You all read the blog post I wrote about Amanda Todd and the problem of Social Media bullying. Since then a lot has happened and I had some really interesting reactions both on the post, on Facebook, Twitter and Google +. We now know that cyber-bullying was only one of the problems involved in this case but it has shed a spotlight on the challenges our children face and how we, as parents, need to help them.
This reaction made me do some research:
— African Geek Goddess (@RonellSharee) October 13, 2012
Mobiflock offers security and parent control systems for mobile devices. I have to admit that my first reaction was negative because I have seen too many parenting control tools that simply block access to certain websites and don’t educate parents or children. In my opinion these kind of restrictions only serve to create “forbidden” areas that in turn become much more desirable for kids. I believe that children should have computer access only in open areas in the house so parents can keep an eye on the use. I don’t think this works for teenagers anymore though because of the mobility of the technology.
Our “Digital Natives” grow up with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and that is a good thing when done right! The challenge is to protect our children from predators like in Amanda Todd’s case or from bullies.
This is where Mobiflock turns out to be a really flexible solution. I was very fortunate to speak to Vanessa Clark @vanclark from Mobiflock today. Vanessa talked to me about Mobiflock’s approach to mobile security for children and teenagers.
I would like to apologize for the video quality
“Technology does not replace Parenting – it doesn’t take away the need to have safety conversations with your kids”
“There are lots of advantages for kids to have smartphones – we want to make it safe for them”
“Specifically for bullying certain contacts can be blocked to protect the child but those messages are still logged so if the situation needs to be escalated there is evidence”
I also asked Vanessa if she has an answer to the question how old children should be before they have access to a Computer, Facebook account or a smartphone.
My last question was about the point when control over the phone should go from the parent to the young adult.
Summing up what I learned about Mobiflock it is a great tool to give our children the opportunities a mobile device offers and still have peace of mind and know that they are not alone out there. As a matter of fact (while not knowing enough details about the case) I think the RCMP investigation of Amanda Todd’s case would have a valuable resource in the tracking and logging functionalities of Mobiflock.
The deeper I look into the tool the more applications I see even for us adults. I’m sure a lot of stalking and harassment victims could use some of the functions.