That’s when most folks think they’ll let their kids use that app.
You know the one.
Sure, it starts out simply enough. Follow a basic tutorial on “how to keep your kids safe online” and actually monitor ALL the things when you first start out.
But as soon as you talk to a few friends and that first app rolls onto your bad apps for (your) kids list, it starts this … fire.
And the little spark of your first known bad app is … scary, y'know? Like, the gateway drug to app safety, and MAYBE if you can keep your child off that ONE bad app, you can keep her safe online for forever.
Or maybe even longer than that.
And so you find yourself sending your spouse to bed alone while you surf Pinterest, innocently looking for good apps and bad apps. Because no bad apps = online safety, right?
But here’s where you start to encounter a little friction.
Because if no bad apps = online safety and the holy grail = monitoring and app nay-saying, then the going advice is something like …
- Cross that app off the “good app” list.
- That one, too.
- Monitor your child’s phone 1x a day at least.
- Don’t tell her when you’re going to be checking.
- Click into that one app review site ALL THE TIME.
- Ask other parents which apps are bad and which apps are good. (Only sweat a *little* when their advice differs from each other.)
- Buy an app that monitors your child’s phone FOR YOU and hope that you never learn anything cringe-worthy.
- Because then what?!
- Add onto your growing list of bad apps.
- Cross off the app you thought was okay and said, "yes" to. Oops.
- Roll up your sleeves and try to figure out the NEW app your child wants to use today — it’s only the 4th one this month … not too shabby.
- Look at your tabs and wonder how many more you can open for reviews, opinions, thoughts, and how-to’s for ONE app.
- HEAR your daughter come into the kitchen, FEEL her look over your shoulder, and CROSS YOUR FINGERS that she’s not asking about another app because you’re not even done learning THIS one.
- Frantically search Pinterest for MORE things you can do, because the reason you’re NOT RELAXED YET is because you’re not doing ENOUGHHHH, right?
And your Pinterest search turns up something like this:
(Side note: if that image hits a little too close to home and you’re verging on an anxiety attack, step AWAY. From. The. Browser.)
At a certain point, even if you *are* making headway, your child’s phone can start to feel a little like … a prison.
Riddle me this, mom: At what point do you stop being the parent and start being the employee?
Err-volunteer, I guess?
Because no one is paying you for this stress and anxiety.
In fact, the only thanks you get is MORE anxiety about apps and maybe even an eyeroll when you take away another app.
Never mind that this time it was an app that she's been using for forever.
Without any problems.
But the list.
Hear this: if you’re googling things like …
- What are safe apps for kids?
- How often should I monitor my child’s phone?
- Wait, Instagram has disappearing videos, too?!
You may as well be asking,
“What else can I add to my plate, in the scramble to have a safe online kid?”
Which is *almost* the same as asking …
"How fast do I need to run on this hamster wheel?”
… And at a certain point, you realize that the simple take on technology that you wanted to create?
Is now running YOU.
… But you do know there’s an alternative, right?
And — spoiler alert — it has nothing to do with good apps and bad apps.
It has to do with realizing you don’t have an app problem.
It has to do with understanding that categorizing good apps and bad apps ISN'T a keep-your-child-safe-online strategy.
And the way to safety (for her) and freedom (for you) isn’t asking what MORE you can do…
It’s asking what you can CUT OUT to help your child be safe in a longterm way.
Stepping off the hamster wheel and stepping UP to being a healthy online habits cruise director.
Or gentle nudger.
In the world of digital ed teachers …
Apps? Matter less than you think. (Because you don’t want to learn all about an app that will change or that your child will stop using, you just want her to have the right skills that carry over from app to app.)
Safety? Simply means she knows what choices to make.
And you never have to strain your neck to see what the app-checker-next-door is doing … because the only person that matters is your own child.
I’d like to issue you an invitation.
To quit the frantic search for MORE and to start saying yes to a simpler, more productive tech life for your family.
One where you call the shots of what she knows, you set the online habits you want her to have, and you know that the thing you’re doing right now? Is the very thing that will keep her safe ANYWHERE she goes online.
On any device.
It isn’t a to-do list.
Or a Pinterest search.
It’s focusing on teaching the RIGHT, underlying skills that carry over from app to app.
And THAT's what we're going to dig into in this series.
In Part 2, I'm going to reveal to you what it looked like for me to be knee-deep in this mistake with my daughter and how brilliantly this backfired for me.
So first, download your free checklist. It's made specifically for moms of newish digital kids. So if you have a child who is new online or has only been online for a very short, time ...
Click here to get this checklist right now.
Then click here to head on over to Part 2 of your Bad App Chase Series.
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. (*My name is pronounced guh-leet + means little waves, like in the ocean.) I give you the tools you need to let your kids benefit from the amazing things the online world has to offer them and create a popsicle dripping, chapter book reading (in one sitting!), leaf crunching childhood that they deserve. Welcome, I'm so glad you're here. What can you expect from me? I spill it all right here.