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Phone Monitoring - 13yo Female(10 Posts)
hello, this is my first ever post, but I am desperately seeking advice.
I am a 24 year old step mum to a 13 year old female. She lives with her mum, step dad and younger brother (5 yo). She spends a lot of time with myself and my partner (her dad, 41) at the weekends and we are always in contact via her smartphone... the dreaded phone
Recently she has said that she is having panic attacks that she thinks are caused by sexual abuse from her ex-step brother (she would've been 6, him 9/10, she says he used to make her touch him - no proof either way so we just encourage her to talk about things that bother her. She went through a spell of scratching herself until it drew blood but would then scream for her mum/dad when blood appeared.
All the while, she has had the dreaded smartphone. It was given to her with the intention of her being about to contact her friends (she lives in a small village) and mainly to be able to contact her dad/mum when at the other houses.
As always, the phone has been used for things such as instagram, snapchat and other apps that have proved harmful such as tellonym and even tinder. On some apps, people have told her to kill herself - she gives as good as she gets though.
We have recently taken it off of her and gone through everything on there and she has videoed her cuts, as if they're some kind of trophy, sent them to friends and taken videos of herself crying etc as well as talking inappropriately with boys/girls etc.
We are wanting some sort of control over the searches she is making, apps being downloaded, access to her apps etc. The main issue for us at the moment I think is snapchat.
As the only adult that is technically minded (work for a tech company), I have ended up responsible for monitoring the online activity. I am also the wannabe cool step mum that is massively concerned for her mental and physical wellbeing, safety and sanity that is stuck in the middle.
Is there any apps (preferably free) that we can download to monitor her snapchat and other apps/usage?
Any advice or guidance is appreciated.
I think you should consider getting her a therapist, this goes beyond phone monitoring.
@TooMinty We are already organising one, we are trying to address the phone issue more than anything right now to aid a bit of mental recovery
Fair enough. In addition to phone monitoring, what about organising activities to do with her instead of phone use? And everyone in the house (including adults) puts their phone downstairs in a basket or drawer at night?
We don’t use an app beyond basic Apple
Parental controls. She can’t install any new apps without parental
Permission. I insist on having all account passwords and go through dd’s phone periodically. In your situation, I would up that to daily.
We also talk about appropriate online behavior. Dd knows that if she encounters someone saying something inappropriate she is supposed to not respond and tell us and that we won’t restrict her activity because of someone else’s behavior. However, if she engages in online fighting or bullying or fails to report someone else to us she will lose phone privileges. I think next year we will need to have a pay as you go dumb phone at the ready so she still has a way to make calls to us because we are getting to the point where a phone is a necessity not a privilege.
Honestly, I'd just take the phone off her completely until she's shown she's mature enough to cope with it.
Thank you for all of your replies. We have always spoken to her about online safety and she is well aware of what is and isn’t appropriate. All of her friends are doing these things on their phones and she thinks it’s unfair that she isn’t allowed to so is doing it in secret. It’s a hard situation, but just want some feedback for my partner. Although I’m only 24, I had a good childhood without technology so not sure how to go about it all!
I would recommend Our Pact - It does cost about $10 per month (I'm in New Zealand) but worth every cent.
It allows you to block specific app's but leave others available and set time restrictions, prevent app's being downloaded, prevent the phone being reset or passwords changed. It has been excellent for us, and whilst my daughter initially hated it, she now just excepts that it is used.
I use parental control with my DDs and IMO it's essential. First, looking also to my DDs friends, it's not like all the parents don't use parental control apps, it's manipulative since reality is different, I think something like half of them use it.
Finding a good safe working parental control has been a struggle for me but at the end I become an expert and I've found a good solution, so if you need some help drop me a message. Is your SD's phone an apple or android one? For apple you should use Family Sharing (it's just by apple and free, but I don't know it very well), for android phone you should use Google Family Link, totally free, mainly working well, but you need to do some little trick to prevent bypassing and a to have a more good control. It would be too long writing all of that here, I should make some tutorial about it since also other parents asked that, I just need to understand the way to do that and some free time, in the meantime I'm here.
Anyway, just the Google Family Link app will let you control/block her apps, if she want install a new one she will need the parents approval, that's an automatic request sent to your device.
Hi @Mary8076 I really appreciate your reply. It is an apple device, I am going to have a look at the family sharing app tonight and see what I can do. I think our main concern at the moment for her is that she seems very impressionable and we don't want her to make any decisions that she may regret further down the line in life! I'll pop you a message later if I get stuck, I hope that's ok
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