Best Gadget Control Apps For Your Children

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Kids nowadays always have the instinct to check their phones minute by minute. They believe that the tweets, DMs, and personal messages they receive are so crucial that replying to them cannot wait until the next morning. As a parent, you might want to incorporate several control apps to help enforce your gadget curfew plan for your children. With these apps, you will be able to track their device usage, limit the time they spend on these gadgets, and block unsafe apps.

FamilyTime

FamilyTime is an organized app that allows you to customize your gadget control strategy. This app has many features, such as the following:

  • Geofencing where it will send alerts to your mobile phone whenever that particular gadget enters and leaves its control area
  • Location tracking to monitor your child’s whereabouts
  • Internet filters where you can block or limit the time spent of your child on a specific app
  • Call and text monitor where you can check your kid’s current contact list and digital interaction with these people

The only downside with this app is that the free version only offers few features. If you want to access everything, you may opt to pay for its full version. It will cost you $27 for one device per year or $69 for five devices per year.

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McAfee Safe Family

McAfee Safe Family is a useful gadget control app that promotes the digital safety of your children. Below are some of its best features.

  • It lets you manage your child’s screen time by allowing you to arrange a daily time limit on specific applications.
  • It has a “Pause Internet Usage” feature which you can access on your phone. It will let you have the power to impose a digital time-out whenever you think they’ve had enough usage for the time being.
  • It also has a GPS tracker so that you can view your kid’s location in real-time.
  • It also has an app blocker per category or a specific application.
  • It also has an uninstall protection which prohibits your kid from uninstalling the control app in their gadgets.

Web Watcher

Web Watcher is the best app if you are keen on keeping tabs on your child’s messaging activity. It will allow you to check their activities on various apps like Viber, Tiner, Kik, and WhatsApp. You will also have a copy of their phone history, including all deleted files like call logs, texts, web browsing activity, and photos.

Since it is considered invasive spyware, parents have to download Web Watcher outside official app stores.

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Qustodio

Qustodio has the same features as other apps—location tracking, screen time limitations, and messaging tracker. However, what makes this app stand out is its device time limit option and panic button.

Most parent controls only have the ability to restrict certain apps. However, Qustodio can shut off an entire device on specific timeslots or once your child has reached their allowable screen time for the day. At the same time, it also places a panic button on the child’s phone, which can send emergency texts to several pre-determined contacts.

The digital age changes quickly. Hence, there might come a time that your children can bypass these apps through customer service requests, phone resets, or other tricks. Therefore, make sure to continually check up on it every month to ensure that it’s still useful as before.

Warning Signs That Your Child Is A School Bully

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Parents have a tendency to side with their children even if they go against the whole world. It is a parental instinct, and we all know that. No parent would want to see people condemning their child.

Aside from the protective instinct, parents would not readily admit that their child is a bully. But let us all think of what our child would become should this behavior continue. Before we think of the possible remedies for this, let us familiarize ourselves with the warning signs that your child is indeed becoming a school bully.

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Your Child Is Showing Behavioral Issues At Home

Observe if your child has been questioning your authority lately. He or she could be disregarding parental orders or simple chores around the house. Your kid may be hot-headed and easily frustrated all the time. It is mostly a problem with discipline. Ask yourself if you are becoming a little more lenient when it comes to disciplining your child.

Their Friends Act Aggressively

If you notice that your child, together with his friends and other kids, has a habit of making fun of other children in public, then consider it as a warning sign. Does he encourage other kids to do that as well? Do you notice your child insulting other kids even some regard it as “child talk” or “just part of growing up”?

More often than not, his or her friends’ behavior will also mirror your child’s. If you, in any way, cannot stand to judge your child, then take notice of his or her friends. There are only two ways to describe behavior towards other kids. It is either good or bad.

Your Child Seems Disconnected From You

Ask yourself if the home your child is living in is friendly and warm. If there is violence at home, there is a high chance that the kids will become violent as well. The home environment is a significant factor in developing a child’s moral and social skills.

Your child may have a hard time communicating with you. You may notice that he is distant with you, as compared to what you see when he or she is with his or her friends.

 

You Do Not Notice Any Empathy

Notice how your child deals with his or her siblings or even animals. If your kid acts aggressively (grabs toys, kicks pets, or makes siblings cry), then it is a sign that he or she cannot manage his or her emotions correctly. He or she may also manifest this attitude outside the confines of your home.

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Your Child Is Trying Hard To Be Popular

Children often talk about how their day at school went. Take note if your child seems obsessed about being cool and being noticed by many people at school. More often than not, they would brag about how they stood out and even comment on their weak classmates. Take this as a warning sign.

