The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for parents. With most schools now closed, many parents are attempting to work remotely while at the same time moonlighting as teachers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, and sports coaches.
Not surprisingly, during this time of social distancing, use of the internet has increased significantly. Much of this growth is from children, who are using internet-connected devices for remote learning, to stay in touch with friends, video-streaming, and to escape into their favorite video game. Our most recent look at internet usage reveals a 75% increase in online gaming and a double-digit increase in video-streaming.
With internet use increasing, and parents pulled in many directions, supervising kids’ online activity is both harder and more important than ever before. In this temporary new world, the key is to find a balance between remote learning, watching videos and online gaming, and everything else that helps foster a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
We also know from child safety experts that it is vital that parents play an active role in keeping their kids safe online. So what are busy and stressed-out parents to do?
As part of its commitment to helping parents raise children in a digital world, Verizon wants parents to know about parental controls. Parental controls are everywhere. They are on the digital devices used by your children, the router that powers your home internet connection, and the apps that your kids can’t put down. Many companies, including Verizon, also offer powerful suites of parental controls.
While parental controls are not a substitute for a comprehensive digital parenting plan, they are an important and underutilized safeguard that can block inappropriate internet content, protect kids’ privacy, automatically manage kids’ screen time, and much more. So where should parents get started?
There is great information available online. Internetmatters.org provides parents with easy-to-understand guidance about how to implement parental controls on a wide range of devices, gaming platforms, and apps. The Family Online Safety Institute is also a good resource, with lots of helpful advice on parental controls.
During these challenging times, Verizon will continue to look for opportunities to help parents keep their children safe online. For more information about Verizon’s efforts to date, check out our Parenting In a Digital World hub, which contains information and advice about technology for parents of children of all ages.
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About the author(s):
Craig Silliman is Verizon’s general counsel and executive vice president for public policy. He leads Verizon’s legal, regulatory, public policy, government affairs and security groups.