How many Internet-enabled devices are in your home right now? The average two-person family owns 7 connected devices. Families of three or more own an average of 10. Between tablets, laptops, smart phones, gaming systems, and music players, your family may have as many as 15 or 16.
While it relieves parents to know their children can connect with them and get help whenever and wherever they need it, the proliferation of devices is changing the face of parental monitoring. Just a few years ago when the average number of household devices was much lower, it was easier to keep tabs on those few devices that your child had access to. Now that it’s harder to even keep track of what devices your child uses, it’s almost impossible to separately monitor their activity on each of those devices.
That’s why it’s important to monitor your child’s accounts, not just the devices they may be using. Tween and teens are usually more fluid about switching between devices frequently than their parents. Adults may find it comfortable to stick with their tablet or smart phone for most of their Internet needs, but the rising generation has no problem hopping from device to device in order to maintain constant connectivity.
The second problem parents face in monitoring kids’ Internet behavior is that they don’t have time to sift through all the data their child generates. Because they’re able to be on a different device no matter where they are, kids ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours per day on electronic devices. Studies show that the average teen sends and receives almost 4,000 texts a month and spends over 2 hours on social media. Keeping up with the sheer volume of their children’s Internet activity is a daunting task for today’s parents.
When setting up your parental monitoring game plan and talking with your kids about Internet safety, it’s important to keep this in mind. Honest and frequent conversations with your child should focus on the fact that Internet rules are the same whether kids are on the family computer, their Android, or their iPod touch. Parents should also choose comprehensive software like uKnowKids that monitors a child’s accounts across devices and has the capability to screen them for activities that deserve a parent’s immediate attention.
Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – cyberbullying, sexting and online predators. He is the co-founder of uKnow.com, developers of uKnowKids.