A common question we are asked, and here discussed, is “How do I introduce ParentShield to my child?” and “How will they feel knowing they have a monitored Mobile phone?” Here are some of our users’ experiences and the things we’ve learned in case it’s useful to anyone with the same concern.
Honesty is the b̶e̶s̶t̶ only policy
We always strongly advise that parents are honest with children about the monitoring they are doing, or capable of doing. It’s the only way to build and maintain trust, and it’s highlighted in the Information Commissioner’s Parent App design code as an important issue. ParentShield does text every phone that is set up on the network to inform the user for this reason. It wouldn’t be right to allow a monitored service to be set up on absolutely anyone’s phone without their knowledge.
If the phone is set to record calls then the caller calling a ParentShield phone will hear a recorded call announcement and this will almost certainly become a discussion with the ParentShield phone user, so if they are going to find out that it’s recorded, it’s obviously important that they hear it from you first.
It’s rarely a problem
Here at ParentShield as we strive to build the best SIM for kids, we have conversations every single day with customers, with their child by their side. Going through the ParentShield Portal together trying out the features and seeing how the recordings and time controls work. Many new customers fear that it will be the problem that it rarely is. Children actually enjoy the reassurance that they are being protected and like the fact that they are being cared for.
We often hear of parents being asked by their child to listen to a conversation they had to either explain something, or to find rediscover something that was discussed and forgotten. A friend told them a time to meet somewhere, and they forgot. If they know that the call would be recorded and available they can go to the parent and listen to it again. Things like this remove stress, and that’s only a good thing.
Most ParentShield customers don’t regularly check their Portal
The majority of ParentShield customers don’t feel the need to routinely check their child’s communications. Setting up word alerts allows parents to relax knowing they will be notified should any of those words appear in SMS messages. Removing the worry and providing peace of mind means parents can be more relaxed, and the effect of this is to reduce arguments and allow healthy discussions.
The important thing to remember is that, should the worst happen, or should there be a concerning change of behaviour – there is some record of communications that will provide important clues.
Make phone discussions, regular discussions
Parents tell us they have a good experience when they regularly discuss mobile phone issues with their children. A quick chat, once a week, going over the phone ,making sure it’s working properly, discussing the apps that it has, and taking the time to play, yourself with the games and platforms your child is using will be time well spent. If you aren’t as clued up as your children are about technology and mobile phone controls and settings, then it’s virtually impossible to protect them when using it.
You can ask your child to help you with your own phone too and demonstrate that you can trust them having access to your phone.
Consider a Parent-Child Phone Contract
Many ParentShield customers tell us they have had good results from drawing up a mutual parent-child phone contract. It can be a great place to start and allows you to put a few minutes aside, without distractions to go through all the important considerations and concerns – from both sides – about having a mobile phone.
There is a ParentShield suggestion with a few ideas on it here but it’s best if it’s used as a starter for a discussion. We have a Word version as well as a PDF. You can then draw up your own version, complete with all the things you feel Important for you and your child. Typical content might be:
- Hours of use
- Agreeing access to the phone for updates, upgrades and checking operation
- Agreed good behaviour
- Consequences of abuse
- Agreed maintenance and phone management
This is only a small list, but it’s important to have a way to discuss all the things that they’re bound to face as they embark on a journey of personal phone use.
When things go wrong…
Occasionally it’s necessary to enforce good behaviours by the implementation of sanctions. ParentShield provides options to parents that can be used rather than confiscating a child’s phone. As it’s possible to control hours of use, mobile data, and allowed / disallowed contacts remotely without touching the phone, parents have an alternative to confiscation.
We’re always here to help
Don’t forget there are literally thousands of other parents going through the same issues as yourself and ParentShield’s features have all been developed in response to customer experiences. You can contact ParentShield on 0330 122 1180 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.