It is hard for parents to admit that their child is bullying other children in school. While this is a normal protective reaction, let us also put ourselves in the shoes of the parents of bullied children. We are our children’s correcting mechanism. Goodness emanates from us, parents, so our kids’ behavior should be our responsibility.

A Therapist’s Guide On Dealing With Your Bully

Bullying is a big problem, especially when you’re in school. They might abuse you physically by kicking, hitting, or pushing, or they might target your emotions by teasing, scaring, or calling names. Whatever method they use, there’s a significant possibility they’ll make you feel scared, hurt, or embarrassed. If you’re in this situation, what do you think is the best way to face this challenge? Here’s a therapists’ guide on dealing with your bullies.

Get A Buddy

Debbie Pincus MS LMHC insists that “Bullying is really just another form of abuse: it’s about kids using power to control other kids, sometimes with the intention to cause harm.” If you want to avoid getting bullied, look for a buddy who can accompany you in your free time. He or she can walk with you on the hallways, and they can also be there on the way to school, during breaks, or the times you usually meet your bully.

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You can also lend a hand to someone getting bullied by being a buddy yourself. Should you experience these bullies hurting your said buddy, you can either stick up for them, ask the help of an adult, or tell the bully to stop.

Be Confident

“Bullies lose their power if you don’t cower. Deep down, they doubt they deserve your respect. They admire you for speaking with self-assurance and confidence. So when they bombard, do not counterpunch. Rather, win them over with your strong, firm, courteous demeanor,” shares Amy Copper Hakim.

So, how do you show your confidence to the other party? Here are the best ways to go about it:

  • Stand tall and do not drop your shoulders
  • Talk to the bully while looking at them straight in the eye
  • Do not show any other unnecessary small movements
  • Smile

Tell An Adult

If you experience bullying in school, make sure to call the attention of both your teacher and parents. In the case of your teacher, he or she can use the specific school protocol for intervening. He or she has the authority to inform the parents of the offenders of what has been happening.

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On the other hand, your parents can also help you with dealing with the bully. In case you’re not comfortable with going straight to the school administrators, they can be the bridge for you to be able to send the message to them. They can also be the ones who will approach the bully’s parents through calling or emailing in a non-confrontational way.

Remember, whenever you report a person or incidence, you have to be specific about the details of what happened for them to be able to act on it appropriately.

Take Martial Arts Lessons

realize that “There is no remorse or “just kidding.” The final hallmark of bullying behavior is the intent and knowledge that they can, and likely will, do it again and can purposely keep people on guard.” Paul Schwartzman, LMHC, MS, DAPA said. As a defense mechanism, you can consider taking Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu, or something similar. This skill will not only give you an advantage during combat, but it’ll also boost your confidence and improve your physique. Bullies like to take on those individuals who they perceive as someone weaker than them. Hence, radiating a battle aura from these martial arts lessons can deter them.

If you’re not comfortable in enrolling in these lessons, you may opt to learn several self-defense moves.

  • Kicking the groin will surprise the person and look embarrassed long enough to plan for a takedown or escape.
  • You may also attack the area below the ribs called solar plexus or kick a knee to make them lose their balance.
  • If the bully is pushing or grabbing you, you may yank one arm using your left hand and strike their elbow with the other. Once they feel dazed, you can then use your other hand to push away the other surrounding arm.

Ignore The Bully

The best way for your bully to stay away from you is for you to ignore them. Pretend that you do not hear them and walk away towards the other direction or to a safer place. Bullies want to receive a grand reaction from their meanness and teasing. Hence, acting as if you do not care about them might just put a stop to their behavior.

Know The Type Of Bully You’re Dealing With

There are various kinds of bullies out there. To be able to know what type of strategy to use, you first have to understand the type of bully you encounter.

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  • Verbal bullies are those who insult you non-stop, make jokes, and call names.
  • Aggressive bullies are those who abuse you physically by kicking, hitting, punching, and pulling your hair.
  • Emotional bullies are those who play with your feelings behind your back. These are the people who spread rumors about you or those who put a “kick me” sign on your back so that others will ridicule you.

According to Aaron Norton, LMHC, LMFT, “The effects of constantly being bullied are more than just psychological. Research now shows that there may be physical structural differences in the brains of adolescents who are regularly victimized, and this could increase the chance that they suffer from mental illness.” Not every suggestion will work for you. Do not lose hope if you try something, but nothing happens. Just stay consistent, and everything will fall into places eventually.

