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Online Safety: Children and Parental Tracking Apps

Currently two out of three children in Kenya either own a mobile device or have access to one. Teenage children make up 25% of Kenya’s total internet users. This is according to a report released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) in 2015.

Another UNICEF report from 2013 found that 42% of children and young (12 and 17) years access the internet at least twice a week. 24% of them are online several times a day. These numbers have probably risen in the last two years. The increased access also presents challenges of monitoring what is being consumed by unattended children.

To help manage this, CAK launched a campaign dubbed the “Be the Cop”. It aimed to protect children online by raising awareness of the types of crime that children are exposed to in cyberspace. These include online predators, sexual solicitations, exposure to sexual materials and harassment.

It also sought to highlight the role that parents, guardians and teachers need to play to protect children in cyberspace. One of the ways to do this is through their phones using parental tracking apps.

Some might make you seem like a stalker but as a caregiver, safety trumps privacy.

Children-Teenagers Lying On Bed Together Looking At Mobile Phone

Here is a list of some apps we recommend.

 Net Nanny

Age most relevant | 4-18 years

Available at | Google Play Store, Apple Store

Operating system| Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, iOS and Android

The original version of Net Nanny was released in 1995. It was developed, created and branded by Gordon Ross in mid 1994 after viewing a sting operation on a pedophile soliciting a child in a chat room. Wikipedia Reports, Ross saw a need that society would require an internet protecting service in the new age of the Internet. He wasn’t wrong.

What it offers:

Families can use Net Nanny to protect users from pornography, online predators, cyberbullying, and other threats that compromise online safety.

It has technology filters, monitors, and blocks unsafe materials while allowing kids access to the Internet. Unlike other parental controls that simply block a list of web sites, Net Nanny’s dynamic filter scans and analyses each web site to determine if it is appropriate for your child, based on your unique customisation.

It can even mask profanity but let the site pass, ensuring kids are protected while they navigate the Internet. As the parent, you’ll receive reports and mail alerts about your child’s online activity and you can Set the total number of Internet hours in a day or set specific times of the day when your child can be online.

 

MMGuardian Parent App

Age most relevant |12-17 years

Available at | The Phone Sheriff Website

Compatible with | Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad or Android tablet.

It’s tag line ‘Protection for kids, Peace of mind for Parents’, couldn’t be more apt. Whether you are looking to control phone or app usage, monitor text messages and calls, restrict the types of websites that your child may view, or simply keep track of where your child is.

This app allows you to manage the applications that are installed on your children’s phones and tablets, directly from your own phone!

 

The Phone Sheriff

Age most relevant |12-17 years

Available at | The Phone Sheriff Website

Compatible with | Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad or Android tablet.

 

This one is great for the child who is constantly on their devices. It allows you to set time limits on your teen’s device. This app will shut down and lock the phone when you tell it to. You will learn about your child’s activities, and you will be able to block those you see unfit.

Teen safe

Age most relevant|7-17

Available at| Teensafe Website

Compatible with| TeenSafe’s monitoring service works with iPhone and Android smartphones. It also works with iPads, the iPod touch and Android pre-paid phones. TeenSafe does not currently work with Blackberries or Windows phones.

 

It allows you to:

View Texts i.e sent, received and deleted SMS and iMessages. Even those from chat application like Whatsapp.

Monitor Calls- View call logs of incoming and outgoing calls including contact name, number, date and duration.

Access your child’s web browser history and see your teen’s current smartphone location on a map as well a history of the phone’s location. View a list of all third-party applications installed on your child’s phone. Contacts- View all saved contacts on your child’s device.

Visr

Age most relevant| 4-12 years

Available at| Google Play Store, Apple Store

Compatible with| Most smartphones

VISR is a simple, effective and kid-friendly tool notifying parents when relevant safety issues are detected across social networks. These social networks include Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Gmail.

It is non-invasive; it only notifies you of issues such as bullying, late night usage, drug abuse, and explicit content while keeping the rest of your kid’s activity private.

Time-saving- No need to search through all your kid’s social media activity, it highlights what’s important.

Lastly, Check in with your teen regularly. Keep the conversation going about their lives and online safety as they arise.

 

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