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Limiting internet access for a teen making poor choices


Hilltopmom
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Dd 15 has a cheap smart phone and has been making some poor choices online recently.

I want her to have a phone because she goes to school and dance and does need to get ahold of me (anxiety issues, she contacts me more often than would be ideal to ask to borrow a phone when out).

 

She already has no data on it, but uses the WiFi internet at home.

I want her to still be able to text friends, but need to shut down access to web surfing, tumblr, etc.

 

I could hold onto it and she has to get it from me to text supervises when at home, but she does need it for audible.

 

The social scene after school is mostly online which I hate to limit since she’s new there and making friends, but need to do limit some access

 

She has a kindle fire too that I’ll have to confiscate or lock down to just Netflix and audible if possible.

 

(she needs audio book access on the phone or kindle for her learning disability)

 

Help me figure this out please.

Thanks

Edited by Hilltopmom
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You might need to invest in a better phone that has stronger parental controls, or look for apps that would work with your current phone to run it in a safer configuration for her.  

 

For the kindle it should be ok, I think they have some really robust parental control options.

 

Another option is OpenDNS.  It is free.  You configure it so that everything on the house's wifi network has the same limitations.  For example, you set it to no p0rn, or no gaming, or no to specific domains, and every computer using the home wifi is blocked form those things.  So it would really depend on the nature of her behavior and whether you want to restrict the entire family or not.  

 

* edit:  typo!  

Edited by Monica_in_Switzerland
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I have Google Wifi (in the UK) which allows me to block any device.  There is an app so I can do it remotely from my own phone if I am away from home.  Hobbes asks when he wants to use the internet.

  Can you provide details so I can check if it available in U.S.  I need something like this .  My 12 y.o just got his phone back after a 2 month timeout, and went back on time-out the same day.  I woke up in the middle of the night and found him playing at !:00 a.m.

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Can you provide details so I can check if it available in U.S. I need something like this . My 12 y.o just got his phone back after a 2 month timeout, and went back on time-out the same day. I woke up in the middle of the night and found him playing at !:00 a.m.

Your router should have settings that allow you to set time access for individual devices too. My friend does that at her house.

Doesn’t help when they’re not at home though.

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Qustodio lets you block certain apps while allowing others, and it works for phones too.

 

ETA: The phone itself may have some sort of secondary password. For instance, my iPhone has a regular passcode to enter the phone and then a second one that I can use to set restrictions. I can disallow the built-in web surfer app and also disallow adding new apps. Maybe her phone has that?

Edited by happypamama
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If she is making poor choices, she is probably not mature enough to have a smart phone. I would get her a flip "dumb" phone for calling and texting only - no internet access unless she is at home with your supervision, on a laptop or Kindle, tablet etc. My daughter did not make good choices on her iPod (texting) so we took it away. She misses texting her friends, but it's the price she paid for not being trustworthy. She is allowed to use my phone to call her friends and vice versa.

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There's an app called Kids' Place that allows you to select what apps they have access to, and whether those apps have internet access. We've never put Phone or Messenger on ours so idk how they works with it but they are options so might be worth a try. I think they offer a older kids' option also so that it doesn't say Kids' Place on the app.

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  Can you provide details so I can check if it available in U.S.  I need something like this .  My 12 y.o just got his phone back after a 2 month timeout, and went back on time-out the same day.  I woke up in the middle of the night and found him playing at !:00 a.m.

 

This is what we have, but other routers may have something similar.  Our previous router allowed us to switch off access from our computer that was attached to the wifi, but the Android app is more convenient:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Google-AC1200-Dual-Band-Router-3-PACK/dp/B01MAW2294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511545346&sr=8-1&keywords=google+wifi

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We provide an old smart phone - it can be used as a texting device, no phone service, and not capable of handling the newer versions of most social media apps. Even then we have time boundaries when the device must be handed over so it's not used overnight. That also gives us an opportunity to do a quick scan for any inappropriate or concerning communications.

 

You know what the hardest part of this is? The judgment of other parents who think we're being too restrictive, or not respecting our child's privacy.

 

But you know what the most validating part is? The input of our young adults and their early-20s friends who say, "Good for you! Keep doing that! I wish I hadn't had access to that stuff at that age, it was not good for me!"

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If she is making poor choices, she is probably not mature enough to have a smart phone. I would get her a flip "dumb" phone for calling and texting only - no internet access unless she is at home with your supervision, on a laptop or Kindle, tablet etc. My daughter did not make good choices on her iPod (texting) so we took it away. She misses texting her friends, but it's the price she paid for not being trustworthy. She is allowed to use my phone to call her friends and vice versa.

This is what I would do.

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We provide an old smart phone - it can be used as a texting device, no phone service, and not capable of handling the newer versions of most social media apps. Even then we have time boundaries when the device must be handed over so it's not used overnight. That also gives us an opportunity to do a quick scan for any inappropriate or concerning communications.

 

You know what the hardest part of this is? The judgment of other parents who think we're being too restrictive, or not respecting our child's privacy.

 

But you know what the most validating part is? The input of our young adults and their early-20s friends who say, "Good for you! Keep doing that! I wish I hadn't had access to that stuff at that age, it was not good for me!"

Exactly. People cannot believe I read my daughters text messages, but I would not have discovered what she was talking about that she should NOT have been. I don't believe that teenagers need total privacy in regards to social media and internet access. There's too much out there.

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I agree and I’m very, very relaxed about what I think is “appropriateâ€.

But unsafe behavior is a whole other ballgame.

 

Her Phone and kindle are currently hidden away until I decide what to do.

She’s outraged but it’s an appropriate consequence for now.

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Exactly. People cannot believe I read my daughters text messages, but I would not have discovered what she was talking about that she should NOT have been. I don't believe that teenagers need total privacy in regards to social media and internet access. There's too much out there.

This is how I feel at 12-13-14.

 

When they hit 16, 17, I hope that major issues have been addressed, they are becoming adults, have hopefully learned some self-control- s/he will have earned the privacy of me not monitoring.

 

But I do think it's hard for many teens (younger and older) to be handed a device that gives them access to info & cultural overload and not expect them to have a learning curve, which many find too hard to navigate. I feel like what we do is a training/probation period, a season to learn how to use communication tools in a healthy way.

Edited by Seasider
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This is how I feel at 12-13-14.

 

When they hit 16, 17, I hope that major issues have been addressed, they are becoming adults, have hopefully learned some self-control- s/he will have earned the privacy of me not monitoring.

 

But I do think it's hard for many teens (younger and older) to be handed a device that gives them access to info & cultural overload and not expect them to have a learning curve, which many find too hard to navigate. I feel like what we do is a training/probation period, a season to learn how to use communication tools in a healthy way.

I do agree with the ages you mentioned. My daughter turned 15 yesterday, and just started public school after being homeschooled her entire life. She struggled with wanting to fit in and talking and acting like everyone else did. She wasn't participating in anything unsafe, but talking in a way she should not have. I felt she was too immature for the iPod.

 

I think at 17, the privacy becomes more necessary and natural, as long as the older teen is showing some good judgement, discernment, and making good decisions. If there is a hint of drug or alcohol abuse or irresponsible sexual behavior, I think the privacy becomes an enabler.

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Good timing. I want ds10 to carry a phone next year as he is going to after school stuff by himself. I was going to put a text/phone plan on his smart phone (he has it instead of a tablet because he drops tablets all the time) but maybe I will see if I can find a dumb phone and the smart phone can stay at home.

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