The basics to keep your kids safe

4 things every parent should consider

There are many parenting styles and a wide spectrum of beliefs when it comes to technology. That being said, all the research shows the risks to kids is too great to give unlimited access to the world wide web and apps. This is a judgement free zone. Many parents (us included) have given kids too much access. Please make changes immediately as hard as it may be to do.

Smartphones have controls to help parents keep their ids safe

1. Set device restrictions

Setting device restrictions will transform your kid's device into a safer tool. You will protect them from accessing the adult content from the entire world wide web and app store. You will have approval responsibilities for what your kid has access to so you can ensure it's age appropriate.

Basic safety requirements:
1. Activate parental controls on all devices so that you have the ability to set limits
2. Require parental approval for all apps downloaded
3. Browser restrictions to block adult websites

iPhone users read the Screen Time guide. Android users read the Family Link guide

We also recommend checking out Protect Young Eyes guide on controls for most devices.

Parents should engage with their kids to discuss and approve all apps their kids use

2. Approve all apps

Now that parental controls are activated, it's time to get the right apps on your kid's phone. First, you either need to review everything that's already on his or her phone or consider a factory reset to start fresh. Going forward you'll be notified every time a new download is requested.

We know how hard it is to keep up with the latest apps and updates! Generally, we suggest a less-is-more approach, but it's entirely up to you and what you believe the role of technology is in your kid's life.

The Village Social app was built by parents to be the only messaging and social tool kids need. It is safe by design (private, no discovery, and more) and has built-in tools for parents.

As you consider what apps to allow, here are two great sources for app reviews.

1. Smart Social provides video guides and podcasts for apps
2. Protect Young Eyes also has comprehensive written reviews

Screentime limits are advisable for healthy balance

3. Set limits

Set limits on when, where and how much the phone can be used.

  1. Total time - limit how much time your kid can use devices. Automate tracking through the device when possible and require a log when not.

  2. Time for specific apps - if you allow apps such as instagram with never-ending feeds, limit how much time it can be used.

  3. Tech free zones - we recommend keeping devices out of bedrooms and away from all meals. Other examples could include at restaurants and at social events.

  4. Tech free times - bedtime for sure and you may consider other family times, school, etc.

A family technology agreement is a great way to expectations.

Create a custom agreement online and get a pdf by email
Be involved with your kids digital life to know who they are messaging with online

4. Be involved

Be involved with your kid's digital life just like you are in their real life.

Use the apps your kid uses before you give them permission. Many parents are appalled when they join Tik Tok or Snapchat and see the profane and hyper-sexualized content in apps for 13 year olds.

A great starter is to share your personal technology beliefs (e.g. what is good and not so good about tech). Reinforce the golden rule and special digital etiquette. Plus teach that their digital footprint could and likely will follow them around forever.

Parent Resources

Tech Savvy

Resources for the digital world

Tech Savvy has conducted 1000's of hours of research and simplified it to exactly what you need. We promote engaged and proactive parenting in the digital world just like most parents do in the real world. We believe technology and smartphones are valuable tools when used appropriately. However, we advise parents to choose caution as the world wide web and most apps were not build for kids.

It's time to recognize and start fixing the toxic culture that exists for kids today. It's now normal for girls to receive unsolicited nude images or requests for sexual images. Cyberbullying is never ending and often more extreme than in person bullying.

In general, kids have been given far more freedoms and less adult supervision in the digital world than the real one. It's killing our kids. The CDC released alarming statistics that teen suicide has increased 56% over the last decade. Numerous experts, emergency room doctors, and people who meet with thousands of kids place most of the blame on one thing: social media.

It's common to think that my kid would never do this or my kid is the exception. I hate to say it but parents need to wake up. Statistically speaking, if your kid is on social media he or she probably has received unsolicited request, probably seen porn, and been on one or both ends of cyberbullying. If your kid is the outlier and hasn't we have a moral duty to not support the system of social media that has failed far too many kids.