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Cyber Safety Resources

Parents and guardians often seek guidance on how to best support their children with the use of technology. MPCSD has compiled the resources below to inform and educate our community.

Wait Until 8th - Remember that just because your child wants a smartphone doesn’t mean they should get one. Wait Until 8th is a great resource that helps you make an informed decision about when to put that technology in your children’s hands. You can review their “Top 5 Reasons to Delay” [getting your child a smartphone]: 1.) Smartphones are changing childhood; 2.) They are addictive and distracting; 3.) Smartphones expose your child to… (you name it); 4.) They increase risk for anxiety and depression; 5.) Cyberbullying is an important concern.

MPCSD loves Common Sense Media, which can give you spot-on ratings and advice for apps, video games, movies, TV, and books for $30/year. But don’t forget about good old common sense, period! For example, children must share social media passwords with parents, no phone or devices in bedrooms, and all phones and devices shut down to allow kids to get a good night’s sleep. Common Sense Media also provides a great Family Media Agreement so that you can have a constructive and educational conversation with your child. Don’t forget, you model healthy digital behavior to your child, so if you bring your phone to the dinner table, for example, your child gets the message that phones are okay to have out during family meals. 

MPCSD keeps students safe online through the use of a content filter. This filter works on campus, and also at home (for district-issued devices). Our content filter provider, Linewize, has created an MPCSD Online Safety Hub where you can go for Parent Advice (e.g., hot topics such as TikTok or information about online bullying); Online Safety Tech (e.g., “How children use tech to cover their tracks online” or setting up parental controls on iPhones and iPads); and App & Game Review (curious about SnapChat or Discord? You’ll find reviews here to help you decide if your child should have those apps).

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls from Common Sense Media. Great recommendations and links for everything from blocking websites, filtering content, setting limits and monitoring kids, and so on. For another perspective, check out “Why the Best Parental Control is You: Instead of flipping a switch, be the voice in their head.” As this article points out, “If they put their minds to it, kids can defeat almost any parental control,” and “Spying isn’t sustainable.” That said, there are many resources that can help you limit your child’s access to content that they may not be ready for.

Google SafeSearch - One way to limit what your child can find on the Internet is to activate Google SafeSearch. You first have to set Google as the default search engine, and then follow these steps to turn on SafeSearch.

Block Websites and Filter Content on Computers - Every system has settings to limit children’s access. Whether you use a macOS, Windows, or even Amazon Fire device, you have the power.

Third Party Parental Control Services - Bark, Qustodio, and NetNanny are options that help put controls on and monitor devices. They can be expensive. Additional apps that are phone-specific include Bark, Circle, TeenSafe, or Webwatcher.

IOS and Android Controls - Most kids are smartphone or tablet users, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or Android tablet. 

  • Apple IOS devices have Screen Time built in, which allows you to monitor device activity, including scheduling “Downtime” (which means only phone calls and apps you choose are available, and your child will have to request additional time from you). Setting “App Limits” (daily limits for categories of apps), and setting “Communication Limits” (who your children can communicate with phone calls, FaceTime, Messages (texts), and iCloud contacts). Screen Time is not enabled on district-issued iPads, but JAMF Parent is a tool you can use to have more control over your child’s school-issued technology.
  • For Android users, Family Link allows you to view your child’s activity, approve or block apps and manage in-app purchases, set screen time limits, lock their device, and find their location. 

gabb Phone - Do you want to have the ability to communicate with your child, but don't want to open the door to all the Apps and Internet usage on a cell phone? Check out gabb, a phone designed with communication as the primary function .without time-wasters or the dangers of social media and/or Internet.