Parental Control Setup on Student Devices: What Parents & Educators Need to Know

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Parental Control Setup on Student Devices: What Parents & Educators Need to Know

August 18, 2021

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While settings and parental control apps can't replace the positive involvement from parents and trusted adults, many devices and apps help parents keep students safer on their smart devices.

How smartphones can make students feel

  • Stressed
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

There are also many safety concerns, including:

  • Predators
  • Online bullying
  • Dangerous behaviors (for example, viral challenge videos)

Make sure to also always closely monitor and turn on safety features for each app they download.

Start with a social media & cell phone agreement

Why should your family sign a social media & cell phone agreement?

  • Keep your family safe
  • Help maintain an open line of communication
  • Ensure that your students know they can always come to you if they encounter an uncomfortable situation
  • Teach your family how to use their smartphone as a tool to build a positive online reputation
  • Take the SmartSocial Social Media & Cell Phone Agreement Course here

Should parents use control software?

  • It can be tough for parents to keep up with changes to the social media landscape
  • There are many great educational tools and tracking control software that can help give parents peace of mind, but you still need to monitor activity
  • The SmartSocial team has done the research for you. Find our recommendations here: https://smartsocial.com/parental-control-software/

In this resource, learn how to

  • How to set up iPhone/Apple smart device settings
  • How to set up Android/Google Family Link parental controls
  • Manage your student's account on a Chromebook
  • Set up parental controls on Amazon tablets

Login or join theSmartSocial.com membership to read more about the dangers of smart devices for your students safety setting tips.

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

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What parents & educators need to know

How smartphones can make students feel

  • Stressed
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

There are also many safety concerns, including:

  • Predators
  • Online bullying
  • Dangerous behaviors (for example, viral challenge videos)

In this course, I will teach you 10 steps to safely set up your student’s iPhone (using pre-installed Apple tools) to prevent many of these dangers

Make sure to also always closely monitor and turn on safety features for each app they download.

Should I also use parental control software?

  • It can be tough for parents to keep up with changes to the social media landscape
  • There are many great educational tools and tracking control software that can help give parents peace of mind, but you still need to monitor activity
  • The SmartSocial team has done the research for you. Find our recommendations here: https://smartsocial.com/parental-control-software/

iPhone parental control guide

Step 1: Turn on Screen Time

  • Allows you to you block or limit apps
  • Lets parents control your student's contacts
  • Gives you an idea of how your student is using the phone
  • Stops them from making changes to the settings
  • Prevents access to mature content
  • Limits time using device and particular apps

How?

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Screen Time.
  • Tap "This is My Child's iPhone"
  • Follow the prompts and then create a pass code.
  • This is a code (different from the code on YOUR phone) you set so kids can't change the settings. Remember to write down the passcode in a safe place and don't share it with your kids

Step 2: Set up "Ask to Buy"

  • "Ask to Buy" allows parents to approve or deny purchases even when you're not with your student
  • By default, users under 13 have to ask to buy or download if they're part of Family Sharing. Parents have the option to set up "Ask to Buy" for kids under 18

How?

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap your Apple ID
  • Tap Family Sharing
  • Tap your kid's name
  • Tap Ask to Buy

Step 3:  Set up Downtime

  • Stops device use during a set block of time
  • Downtime is best used for a regular span of time, but you can adjust that chunk of time on various days. It's probably most easily applied to bedtime

How?

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Screen Time, then tap your child’s name
  • Tap Turn on Screen Time and Continue
  • Set a start and end time for Downtime. Your kid will get a reminder five minute before Downtime starts

Step 4: Set app limits

  • Lets you control time limits on particular apps on certain days.
  • For example, if your kid spends lots of time on Instagram, you can give her 30 minutes Monday through Friday and one hour on the weekends

How?

  • Tap App Limits
  • Tap Add Limit
  • Tap the circle next to the app categories you want to limit, or tap All Apps & Categories
  • For a specific app, tap a category to access a drop-down menu of specific apps and websites that fall into that category
  • Tap Next
  • Set a time, and Customize Days will appear
  • 7. Tap Customize Days to set specific limits for certain days
  • 8. Tap the name of the category or app to go back one page
  • 9. Toggle on Block at End of Limit if you're setting up Screen Time on your kid's device

Step 5: Set up "Always Allowed"

  • This setting alllows you to you choose specific, approved apps your kid can access any time
  • If your kid uses music or a meditation app to help them go to sleep, you can allow those apps - and only those apps - even during Downtime

How?

  • In Screen Time, tap Always Allowed
  • Tap the plus or minus sign next to the apps you want your kids to be able to access during Downtime

Step 6: Use Communication Limits

  • Lets you control your kid's contacts list, set up who can contact them during Downtime, and prevent them from making changes
  • This won’t prevent them from friending people on social media apps, but it will limit the people they can communicate with via phone Message, AirDrop, and FaceTime

How?

