for such possibilities.
Wastage of time
Last but not least, it is very important to limit screen time spent online by your child to ensure their health is not affected. Prolonged screen time is not good for the physical as well as the mental health of the child. It can create eye and vision problems too.
Common ways to monitor your child’s online activities
Before you take any assistance of any kind of tool to monitor a child’s internet activities, it is very important rather essential to counsel your child and make him aware of all the pros and cons of its usage.
Let your children know how they can be vulnerable and trapped. And it is more important not to panic in any case as you are always there to help and guide them.
If your child is mature and big enough to understand, then make him acquainted with different terms and modes of child exploitation like physical, mental, sexual, financial, etc. Tell them, rather teach them modes of self-security and remedies.
The bottom line is, “Be always available to your child to meet his needs and queries, in the good times, to lessen their anxieties and distress. Be their best pal so that least they hide anything from you.”
You should be extra-cautious about their activities and keep an eye if you suspect anything fishy or find your child suspiciously restless.
Ultimately some ways to monitor your child’s online activities are discussed below briefly:
Try yourself first
Help your child while he is trying to download a game or App. Better play and view the game and App before your child does.
Filter internet usage
You should set your child’s iOS and Android profiles in all those devices at home to which he has access for internet activity. This safely filters sites, pages, Apps, Games, etc., and allows only those meant for children. You can even limit the internet usage time and data size to control and limit the internet usage.
You must create email accounts for your child on email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, etc., which allow you to create email accounts for kids of age 13 years and above. These accounts enable you to forward all their emails to you, which will help you know their contacts and communications.
Check regularly your child’s social media account if it exists.
It is recommended that if your child has any social media account like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., then you too should create your account on the same media, be there as a friend and keep an eye on their posts, friend list, etc.
Know and follow TV Parental Guidelines & V-chip
TV Parental Guidelines have been created to help parents recognize what programs and movies are meant for which particular age group. This is done through rating them, which are given below for your perusal:
Appropriate for kids
7 Years and above
Little Fantasy Violence(FV) &/or Comic Violence
7 Years and above
More FV as compared to TV-Y7
Some Sexual Dialogue/content(S)
Some Strong language(L)
Parental Guidance suggested
Suggestive Dialogue(D)- some
Not below 14 Years
Mature Audience (not below 17 years)
L- Crude and strong
V-Chip: It is present in all new TV sets with screens 13″ and more.
Since TV sets made before 2000 are not present, you can use a set-top box meant for using V-Chip.
V-Chip allows the display of only filtered (through ratings) programs and blocks others. News, sports, and commercial advertisements may also contain inappropriate content. Since they are not rated and hence not filtered by V-Chip, you need to be aware and cautious of it.
Know and follow ratings of Video Games and Apps
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has rated maximum video games and some Apps to ascertain viewers based on their content, like intense violence, graphic sexual content, nudity, consumption of alcohol and drugs, bloodshed, strong language, etc.
The list is long, but we have briefly given a superficial view of the same for your knowledge.
For young children
Adult (18+ years)
Violence-intense and prolonged
Gambling-with real currency
In this blog, we have discussed why it is essential for parents to monitor their child’s online activities to recognize and block irrelevant online content. We have also discussed how to understand things and counsel your child. But you cannot deny scenarios when kids do not disclose their online activities. To avoid the same, every concerned parent works and explores. There are available many child monitoring software programs that help parents to view clearly what their child is viewing. One reliable, powerful, and easy-to-use tool is Kernel Computer Activity Monitor, a key logger that works stealthily. It saves screenshots of desktop activity at specific intervals, thus helping monitor the user’s computer activity. It can even track the password and time of logging in using the record of every key pressed on the computer’s keyboard. So you can rely on it. We hope this blog has proved helpful to you and lessened your worries as a parent.