I get asked all the time about how to manage teens and tweens online behavior. How do we keep them safe? How do we manage their usage? How do we keep up?
To be honest, it is a tough area for me. I believe that the most important thing a parent can do to prevent a child from making mistakes online is by having conversations about it – all the time. Parents need to set up expectations from the onset, and more importantly, stick to them. Like with this Cell Phone Contract.
I don’t believe in spying or sneaking your child’s phone out of their bedroom either — but I also don’t think handing over what’s basically a super-charged portal to the Internet is smart either.
Couple this with my lack of tech savvy, I’ve struggled with giving sound product recommendations to my clients.
This is one mom telling another about a good, easy-to-use product. Something I use myself. (see the video at the bottom of the post)
Like most parents, I’m concerned with how much time my kids spend on their smart phones and nagging them to get off puts an added strain on an already tumultuous relationship with my teen. Before I installed Netsanity on my teen’s phone, we had a talk.
We openly discussed my concerns, and I explained that NetSanity isn’t about “watching” what they are doing on their phones, instead it’s about safety and managing how they use them.
What I like best about the product is it isn’t controlled by an app (although they offer one for easy management from your smart phone.) The problem with apps on your child’s phone is they can easily be deleted or turned off, and many kids know workarounds that they share with each other.
Netsanity is set up from a desktop, and you only need your child’s phone for a few minutes to install. It works by installing a “configuration profile” on your child’s device. This profile creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that forces all internet activity to go through Netsanity’s servers. This allows Netsanity to inspect the traffic and prevent your child from accessing adult oriented sites, gambling portals, and any of a huge variety of content that you might not be ready to let your child explore.
Unlike other monitoring tools that only work on your home wireless network, Netsanity works whenever your child is connected to Wifi or Cell Phone Network, so you don’t have to worry when your child isn’t under your roof.
So, what can you do with it? Netsanity has over 20 premium features that let you personalize how the service works for your family. For instance, you can set up iPhone parental controls in order to block Snapchat from being used on your teenager’s device, or you may want advanced content filtering in order to provide a safe online experience for your younger children.
And the best part? Netsanity cannot be removed or disabled without your approval.
Here’s just a few of the things why I like it.
- set a device bedtime,
- block content by category,
- enforce safe searching,
- restrict features such as the camera or taking screenshots, and
- block specific apps such as Snapchat or Instagram
My favorite Netsanity feature is “TimeBlocker.” You can configure the product to lock down the device’s internet access. If you only want your kids to have access to online content from 8:00 pm to 3:00 pm, you can do that. Maybe the entire day is fine, but you want internet access stopped from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am. You can do that too.
More importantly, however, is that I can restrict access to apps during certain times. We all know how teens claim to need their phone or device to access their Web-based homework, but really they scroll Instagram, watch YouTube videos, text their friends and maybe squeeze a math problem in here or there.
Using Netsanity, you can restrict access to apps without disabling the entire phone or shutting down their WiFi.
I also like that you can set up specific rules for each device, so while you may want to shut your tween’s iPad down at 8, you can let your teenager keep her phone available until 10.
Netsanity can be a great tool for your digital parenting toolkit. Remember, Netsanity can’t stop your child from using their device to call or text. Your kid could still try to sneak their phone into their bedroom each night and text or call friends (which is why I recommend all devices be stored in a docking station somewhere away from the bedrooms) but there sure is a lot this product can do to help.
Nothing replaces your involvement in your child’s life, but who doesn’t want to make parenting a little easier?
You will receive a free two-week trial. Afterwards you can decide to go month to month, or purchase a yearly membership. If you choose yearly, use this coupon for 25% off! PPGN2018
(we do have an affiliate link in this post, but we would never recommend a product we don’t use and love!)
This is a super long video, BUT we explain all about Netsanity and how to install it and use it! So if you are worried about whether Netsanity works at setting technology limits and safety take a look.