28 May 3 Reasons for Greater Summer Internet Risk
For many families, school ends this week or very soon! That means kids will be enjoying fun times and sunny weather with family and friends. Summer also creates new routines and situations that can increase internet risks.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. We constantly test products to make sure we only recommend solutions that we trust with our own families.
New Places Create Greater Summer Internet Risks
In Michigan, between Memorial and Labor Day, many families enjoy time at the lake or some other warm-weather retreat. And, although sleepovers happen throughout the year, they tend to occur more frequently during summer vacation with friends and relatives (like grandparents).
This year, when you head to the cottage or wherever you go, be sure to take an inventory of the ways in which your family can access the internet. Then, guard those doorways, in the same way you filter and monitor at home. Remember, we suggest the following three layers of protection for all of the places where kids spend time online – whether at home or at the cottage:
- Guard the location – where kids use technology often dictates how they use technology. And, don’t forget about summer camp or church mission trips – if devices go with kids on those trips (which they often do), then take the right precautions.
Related Post: 4 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online
Related Post: Have Fun at NTS Camp! (A blog post that applies to any camp a kid might attend)
- Guard the wireless router – remember, you are responsible for every click on every router!
Related Content: How to Use OpenDNS
- Guard the device – when the iPhone or Android isn’t using your WIFI, is it adequately controlled?
Related Content: Parental Control Solutions We Recommend
New Patterns Create Greater Summer Internet Risks
During the school year, weekday bedtimes are regular and predictable. But, summer bedtimes are typically looser – kids are allowed to stay up, enjoying sunshine later into the evening, bonfires with friends, and “just one more swim” or “one more time” around the block on a bike.
At Protect Young Eyes, we focus heavily on controlling internet access at night. In our experience, internet temptations are magnified at night. In quiet, dark moments, kids are more apt to click, share or do things they might not do during the day. Darkness rules the web at night because whether you’re 14 or 40, you can rationalize anything online at midnight.
This means it might be more important during the summer to find a parental control solution like Circle, Mobicip, or Forcefield* that allow parents to turn off the device during certain times of day, especially at night.
Special Consideration for Teen Drivers: for your teenager, this might also mean driving more at night and with larger groups of friends, thereby increasing the in-car risk of using technology. If your child has an iPhone, iOS 11 now comes with a handy Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that can be locked in Restrictions.
You can learn how to enable this feature through Apple’s support article here: How to Use Do Not Disturb While Driving.
You can also LOCK in this feature through the iPhone’s Restrictions, which is really handy, by following the sequence of steps below:
Settings -> General -> Restrictions -> 4-digit Code -> Do Not Disturb While Driving -> Don’t Allow Changes
For Android users, we did a bit of research and the one that looks the most promising is from True Motion (but we haven’t tested it, so please let us know if you like it or if you have another suggestion).
New People Create Greater Summer Internet Risks
Just due to having more time, kids hang out with new people during the summer and in larger groups. Parents might have to be more vigilant about who their kid is hanging out with, and whether or not the situation increases the risk of using the internet poorly.
An important question to ask yourself often is, “Do I know enough about the internet rules that exist in each home where my kid is spending time this summer?”
Parents often ask me, “Chris, how do I talk to a family that I don’t know very well about their internet rules?” And, my response is underwhelming – “I don’t know! Pray, practice, bake some banana bread, smile, and be kind.” Yea, that’s all I’ve got. I just know that it’s important to keep the judgment low (don’t make it seem like you’re the queen or king of internet safety) and just be honest about the things that worry you.
Hey, have a great summer! It’s May and I’m already watering my lawn because of our unseasonably warm temps. I sure hope it continues!
*Disclosure: this is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. We constantly test products to make sure we only recommend solutions that we trust with our own families.