I was waiting at a picnic table as my kids got a snow cone the other day and a mom sat down near me. I looked up and smiled at her cute preschooler who was playing on a phone.
His game ended and he threw the device on the ground. Everyone around cringed at the risk of a shattered screen as we do when phones land face down.
She turned it over and sighed in relief. And then she said aloud, “Oh, I didn’t mean for him to be on that page. How in the world did he Google this?”
The comment became a conversation as we talked about tech-savvy kids and landed on Internet filters.
“What do you use to protect your kids online?” I asked.
“Oh nothing. My kids are too young for me to worry about that,” she said.
We finished our snow cones and I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said.
Because from my experience and from talking to many, many parents, kids viewing bad things online is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
Our kids will see something online we wished they hadn’t. It’s going to happen. We can’t filter out the world, but we can take intentional, practical steps to protect our kids and try to prolong it.
With two kids attending high school online this year and a third who is more tech savvy than any of us, we filter everything through our Circle with Disney device. We are expert filterers. My husband and I control every device in our home from our own phone. We have bedtimes set for each kid and with a click, we can see every single place our kids have been online from the app on our phone. We can control how much they are online, where they go and if they get access at all.
We were at a friend’s house the other night while our kids were at home and we paused the Internet and texted them to go read a book. We high-fived each other because we are just that awesome.
Here are 5 ways we can and should protect our kids online:
- We can start early | Please don’t assume your toddler or tween won’t stumble onto something inappropriate on accident or out of curiosity. Be prepared. Get ahead of them and protect them early.
- We can make this a priority | Our kids need us to be vigilant and relentless when it comes to protecting them online. The first time you hand an iPad to your kid at a restaurant, you have to assume responsibility that you’ve given them a very powerful tool that can be helpful and harmful.
- We can limit their use | We use Circle with Disney and I’ve mentioned it multiple times because I’m so impressed with the way it’s helping us keep our kids safe.
- We can be involved | As my kids have gotten older, there’s a temptation to let them handle their devices and technology alone. Some people feel it’s an invasion of privacy to read their texts, make them plug in their phone at a certain time and restrict where they go. I think it’s simply good parenting.
- We can protect them on-the-go | One of my favorite features of the Circle is their new Circle-on-the-Go app which allows me to not only protect my kids inside my house, but everywhere they take their devices. It filters out whatever I want it to.
And just in time for back to school through Aug. 31, Circle with Disney will be available at retailers and online for $89 ($10 off the regular price).
Today’s post has been in partnership with Circle with Disney. All opinions are mine.