Picture this: your teen comes in from a long day of school, kicks off their shoes, and sinks into the couch, phone in hand. Not having seen them all day, you naturally want to check in on your child.
“How was school?” you ask.
“Fine,” comes the reply.
“Did you do anything fun?”
After a few more questions (and monosyllabic responses), you relinquish your quest to have a fruitful conversation.
It likely doesn’t take any strenuous exercise of the imagination to envision this scene—chances are you’ve lived it a time or two. . .or a thousand. In fact, you may have noticed that your child’s tech and texting habits have begun encroaching on quality family time.
While it’s good for your child to keep in touch with friends, too much time spent texting can negatively affect your child’s relationship with the world around them. If your child is constantly on their phone, they can miss opportunities to build new friendships and strengthen relationships with family.
Not only can texting and tech use stunt your child’s sociality, but it can also pose a threat to their emotional well-being. Unfortunately, some kids use texting as a way to bully others. So how can you encourage your child to put down their phone and take in the world around them? And more importantly, you might be wondering, “How can I monitor my child’s text messages for free to keep them safe from cyberbullies?”
Let’s take a look at a few solutions to these issues.
Set Tech Boundaries
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to texting, or any tech use for that matter, is setting boundaries. Here are some ways you can set tech boundaries in your family.
Tech and Texting-Free Zones
The first step to making more family time and protecting kids from cyberbullying is creating tech and texting-free zones. These zones could be places like the bathroom, bedroom, or dinner table. They could also be “time zones” such as bedtime, school time, or homework time. If you establish these zones with your kids as they start using tech, your family can enjoy more uninterrupted tech-free time together. And you can better supervise your child’s use of tech by ensuring they don’t use their phones in private places like the bedroom or bathroom.
Screen Time Limits
Technology is an integral part of today’s world, but despite its indispensability, everyone needs a tech break now and again—especially kids. Help your kids take a break by setting screen time limits with them. Sit down with your child and decide together how much time they should spend with technology each day.
Teach your kids that technology is a tool rather than a toy. If your child has a purpose in mind each time they pick up their phone, they’ll be more likely to use it as a tool instead of as a way to pass time. Encouraging your child to use their phone with a purpose will help them develop healthy tech habits for life.
Encourage Open Conversations about Tech
Along with setting boundaries for your child’s tech, create a loving environment that encourages your kids to talk with you when they’re struggling with tech use or cyberbullying. If your child trusts you enough to comfortably discuss these sensitive topics with you, you can better protect them from the potential harms of tech. How do you create such an environment, you ask? Having crucial conversations about tech use is a great way to start. (Notice the plurality of the word conversations.) Help your child understand the importance of putting down the phone and connecting with the world around them. And educate them about the potential harm of cyberbullying both as perpetrator and victim. As you make these conversations a regular occurence in your home, your child will be more likely to come to you when they need help or advice.
Get a Text-Monitoring App
Another way to help keep your kids safe from cyberbullying and other texting dangers like sexting is by monitoring their texts. If you’re wondering, “How can I monitor my child’s text messages for free,” you have a few options. If you’ve established an open and trusting relationship with your child, you can ask to see their texts. The success of this method depends on your child’s honesty and their trust in you. You may also monitor your child’s texts through apps like Bark with a free trial. Once the trial is up, however, the app does charge a fee. Other apps like Qustodio charge a fee upfront, with no free trial. These apps help you stay informed about who your child is in contact with and alert you to any potentially harmful activity.
Troomi—the Be-All and End-All of Kid-Safe Smartphones
Unfortunately, these text-monitoring apps can be a little pricey. That’s where Troomi comes in. With Troomi, you can monitor your child’s texts without any external apps. The Troomi team has designed an easy-to-use Parent Portal that allows you to see your child’s texts with the click of a button. You can also use the Parent Portal to approve certain contacts you want your child to communicate with and block all others. If a blocked number is contacting your child, you can also see what texts they send (although your child won’t see them on their phone).
Here at Troomi Wireless, our goal is to help you keep your child safe and help your child learn to keep themselves safe as well. Troomi smartphones grow with your child. As your child matures, you can allow them to access more features on their phone. Troomi’s all-inclusive Parent Portal lets you set screen time limits, enable and disable KidSmart® Apps, block dangerous websites, block all unapproved numbers, and much more. These features help prevent the normal risks of smartphones. So give yourself some peace of mind and check out Troomi!
Healthy Tech Habits
By employing some of these suggestions, you can help your child learn healthy tech habits. Unfortunately, you won’t always be able to protect your child from the harmful effects of technology, but you can teach them how to protect themselves. So instead of asking, “How can I monitor my child’s text messages for free,” perhaps a better question is, “How can my child keep themself safe while using tech?” Start teaching your child healthy tech and texting habits today!