LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- When you hand over a tablet or smartphone to your children, it's easy to lose control of what they see, watch and do.
THV11 got a closer look at ways you can help your kids stay safe online.
Over sharing, checking in or status updates are some of the most common challenges parents have to deal with when teens love social media just a little bit too much.
"You can’t erase it once it's out there it's out there. And you think, ‘oh well I’m just going to delete it and Lord forbid you put a hashtag behind it’,” said Tech expert, Shaunda Williams.
The dangers and challenges associated with social media and the internet change and grow every day.
"This whole topic qualifies at least in our book as one of the most difficult things you have to do as a parent in this day in age,” said Little Rock Dad, Jared Elmquist.
Williams speaks to parents concerned about keeping their teens safe. She suggests learning how to monitor your children's privacy settings.
"Be mindful of just getting click happy and accepting them,” said Williams.
If you’re not a tech savvy parent, now is the time to get familiar with smartphones and tablets. Smartphones come with restrictions that are easy to set. Williams said that knowing that kids aren't going to be able to stumble across something inappropriate actually makes them feel more secure.
"Whatever happens over here, it will never happen to me until it happens to them, and the first thing they do is they go mom dad can you help me,” said Elmquist.
His wife, Marisa Elmquist says part of her wonders if they should just get them a flip phone and say forget it. Ten years ago, rules on technology were not something the Elmquist family enforced. Three more kids later, a sign that reads "Don't think about bringing your cellphone to my table. Love, Mom" is the center piece on the kitchen table.
Remind your kids that you're not trying to be a pest, just a parent. Communication and trust is key. However, there are warning signs that they may be up to no good. Williams says if you notice that they are kind of resistant when parents come in and log off quickly, they may be hiding something. It’s best to have an open door policy and welcome technology because this their way to socialize.
So what are kids up to on the Internet? "I like seeing what other people are doing. I purposely only follow certain people that I know,” said 16-year-old Marla Elmquist. And 14-year-old Jeremey Elmquist said, "most of the time when my friends are doing something cool they'll just send me what they are doing right now, and if I’m doing something cool I’ll do the same thing."
To protect your kids online, you have to go online. There are some apps that help make monitoring your children’s activities easy.
Our Pact allows to monitor their screen time at any time and from anywhere. The Parent Kit app allows you to schedule your child’s internet usage. The best part is that you can do it all from your own device, which acts like a remote. K9 Browser blocks any inappropriate or suspicious content.
There are two important takeaways from this topic: Parents, you don't have to be a computer expert to keep your child safe online. Kids, if you wouldn't do it face to face, don't do it online
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