Our children’s safety is top of our priority list – car seats, child locks and safety guidelines – we see the danger and put steps in place to protect our little ones.
Online dangers are harder to see – pornography, violence, online predators, sexting, and bullying are all very real threats that our kids are exposed to when we give them a smart device.
If that wasn’t enough to worry about, parents also face problems such as excessive screen time, teens texting through the night, and devices eating up valuable face-to-face family time.
Giving your child a smartphone is a BIG DEAL!
Our daughter has owned a smartphone since she turned 13. That first day, I turned on as many parental controls as I could, gave her the talk about responsible use, and basically crossed my fingers.
I’d gone through all of the steps I believed were necessary. I’d spoken to her about image sharing, making sure you know who you are talking to, and let her know that I would make random checks of her phone (which I did).
I also let her have Instagram on her 13th birthday. This was against my better judgement and you can read my blog post about Instagram here. If you have a teen using Instagram, it is a must-read.
One day I found out my daughter had been bullied through Instagram. I also realised my daughter was able to find adult content. It was a big wake-up call to me that I wasn’t doing enough as a parent to protect my daughter.
It was also a wake-up call that the current advice we are given about kids and smartphones just isn’t enough.
Sure, there is an age where kids need to be taught responsible use and set free, but I don’t believe 13 is that age. I still believe (as a parent, and a teacher) that children don’t really mature as teenagers until they turn 15.
In fact teachers who teach teens know that grade nine students go home for the summer holidays and come back in grade ten, much more mature. It’s my feeling, that 15 years is the age we can use the current advice to educate, release, trust and build resilience.
But 13 is too young.
So I set about finding a tool that would give me control, oversight and peace of mind. Heck! I’m the adult! I’m paying the phone bill and I can do whatever I like to protect my child. In fact, it’s probably my responsibility to do so.
So I found a great product called Safe Lagoon. It is a subscription app (approx $5 AUD per month) that installs parental controls on any phone. It is installed on my daughter’s phone, and I use a control panel on my phone to view, and manage her account.
For those wondering, my daughter was happy to have the app installed as opposed to losing her phone privileges. I’m also a firm believer that boundaries and rules make kids feel safe – and that children should have the same rules online as they do in the real world.
So back to the app…
It is BRILLIANT. I can control almost every feature of my child’s phone.
Safe Lagoon allows parents to:
- Turn off all web browsers, except for the safe browser, and have complete visibility of all searches and results.
- Prevent app downloads, and see all downloads
- Schedule screen time (Set time limits! Enforce bedtime!)
- Manage your child’s phone remotely, including scheduling
- Read messages sent on messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and more
- Read text messages and monitor phone calls
- See your child’s location and receive notifications when they leave set locations
- See all images they take with the camera
- Add multiple family members
- Prevent uninstalling of app
My experience using the Safe Lagoon app has been great – which is why I’m recommending it. I am confident that I have oversight of my child’s digital life, her social interactions online, and that I can intervene when necessary to educate and most importantly protect her.
It’s taken a lot of anxiety out of the digital world for me.
If you’re nervous about your child having a smartphone, you battle with your child over screen time, or your teen is awake texting late at night, this app is for you!
It comes with a free version (web filtering) and then a subscription version for just a little more than a cup of coffee per month! I used the free version for a few days before I realised this is an awesome app and upgraded.
Special Offer! I’m super proud that Safe Lagoon has offered KidSpace Gold Coast families 20% off their subscription with the code: KSGC20
You can download Safe Lagoon, and get started now:
To get started:
Download the app to your phone, create an account, and then download the app on your child’s phone, logging in with your username and password. Once installed, follow the prompts to give the app access to different aspects of your child’s phone. Set some schedules and create some ‘places’, and then sit back and let the app send you notifications, and check content when you wish.
Please let me know what you think of Safe Lagoon, and don’t forget to leave a positive review if you love it too!
Disclaimer: I trialled and subscribed to the paid app in August. I was contacted by the owner of Safe Lagoon and asked to write a review on Google – which I did. I told him that I also had a website and would love to share the app with my readers, and the owner unexpectedly refunded the month and has given me 6 months free. He has also generously offered to give you a discount if you choose to subscribe (and I make $0 from that). I would absolutely be telling you about this product without being given a refund and free period.