Discussion Guide

Screen Time & Online Monitoring

Monitoring apps can be helpful to learn more about how your child spends their time online, or to set rules about the amount of time they can spend online. While helpful, they can’t prevent your child from encountering risky situations.
illustration of magnifying glass over a phone


Why talking about this is important

Being transparent with your child is one of the best ways you can build trust. Talk to your child about why monitoring apps and screen time are important tools that can help keep them safe. It’s important to remember that monitoring apps should be used as a tool to help support your child, not as a replacement for a conversation with them.

In this guide you will:

  • Talk to your child about why limiting screen time is important to keep them healthy
  • Build trust with your child by having transparent conversations
  • Talk to your child about how monitoring apps protect them

What to expect from your kid

Your child may be comfortable with monitoring apps, but they may also feel like you don’t trust them, or feel annoyed that you have controls on their device. Regardless of what feelings these conversations stir up, role modeling this level of transparency and open communication is essential to your child’s wellbeing.

First steps

How to start talking

While the first conversation should happen when you’re thinking about installing a monitoring app, it’s important to bring your child along in the process. This helps build trust and set up a larger dialogue about concerns regarding online time. Here are some key moments:
  • When they begin using shared devices.
  • They begin talking about wanting their own phone or tablet.
  • When shopping for a phone or tablet.
  • Walk them through the settings and what you’ll be looking at.

How do you feel about me installing a [monitoring app] on your phone/tablet?

Conversation Script

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Related Discussion Guides

Monitoring may play less of a role as your child gets older, but it can help build a foundation for risky situations they may encounter online. Here are some discussion guides to compliment the conversation:

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