KANSAS CITY, Mo. - KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Although this is just scratching the surface when it comes to keeping our kids safe online, there are 5 things experts say you can do to start if you're unsure how to begin to monitor your kids on their devices.
1. Know the passcodes
All experts say you should never allow your child to lock his or her phone so you can't get into it. It's like letting them leave the house to go with strangers and not asking where they're going. If you've already allowed your child to lock his or her phone, know they will likely be very resistant to this change.
2. Check-in phones at night
Check phones in at night at a time you've decided is right for your kids. In many cases, questionable behavior on devices happens at night when kids are bored and parents aren't around, usually in the privacy of a child's room. Having a time where everyone checks in their phones keeps kids off those devices at times when they might start exploring sites or chatting, but it also gives them a much-needed break. Kids today need device-free time more than they realize.
3. Check location services on your phone
Apple devices have a really quick and easy way to see which apps are using your kid's location. Go to setting>privacy>locations services. Once there you can see a list of apps using or requesting to use your child's location.
Find My iPhone would be one you might want to select "while using". Snapchat would be an example of one you might want to toggle to "never." The Camera app is a big one. Most experts agree there is no reason a young person should have location saved in photos they might post or send to someone. That would be one setting experts say to toggle to "never."
Androids, unfortunately, are all different so you may have to play around with your Android device to learn where this lives on your phone. Or, you can ask a worker at the phone store; they are usually quite helpful.
4. Check chats
Know which apps your kids are on and which ones have chats in them. If you're unsure, Google the app. A search as simple as "is there chat in musical.ly?" will usually call up helpful information for you. You can do this for almost any app. Experts often recommend you download the apps your kids use onto your own phone to familiarize yourself with them. Checking chat logs helps you see what your son or daughter has seen, experienced, witnessed, or read.
5. Check your child's deleted photos album
Many kids don't realize on some phones, once something is deleted it goes to another file they have to know to clear. This won't work as soon as kids know about the album. Until then, it shows you what your child has attempted to delete from their phone.