Peace of mind: How a parental control app can keep your children safe when using IoT devices

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From toddlers to teens, every child in Singapore is using one or more Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices like tablets, smartphones, computers. As a result, screen time is a hot topic among parents everywhere. How much time is too much? What kind of content is safe? What kind of boundaries need to be set up? 

As a parent, you want to ensure that your children stay up-to-date with technology, while at the same time have healthy IoT habits, which can often be a difficult balance to strike. This means setting up boundaries and protecting children from online threats, which can help define the relationship kids have with IoT for life. What's the best way to keep your children safe? Make parenting life easier and enjoy peace of mind with a robust parental control app.

Cybersecurity and online threats that affect kids

Although the internet is a great source of information, it also opens doors for online threats. Understanding the types of threats that children are especially vulnerable to will help you decide on the types of safeguards you need to put in place. Here are some of the most common ones:

Cyberbullying
45% of Singaporean kids aged 8 to 12 have experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting or sharing negative or false information about someone else online, resulting in embarrassment or humiliation.

Cyber predators
With easy access to kids through multiplayer video games, social media and chat apps, cyber predators take advantage of the absence of adult supervision. These interactions can lead to online sexual grooming, where an online stranger uses the internet to get close to a child with the intention of sexual abuse.

Phishing
Hackers use emails to entice children to click on links to illegitimate websites or open malicious attachments. Criminals target sites that are popular with kids and gather details to tailor their attacks.

Posting private information
Without the right boundaries, children can easily post personal information over the internet through social media sites. This can range from personal photos and videos to their contact number and home address.

What are the concerns for different age groups?

The following information from SafeKids.com provides a broad understanding of concerns for each age group.

2-4 years old
This is the age where children first start interacting with IoT, often with a parent or sibling. With many sites and activities inappropriate for this age group, parents and older siblings need to ensure that the sites visited in their presence are toddler-friendly.

4-7 years old
Children at this stage may start to explore things on their own. Parents should restrict access to only appropriate websites that can enhance their sense of discovery.

7-10 years old
This age group starts to look outside the family for social validation and information. Parents need to consider putting a limit on screen time and encourage children to have varied interests.

10-12 years old
Kids in this pre-teen period long for more independence. Parents need to help them manage their independence and set limits on the time spent online.

12-14 years old
Children at this age are becoming more social and may be interested in online chatting. Set ground rules for what can and cannot be shared online. In this exploratory period, it is important that children feel secure in knowing that their parents are aware of what they are doing online. 

14-17 years old
Interactions online may extend to real-life, so teenagers must understand the need to be vigilant. Although they require guidance, they also need to learn how to exercise judgement and come to their own conclusions.

Types of parental control features that can help keep children safe

Children in Singapore spend about 35 hours a week online, 3 hours more than the global average. Moreover, those who own their own mobile phones clock an average of 45 hours a week. A parental control app offers protection in the following ways:

Location Tracking
Track the exact location of your children so you won’t have to worry about their whereabouts. Geofencing lets you set a physical boundary for your kids. If they leave this area, you will receive an alert on your phone.

Activity Report
Understand how your child’s online time is distributed via an activity report. A parental control app can provide an activity report to show if your child is accessing inappropriate websites or spending too much time on their devices.

Filters to block access to objectionable websites
The best way to deal with inappropriate websites is to block the URL or domain of such sites. Some parental control apps will allow you to filter them based on the age of each child.

Manage the screen time
It’s easy for children to become hooked on devices, causing a strain on their eyes. Set boundaries by using a parental control app that can limit screen time. You can set a weekly or daily schedule after a family discussion.

Allow access to suitable apps
A good parental control app will let you ensure that your kids are only using apps that are suitable for them. For example, ESET Parental Control for Android uses an Application Guard that helps you manage which apps they can use and for how long.

Why Choose ESET for Parental Control?

ESET makes parenting easier with comprehensive IoT protection to keep your children safe online, offering different products that cater to different internet security needs. With the premium version of their internet security software, you can control the web content your kids access and be aware of their location. Having clear visibility of your children’s online activities also keeps you up-to-date on their interests.

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