IS TRACKING KIDS’ ONLINE ACTIVITY THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT THEM?

We all know that there are threats facing children online and whether you’re a parent, carer, teacher or local authority worker you want to make sure they’re as safe as possible.
tracking kids' online

There are a couple of different solutions to tracking kids’ online activity out there to choose from but one of the most popular is to use some kind of tracking technology that monitors what websites children are using and even exactly what they’re saying to others online. 

The idea behind this is that if we know exactly what a child is doing, we can intervene when it seems risky. 

But is tracking a kid’s online activity the best way to protect them?

What online threats are we protecting them from?

With the internet constantly evolving, there seems to be a new specific threat to worry about every day. However, in terms of keeping children safe online, most threats tend to fall into these categories

  • Online scams
  • Grooming
  • Cyberbullying

Children can become involved with these threats through two main ways: talking to others or being exposed to inappropriate content

So how effective is tracking a child’s online activity when it comes to protecting them from these threats?

The answer: not very.

Why isn’t tracking kids the best way to keep them safe online?

Human error

The main flaw with tracking a child’s online activity is that you can only protect them if you spot the danger yourself. To be sure that you’ll spot anything risky you need to be able to see everything they’re doing online in real-time – do you really have time for this with all the other commitments in your life?

Privacy

Tracking your child’s activity – either with or without their knowledge – is a huge violation of privacy and a signal that you don’t trust them which can massively harm critical adult-child relationships. 

In some cases, this can actually lead to children being more secretive and rebellious with their online activities. 

Workarounds

There are a lot of tech-savvy children out there who can easily disable or get around apps and technology that they feel are restricting what they can do online. 

Tracking a child’s online activity also doesn’t work if they have additional accounts you don’t know about– sometimes set up specifically to avoid being observed by parents, carers and teachers. 

Education

Observing everything a child says and does online doesn’t actually teach them anything about the dangers or how to stay safe. Educating children about the threats they face online and how to avoid them is crucial in protecting them.

How should we be protecting children online?

At CAP Certified, we believe the best way to protect children online is by creating a safe space online within which they can explore and privately communicate with their peers. 

The CAP Certified platform does this on two fronts:

  1. It tells websites that a child is logged on and that they should take the necessary precautions to ensure they are not exposed to inappropriate content
  2. It verifies every child using data from local authorities to ensure that children can only communicate with other real children rather than scammers and predators posing as children.

Ultimately, the problem with many of the child protection solutions on the market is that they either only work once a threat has been introduced or they completely limit access to the features that could expose a child to the threat. CAP’s solution stops the threat from entering the child’s safe space at all, while still allowing the child to explore all the features they want to use.

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