Some of you might be reading this on your smart phone, or tablet, or maybe you're the kind of person that still uses a a desktop computer..... The point is, technology is apart of every aspect of our lives and so often our students know much more about the newest tech than we do. This time around we are talking about safety. When it comes to our students it isn’t so much a question of, “do we trust them?” But instead it is knowing how temptation works, and temptation goes hand in hand with technology.
There are so many different reasons that we should be involved in the technology that our students are using and all of them revolve around the idea of safety and protection. Whether we are keeping them safe from those whose intent is to cause harm from the cyber world or attempting to keep them safe from their own sin nature and the temptation that comes from every corner of the internet, the ultimate goal is protection. According to http://www.nobullying.com as of February 11th, 2015,
– “25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet. Over half (52 percent) off young people report being cyber bullied.”
– “Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject has been reported by 11 percent of adolescents and teens.”
– “More than half of young people surveyed say that they never confide in their parents when cyber bullying happens to them.”
– “Victims of cyber bullying are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and to consider suicide as a result.”
Scary right? These are just a few of the statistics that this website has compiled that have to do with your students and how cyber bullying comes in contact with them, for a more comprehensive list of stats you can visit this website – http://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/.
I am not a parent myself so I am not here to give you parenting advice. However, I do know about technology and I would love to give you some advice on protecting your students from the harm of technology improperly used whether by others or themselves. With that comes our title, Safety > Privacy.
….sorry for the long introduction
When it comes to devices you are the parent, you are in charge. Whether it’s a cell phone, computer, tablet, iPod, or fax machine, I don’t care, YOU are in charge (however, your kids probably aren’t using a fax machine to send messages to each other… that would be really loud… and they probably don’t even know what a fax machine is…) That being said, I’m going to tell you about a few apps that your students will hate ME for, but will thank YOU for later in life. Some of these you will have to pay monthly for and there are some that will be free, you decide whats your students safety is worth :-)
1. SecureTeen Parental Control – iOS & Android Play Store
This app allows you to monitor basically all online activity that your students does on his or her phone or tablet. You can login via their web page and keep track of the different websites they are visiting, block keyword searches, and add enhanced protection. For a detailed breakdown of what this app does you can click on the links above to take you to the app store.
2. My Mobile Watchdog – Android Play Store
This app for Android allows you to see the text message history on your students devices. It can also allow you to block the downloading of new apps, use of the camera, block the use of phones at certain times, along with a wide variety of other functions. To see a full breakdown of all functions this app has you can visit the link above that will take you to the Android Play Store.
3. TeenSafe – iOS & Android http://www.teensafe.com
TeenSafe is known as the #1 iPhone tracker and from what I have seen it seems like it is worth the money that you pay monthly to use this app. Some of its features are; view text, view calls, see phone location, monitor social activity (including Facebook and Instagram – which is important, students live on Instagram), view messages sent through WhatsApp – a popular texting application, view messages in Kik, see web history, and view contacts. You can even see text messages that have been deleted from your students phone. Also a great perk this program gives you is that it can be used on unlimited devices, you can monitor all your students devices all from the same place. There is a one week trial and I highly recommend checking this out. Click the link above to go to their website and read all about what they do and how their product works.
I know what some of you are thinking, “I don’t want to budge in on my students privacy” or, “I trust them to use technology the way they should.” Like we said earlier, it isn’t always about whether or not you trust your students, it is about knowing how temptation can sink into their lives and that not everyone on the internet has the best intentions for them. Remember, you are the parent and you should know what is going on in your students life. In 3 John 1 : 2-4 we see John talking to his friend Gaius and he says, “Dear, friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling me how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
While Gaius is not the son of John he still chooses to say, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” That is something that we all want to say about the students in our life and if choosing that Safety > Privacy helps them to continue to walk in the faith long after they have left the grasp of you the parents, than it is well worth it. Protect your students from the dark corners of the internet, the people that don’t have their best interests in mind, and know whats going on in your students life, it’s really… really really important.
Remember Safety > Privacy
Logan West is a youth worker who cares about teens in the real world and in the virtual world as well.