Ways To Keep Family Intact When Teenage Child Has Mood Disorder

Not too long ago, there was news circulating in the neighborhood about a family wherein a 15-year-old girl kicked her mother in the stomach after getting scolded for talking back so much. As if that was not enough, the teenager proceeded to call the police, claiming that the mom was “beating her up.” There were no bruises at all, though, and even her other sisters attested that physical abuse did not happen anytime in their house. When the officers understood that the 15-year-old was undergoing psychological counseling for a mood disorder, they suggested to let the child spend the night at a close relative’s house to let everyone cool down.

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That little stint of the troubled teenager might make her apologetic, but it could have traumatized her siblings already. After all, what kid wants to be questioned by the police in the middle of the night at home? Aside from that, the stress she subjected her mother too and the fact that she called the cops on her was quite hard to forgive. Linda Esposito, LCSW says “Once you redefine the meaning of discipline as a trait of being well-behaved and a tool to develop self-control, the concept becomes more neutral, and less personal.” If you have been doing everything for your children, and that’s what you get in return, anger and resignation might rein in your heart as well.

Nevertheless, considering you are a parent who faces the same issue and you still want to give your troubled kid another chance, there are ways to keep your family intact.

1. Get Psychotherapy Together

The first thing that should be on your agenda is to look for a family counselor. It is not only one child who has mental health issues anymore because of the incident. The other two kids who witnessed what happened may be suffering from trauma too, although it may not be apparent. You perhaps need therapy as well to be able to process the emotions that you cannot express towards your teenager. “Ideally, your teen needs to be part of this process, even when you are the one insisting they participate in therapy,” says Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW.

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When you get family counseling, the therapist will be meeting you as a group. The problem of every person becomes known and solved by all. There will no longer be hidden thoughts or feelings, which tend to expand the rifts between family members. This form of therapy is beneficial regardless of the kids’ ages.

2. Enforce Stricter Rules At Home

The truth about teenagers who can do something as terrible as making false claims about their parent(s) is that they do neither fear nor respect the person they’re putting in jeopardy. There is only a fine line separating the two emotions, you see. If you have high regard for your mom and dad, you will be afraid to do anything that will hurt them deeply. However, the fact that the kid mentioned above can call the police and accuse her of physical abuse entails that the teen may not feel either at all. Dr. Clayton Lessor, Licensed Professional Counselor once said, “the best way to deal with teenage rebellion is (employing) natural consequences.”

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What the child probably needs at this point, though, is to see you enforce stricter rules. You may have been a little lax in the recent years in that department, thinking that it may be best to let your kids figure things out on their own. It is obvious now that it isn’t helpful for the entire family; that’s why you should not hesitate to say what they can or cannot do. For instance, the use of computers and other gadgets should only be allowed during school week for studying. This was also cited one of the articles in FamilyHype. They have to home at a specific time too or follow a bedtime schedule. Otherwise, there’s a punishment in store for every rule broken.

3. Try New Activities As A Family

When you ask a teenager with mood disorder about the family, it is not surprising to hear nothing but complaints. “My sister always gets our parents’ attention.” “I hate my mom for getting me this thing instead of what I want.” “I don’t like how noisy it gets at home.”

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All these words practically mean that the child does not have a lot of great memories with their parents or siblings. They get reminded of the same things, which may be painful for them. Hence, as a part of therapy as well, you should think of new activities that you can try as a family. Say, go snorkeling or rock climbing together. You can also ask the kids what places each of them want to visit. This way, no one will feel left out.

4. Practice Open Communication

Lastly, it seems unrealistic to claim that conflicts between siblings or parents and children will never occur. Your views as an adult may not always be agreeable for the kids, especially if they are teenagers who are starting to know what they want. Despite that, instead of staying quiet about your emotions, you should encourage everyone at home to speak up about whatever they feel about someone or something.

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Opening the communication lines is vital to prevent bottled up emotions from exploding on your faces later. The stress that comes from being unable to voice out real feelings can cause an individual to develop a mental disorder as well. Hence, it matters to let the children know that you will listen if they wish to talk.

Final Thoughts

It will never be too late to repair the wounds caused by the drastic action(s) taken by your troubled kid. You may be as hurt as the teenager feels right now, and that’s understandable. However, it remains as your obligation to help them get better, so that’s what you should do.

Follow the tips above to get started. Good luck!

Parenting Hacks: How Does Setting Gadget Curfews Improve My Child’s Mental Health?

Teenagers, nowadays, are pretty much attached to their phones and other gadgets. They bring it when they travel, to the dining table while eating, and even in the bathroom for some music. For some parents, it might seem okay. However, without proper guidance and limitations, the overuse of gadgets may lead to addiction, and result in other mental health problems. 

