You need to know about these local and international non-intrusive parental control apps

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" ...the quality of the parent-child relationship and the openness of communications is integral to the optimum way to keep children safe".  (Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash)
" ...the quality of the parent-child relationship and the openness of communications is integral to the optimum way to keep children safe". (Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash)

In November 2021, US researchers asked more than 5000 children aged 10 to 14 about their daily screen use. 

Comparing this to pre-pandemic use, the researchers found that, "excluding hours spent on school-related work," total daily screen use had more than doubled among adolescents. 

WATCH | Study finds teen screen time doubled amid Covid-19 pandemic 

According to UNICEF, this increase in screen time is not to be taken lightly, with the global agency warning that "increased and unstructured time online may expose children to potentially harmful and violent content as well as greater risk of cyberbullying". 

For many, parental control apps have become the go-to solution; however, these tend toward keeping an intrusive eye on a child's online activities, which may not bode well for building a trusting parent-child relationship. 

'The optimum way to keep children safe' 

So, what tools can parents turn to increase the protection of their children online? According to mom Rachelle Best, the local tech innovator behind FYI play it safe, a new parental app, it's non-intrusive monitoring. 

"This is the driving value of FYI play it safe... We recognise that the quality of the parent-child relationship and the openness of communications is integral to the optimum way to keep children safe".  

In addition to the tech innovator's local app, here's a look at other non-invasive parental apps which may prove helpful in keeping your child safe online. 

FYI play it safe 

Using AI tech, FYI play it safe monitors the language used in content your child engages with, whether from apps to in-game chats and social media accounts. 

"What it does is eliminate the need for parents to conduct invasive checks on devices, chats and social media accounts, which can lead to conflicts and resentments. Through natural language processing, FYI play it safe picks up signals of potential harm or danger as it happens. This means the parent or guardian gets an alert that they can act on," Best explains. 

While not a free application, new users will be eligible for a free trial. The application is available to download on Android devices only.

Find out more here: Fyiplayitsafe.com 

Bark 

Like FYI play, Bark tracks your child's online activities and notifies you if potential danger is detected.

The app scours your child's activities and picks up on cyberbullying, adult content, predators, and suicidal thoughts.

The Bark app also makes it possible to block access to specific websites and provides the ability to manage your child's screen time by creating a schedule. 

Now available to South African parents, visit Bark.us for details on a free trial. 

Also read: Is it ever okay to snoop on your teenagers? 

OurPact 

Available to download for free from the Google Play Store and the Apple iStore, OurPact is another excellent tool. 

The app allows parents to set specific time frames for screen use and to block or allow their children access to the internet or apps in real-time. 

While free, the app offers additional services such as web filters and text and app blocking at a monthly fee. 

Visit Ourpact.com for more. 

Bosco: Safety for Kids

Bosco: Safety for Kids uses machine learning and algorithms to monitor threats, alerting parents to whether their child is sending or receiving inappropriate content, experiencing cyberbullying and is even able to detect whether your child is depressed. 

A notification is only sent if a threat is detected, and information is deleted once it passes through the Bosco system, so personal data remains protected. 

Bosco has both free and premium versions with certain features only available at a fee. 

Find out more at Boscoapp.com

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