While designing our parental control service, JuniorProtect, we learnt that the child’s age matters less than how parents guide them to take their first digital steps. Used well, child web protection can help you with so much more than just putting some porn sites and dodgy wikis on a family filter, so here are our top tips to help you maximise your parental control!

Tip #1: Supervision, not just surveillance.

With the internet becoming easily accessible everywhere, kids are now receiving their first connected devices at younger ages. Research firm Influence Central noted that children today are getting their first smartphones at around 10 years of age, two years younger than in 2012. The risks of letting your child whizz through online unattended are obvious, from pornography to mobile gaming addiction, to being exposed to negative ideology (just ask anyone who grew up with a dial-up modem).

As children begin logging on at younger, more formative years, it’s crucial that parents take the step of going beyond traditional surveillance to proactive supervision, teaching their kids to use the internet wisely via parental control services. After all, if children need to be shown how to cross the road, why should all guidance stop at the login page?

JuniorProtect Plus brings you insights into your children's online behaviour at home or on their mobiles, empowering you with the flexibility of customising each child’s protection.  Aside from alerting you when a blocked site is visited, JuniorProtect Plus lets you easily tweak your own blacklist and receive detailed reports of blocked site visits. (And yes, it even works when your child tries the ‘incognito mode’ trick.)

Tip #2: Communication complements control.

A 2017 report showed that Singapore has more than double the average global percentage of active mobile social media users, with more than 3 in 4 Singaporeans using social media across all devices. Children logging onto Snapchat or Instagram is by no means a new phenomenon - online networks have been shown to help them quickly establish friendships and explore feelings of belonging and acceptance by others, according to findings from a 2015 study.

Ironically though, heavy internet usage takes time away from actual face-to-face communication between parent and child, not to mention some unforeseen effects - Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) for example, famously said in 2015 that society was in danger of being “too plugged in,” citing her interaction with a child who had difficulty recognising the difference between the real and virtual world.

Another social media-led behaviour, cyberbullying, shows the importance of having regular communication with your child about the internet. Made worse by the tendency of the cyberbullied to keep silent until something drastic happens, the issue is serious enough that Facebook itself has undertaken a project in UK schools to educate children about it.

JuniorProtect Plus’ web content filters and surfing curfews can help to safeguard against your child being “too plugged in” by letting you manage his or her home broadband/mobile data usage early on. Encourage your child to talk to you as well about what he or she finds online and you might just learn something new yourself (as these plucky parents below find out.)

Tip #3: Safety above speed.

Children desire to grow up quickly; they will always want more freedom, and see the internet as the platform that can provide it for them. But as eager and infectious their enthusiasm can be, the final say in shaping their surfing habits should always lie with you. JuniorProtect Plus parental control lets you adjust the level of protection to suit your children though should events prove necessary, you can also remotely turn their mobile data or home broadband connection off. Ultimately, we’ve designed JuniorProtect Plus to help you give your child web protection in a convenient and comprehensive way.

JuniorProtect Plus is now available at a very affordable price from only $5.35 a month! And if you’re considering getting a smartphone and JuniorProtect Plus for more than one of your children, SharePlus lets you enjoy up to 2 additional supplementary lines with a 1GB data upsize and 40% off the subscription fee, so you won’t have to bust your budget keeping your children safe and connected! (T&Cs apply.)