Technology is a huge part of our lives today. But did you know that you can also use it to keep children safe from the dangers of the real and cyber worlds? Here are five ways to do so...
By Amrita Gracias
We live in the age of technology and rely on it for almost everything we do, in our day-to-day lives. But what about the safety of our children? Although we try our best to monitor them, it is difficult to watch over everything they do — given their increasing use of the Internet and access to mobile phones.
But don’t let their use of technology stress you out; rather, use it to keep them safe. Wondering how? We’ll tell you!
There are several apps that can protect children in the cyber world and which also help you keep tabs on their whereabouts. Meaning, these allow kids to surf the Internet, but within limits and also, give them access to help, if so required. Why do you need such apps? This is because parents now need to monitor and keep children safe from:
As a family, discuss why it is important to protect privacy online. Stress that your child should not reveal his address or the name of his school on gaming sites or social media platforms. Be vigilant about your child's excess usage of the phone or Internet, especially if your child seems secretive all of a sudden. A change in behaviour could indicate that something is amiss and that you most likely, need to step in.
1. eKavach (Android and iOS):
Today, we do not think twice about giving our children mobile phones — even young preteens have a 'phone of their own nowadays. Although the main purpose is to keep tabs on them, we forget that most smart phones allow children access to the online world. That is where eKavach comes in. This app allows you to monitor usage.
First, you and your child must download the app onto your devices. Once that is done, the app notifies you about the applications your child uses and the time spent on each. You also get alerts when a new app is downloaded and installed. Besides, you can block inappropriate sites or content and also set safe surfing limits.
In case these are breached, you get an immediate notification on your phone. If you do not have an Internet connection at the time, you receive the alert via SMS. Apart from this, you can even monitor your child's location with the help of a map. There is also a feature that allows him to send you an SOS in case he finds himself in an unsafe situation.
2. Surakshit (Android and iOS):
It is quite alarming to hear about the widespread cases of child sexual abuse in our society. So, what can we do to keep our children safe? First, we need to educate and make them aware of these dangers. So, why not use an online game to help us?
Launched by a Hyderabad-based NGO in collaboration with UNICEF, Surakshit helps sensitise both children and parents about sexual abuse and safety. Using age-appropriate stories and games for children over six years of age, it aims to teach body safety rules by helping children recognise the difference between safe and unsafe touch.
More importantly, it helps the child understand that she is not to be blamed in case of an untoward incident and also explains the importance of talking about it to a safe adult. The app is available in over 10 regional languages as well.
3. Kids Place (Android):
Every day, there will be instances when we give our phones to our children — to play a game for instance or even, to watch a video. At such times, we hardly stop to think about what a child can do with a phone. But to think about it, he might accidentally call someone, access a restricted site or even, delete important information from your phone.
An app like ‘Kids Place’ comes in handy in these situations and is especially helpful when there are toddlers at home. Apart from protecting your personal data on the phone, it also blocks facilities to make calls, download new apps, text and other actions that can end up costing you money.
Once the app is launched, it automatically restricts usage and only allows certain apps that your child is permitted to use. It can also block any attempts to delete the app. What you need to do is, download the app on your phone and launch it before handing over the gadget to your child. You can be assured that both he and your phone are safe!
4. SPIN Browser (Android and iOS):
Your child might want to use the Internet to look up information for homework or to do a school project. Search engines are useful but also allow easy access to restricted content. The SPIN browser is specially designed for children. Once the browser is launched, it automatically blocks inappropriate content and sites with adult content or those related to drugs, alcohol, dangerous challenges, phishing, gambling and proxy websites.
Although it allows access to YouTube, it blocks restricted content on that site; so your child can safely browse this platform as well. Also, there is no option for a private or secret browsing mode, which is an added advantage.
5. Angel Child Monitoring:
Developed by a Bengaluru-based startup, this is a child locator device that can keep track of your child’s location in school, at after-school classes or activities, while he is playing or even, at daycare. The light-weight device can be easily slipped into a schoolbag or even, attached to an ID card for instance.
It is entirely remote-controlled and the child cannot fiddle with it in any way. It is connected to two mobile numbers, which will be called automatically in case the child pushes an SOS button. You can also create 'safe zones' for places the child goes to every day. You get alerts if he moves out of those safe zones.
So, go ahead and make use of technology that can help in various ways to keep your child safe. Remember, however, that these must be used only to monitor your children in terms of safety and not to control their lives altogether.
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