By Eva Ozawa on Fri, 03/14/2014
Children are getting cell phones at younger and younger ages, and even the cheapest smartphones on the market are capable of browsing the Internet. With the web as vast and accessible as it’s ever been, monitoring teenagers' iPhone use can be as challenging as dealing with their hormone-driven attitudes. This is why it is good to know what easy, go-to options are available to parents to protect those inquisitive eyes from at least some of the Internet’s unsavory side.
Lay Down the Law
First, preferably before an iPhone is placed in your teenager's eager hands, you should have a family-wide discussion about Internet safety. Figure out what acceptable internet usage means to your family and then lay out the rules clearly. Make it clear what types of websites are okay and are not okay, cover protecting your privacy online, and establish time limits for internet access.
If you find it helpful, you can print this contract and read it with your family to cover all of your bases.
Enabe Restrictions an Your Child's iPhone
Enabling restrictions will allow you to prevent your child from making unauthorized in-app purchases, downloading apps, viewing certain types of content, and more. You will want to be in control of the restrictions placed on your child's iPhone, so think of a strong password to use on for setting those restrictions. Don't use anything that your child could easily guess like your anniversary or a birthday. Make sure you choose something that has not been used for any other device. You can set restrictions by going to Settings>General>Restrictions.
One good way to censor Internet browsing is to disable any browsers already in the phone and download a safer, filtering browser like Mobicip Safe Browser With Parental Control (free), which lets you decide the level of filtering.
More Browser Filtering Options
If your teenager really hates the filtering browsers, you could compromise with a filtering extension for chrome such as MetaCert (free).
A broader stroke of protection such as a household Internet filtering setting would ensure that even if your child manages to breeze through your password there would still be other security measures in place. OpenDNS offers free parental controls that instantly apply to all of the computers, gaming consoles, and phones being used on your Internet connection.
Communication is Key
The main thing is to have open communication with your teenager and know your options for protecting your kids. It often feels like our kids are working way beyond our realm of understanding when it comes to technology, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take control of the situation and reward them for following your lead. If they use their iPhone responsibly and don’t complain about the rules, You could always reward them with a cool new iPhone accessory.