Gadget Addiction 

In Australia, a longitudinal study was done to assess the impact of teenagers’ use of gadgets day and night, and its direct effect on mental health. The results concluded that too much mobile phone and gadget use had harmed the user’s mental wellness. Their mental wellness has deteriorated in such a way that self-esteem levels are low, the coping ability is not maximized, lack of sleep affects academic performance and intrapersonal performance, and there are larger tendencies to feel depressed. 

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Signs of the Times: Recognizing Depression in Children and Adolescents

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Seeing the world through the eyes of a child” might seem to imply boundless wonder, joy, and acceptance; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Children of any age have stresses and disappointments in their lives. The particular form these might take will be different from those in an adult’s life, but that does not mean that their experiences are any less valid, nor that the emotions resulting from these are any less real.

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Lessons From Curfew

Living in a generation where the public crudely conveys themselves without any care is very alarming. Young adults wanting to be considered independent as early as 12 years old are an evidence of this. Giving them independence is a good step towards growth. However, being independent does not mean that kids are allowed to do whatever they want whenever we want it. There will always be an issue of morality especially for those who are underage.

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4 Easy Ways To Reward Your Child’s Punctuality

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There’s an old saying: “the carrot and the stick.” Its roots are a bit base, but the gist is teaching someone to abide by the rules shouldn’t be all about punishment or reward; there should be a healthy balance of both based on the failures and successes they’ll encounter along the way. This is especially true with regards to adolescents who have violated the curfew regulation. As you teach them to follow the rules they’ve been given, there are numerous ways you can congratulate them for taking important steps. One such tactic involves rewarding punctuality.

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Why Curfews Matter Today

One of the most important things you can do as a parent of a child or teenager who has been cited for breaking curfew is to help teach them why curfews matter in the first place. Being as they’ve willfully decided to ignore the regulation in the past, it should be clear that they lack crucial awareness on the subject. Yes, it’s true that a spirited act of adolescent rebellion also plays a key factor, but that rebellious overtone can be mended (or at least, redirected!) if your teen has a better grasp of the fundamentals. Curfew is not only for keeping your child from mischief but also as a way of keeping them safe and protected. Read more about young kids getting into serious trouble.

Curfews Matter Because Safety Matters

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Personal safety is the bottom line when it comes to curfew. Your teen may be involved in sports, martial arts, or bodybuilding and hence, they might think they’re impervious to the dangers of the nocturnal world. But even Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan hire bodyguards! Bring this up to them if they object to the idea. It’s probable that if you live in a smaller city or town, they’ll also mention that your family is in a totally safe place. With this, have a few links handy. Show them the area’s criminal history and be prepared to explain why this place is still your home, if and when they fire back.

If your teenager is at least 14, there’s a good chance he’s ready to hear about how and why the whole world can be unsafe and that we all need to take precautions. In which case, iron down the fact that wherever you live, curfew as a concept is necessary. Lastly, be sure to emphasize that your child’s safety is the “end-all, be-all” rationale here. You’re passionate about this, and perhaps more to-the-point, law enforcement officers are supportive because they want everyone to be safe and secure.

Curfews Matter Because Peacekeeping Matters

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Here’s the other side of the coin: law enforcement can’t do its job well when there are roaming kids on every street corner. At night, folks with ill intentions — burglars, vandalizers, you know, bad guys — are more likely to be on the prowl. This is why it always seems like cops are everywhere in the middle of the night, as anyone who has ever worked a third-shift job can attest. Police officers need the roads to be as clear as possible so that they will have proper line-of-sights when the bad guys show up. Imagine if a pack of loud and merry teenagers turned a street corner in bustling Brooklyn at three o’clock in the morning – this would distort visibility for a dedicated officer who’s tracking a convict down that same alleyway. Cops can’t do their jobs under such conditions, which is another reason there’s a push to keep kids safe inside their homes at such hours, especially on weeknights.

Curfews Matter Because Responsibility Matters

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Growing up is a rigorous process. Kids gradually learn about respect, dignity, and self-worth, and they’re rewarded for it. Increasingly, they’ll be granted responsibilities and the privileges that come with it. Trust factors into it all. The trust that a teenager is responsible enough to be allowed out into the world at the so-called “Hour of the Wolf” is a thing that comes with age and repeatedly-proven maturity. The temptations, distractions, and dangers of the city all come alive when the sun goes down, so it’s up to your teen to prove their wisdom time and again until they’re of age. It’s a rite-of-passage, and it’s part of growing up. Someday, they’ll get there, and you can encourage them by reminding them that adolescent curfew is a transient concept. Soon enough, they’ll be trusted to go out and grab that slice of pizza at who-knows-when A.M.