Thursday 19 September 2019

This brand new app can help you to manage your family’s online activities

Up until 20 years ago, the biggest concern for many parents was how many hours of television their child was watching.

Nowadays, parents face a whole new dilemma as they try to supervise their kids in a digital age. Even the youngest family members are plugged in and connected across multiple devices.

The challenge now is to limit your child’s screen time, manage the potential risks and protect them from the real-life threats that are out there. One way to do that is Sky Broadband Buddy, a brand new app that’s set to make it easy to review their online behaviour, restrict unwanted sites and keep them safe.

Making the internet safer for your family

According to Sarah Jennings, Marketing Director at Sky, the introduction of Sky Broadband Buddy was designed to satisfy changing parental needs in a fast-moving, digital age.

“The speed at which technology is changing in the market means that your kids are spending more time than ever online,” Sarah explains.

“Kids as young as six and seven are getting smartphones. They just have access to a lot more content and there’s just a much broader range of content out there.”

According to a recent report by Amárach Research, 60pc of Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2009) spend more than four hours a day on their phone. Only 3pc spent an hour or less on their smartphone on an average day.

“More and more kids being online and constantly on a tablet or a phone is interrupting family time at home,” says Sarah. “We wanted to look at how we could put the power back in parents’ hands.”

Easy to set up and use

Sky Broadband Buddy is available to all Sky Broadband customers at no extra cost, whether you have a new or an existing account. This free app can be easily downloaded from Google Play or the App Store and it’s supported on Android and iOS.

It gives more control to parents with a number of clever features that are easy to set up and use.

Use filters to limit what your children can see

Once it’s activated, parents can create a profile for each family member. They can then decide which sites each profile can access, when they can access the internet and the total number of hours they are allocated on a daily basis.

“You can change what your child sees or has access to, depending on the child,” says Sarah. “When you log in and you set up a profile, you select the age group of the child so you can select PG, a 13-year-old or an 18-year-old. The 18-year-old will obviously have much more access to content than a 13-year-old, for example.

“You can restrict dating websites or things that just aren’t appropriate for that age group. From that perspective, closing off that area of the internet to a child means they just don’t see things that are not appropriate for them.”

See what your kids are doing on the internet

The app allows you to see what sites each profile has visited so that creates greater transparency about how your family interacts with the online world.

A recent CyberSafeIreland survey found that 40pc of children between the ages of eight and 10 were speaking to strangers online, with almost half of those surveyed using messaging apps or social media. For younger children, filtering unwanted sites guarantees a risk-free experience when they’re online.

The Amárach Research poll found that 28pc of Generation Z felt that scrutiny from social media made their life more difficult. Peer pressure can often be exasperated in unsupervised online environments.

So, a greater level of parental oversight can set healthy boundaries when they are online and potentially protect them from being exposed to stressful online situations.

Pause the internet  

If you want to enjoy some dedicated family time and get everyone to put down their phones or tablets, you can simply pause the entire family’s internet access at a touch of a button.

“You can just turn it off at dinnertime in the whole house on all devices,” explains Sarah. “Or if you want to watch a movie and to make sure that everyone is present and in the room, you can just pause the internet.”

A recent poll by CensusWide found that children under the age of 14 were spending twice as much time online as they spent talking to their parents. So being able to pause the internet is one way to reclaim family time and initiate more conversations in your home.

Give screen time rewards

In addition to restricting access, parents can use the app to reward good behaviour. For instance, it’s easy to allocate additional internet hours if they do well in an exam or help out around the house. 

Protect them outside the home

By scanning a QR code on your child’s smartphone, Sky Broadband Buddy can even monitor their internet usage on public WiFi networks.

“One of the key features of Sky Broadband Buddy is the ability to control the internet and what your kids are watching outside of the home,” adds Sarah.

“So if your child is at a local café, and is using the WiFi there, you’ll be able to monitor and control what they’re doing.”

There’s also an option to see their location when they leave the house, which can give you peace of mind when they are out with friends. It’s just one more way in which Sky Broadband Buddy can help you to stay connected with your child and ensure that they remain safe and happy when they are connected.

Pause your internet with our new Sky Broadband Buddy app. You can enjoy less screen time, more play time. Visit the Sky Broadband page to find out more.

Sponsored by Sky

Online Editors

Most Read

Independent.ie on Twitter