  • Tap Communication Limits
  • Toggle on Manage Contacts
  • Toggle off Allow Contact Editing if you don't want your kid to make changes
  • Tap During Allowed Screen Time
  • Select Allowed Communication from Everyone or Contacts Only
  • Tap Allow Introductions in Groups if you want to be able to add contacts or family members to group conversations
  • Tap During Downtime
  • Tap Specific Contacts to limit who your kid can call during Downtime
  • Tap Add Contacts
  • Tap Choose From Your Contacts and make selections

Step 7: Set Content & Privacy Restrictions

  • Parents have the ability to adjust ratings on content like movies and books and restrict access to certain websites
  • It won't prevent your students from ever seeing or hearing anything objectionable, but it will limit their direct access on their own devices

How?

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  • Tap Content Restrictions
  • Choose your settings for the level of mature content your kid can see in music, movies, apps, and more
  • Tap Web Content to choose settings limiting access to adult websites or to create a list of websites you'll allow
  • Tap on Web Search Content and Explicit Language to control the search results Siri delivers
  • Tap Multiplayer Games if you want to control access to them

Step 8: Set up Location Services and use the Find My app

  • Helps you keep track of your student's location
  • You can see where the devices are

How?

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  • Tap Location Services and make sure it's toggled on (green)
  • Tap Share My Location and toggle it on if you want to see your kid's location
  • Tap Don't Allow Changes if you don't want your kid to be able to change these settings
  • Tap other app titles to control whether or not those apps can access your kid's location
  • Go back to the home screen
  • Tap the Find My app
  • Tap Allow While Using App
  • Tap People or Devices to see their locations

Step 9: Change the setting for Passcode Changes

  • Prevents students from changing overall access to the device
  • Even with the remote controls Screen Time gives you, you still want to be able to access their devices
  • If you want to maintain a shared passcode, this will make sure they can't change it

How?

  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions (toggle on)
  • Scroll down to Allow Changes
  • Tap Passcode Changes
  • Tap Don't Allow
  • Explore the other settings to see if there are other settings you want to lock

Step 10: Use Share Across Devices

  • Can be a great way to use the time tracking Screen Time offers
  • Help you check in with your family every week to talk about how everyone is using their devices and the goals you hope to reach together

How?

  • Tap on Screen Time
  • Toggle on Share Across Devices

Things to keep in mind--iPhones

  • Look for anything unusual or inconsistent with what you see on your child’s weekly Screen Time report
  • Know that Downtime won't shut off your child’s device at night
  • Don’t rely on these settings alone to keep your children safe on their iPhone. You must also regularly monitor what they’re doing in each app

Android/Google Family Link parental control guide

Helpful Google Family Link Parental Controls links

Use this handy guide from Bark.us

https://www.bark.us/guides/app-management-google-family-link

Find Your device's version of Android

To ensure that you’re following the right set of directions, you’ll first want to check the version of Android your device is running. If it’s not current, you may have the option to update. It’s best to update whenever possible to ensure you have access to all the latest features.

  1. From the home screen, press the Settings button.
  2. Scroll down and select About Phone or About Tablet.
  3. Scroll down to Android Version. The number under this heading is the version of Android running on your device (i.e. 8.0).

How to set up Family Link on a smartphone

  1. Start by downloading the Family Link app onto your own device (Android or iPhone).
  2. If your child already has an account, Family Link will walk you through linking you and your child’s account. As part of that process, your child may also need to download the Family Link Child/Teen app on their phone to complete the process of linking the accounts.
  3. If your child does not already have a Google account (or Gmail), you can also create a Google Account for your child so that you can use Family Link. Visit accounts.google.com/signup/ to create a new account. You can also use Family Link to create a Google Account for any child under 13.
  4. Once complete, children can sign-in to their device with the new account.
  5. Once the accounts are linked, use Family Link to set digital ground rules for your family.

How to block or unblock an app

On the Family Link App

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Apps installed card.
  4. Tap More.
  5. Tap the name of the app you want to allow or block.
  6. Turn Allow app on or off.

On Family Link on the Web

  1. Go to Family Link on the web.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Click Android apps.
  4. Turn the app on or off.

How to require your approval for new apps on Google Play

On a Computer

  1. On your computer, visit the Google Play My Account page.
  2. Click Family Group.
  3. Click a family member's name.
  4. Select All content, All paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

On an Android

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Play Store app.
  2. Tap Menu.
  3. Tap Account.
  4. Tap Family.
  5. Tap Manage family members.
  6. Tap a family member's name.
  7. Tap Purchase approvals.
  8. Select All content, Only paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

On an iPhone or iPad

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, visit the Google Play My Account page.
  2. Find the Family Group section.
  3. Tap a family member's name.
  4. Select All content, All paid content, Only in-app purchases, or No approval required.

How to prevent your student from downloading mature apps

You can set up parental controls to restrict the content your student can download or purchase from Google Play.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Settings card.
  4. Tap Manage.
  5. Tap Controls on Google Play.
  6. Under Content restrictions, choose your filters:
  • Apps, Games, Movies, and TV: Choose the highest maturity level of content you want to allow for download or purchase.
  • Music and Books: Choose whether you want to restrict downloads or purchases of explicit content.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to choose permissions or a certain app

If your student uses multiple devices, repeat these steps to choose their permissions for each device.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Apps installed card.
  4. Tap More.
  5. Find the Allowed list.
  6. Tap the app you want to change your child's permissions for.
  7. Tap App permissions.
  8. Switch the permission on or off.

How to change a permission across multiple apps

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Device card.
  4. Tap Settings.
  5. Tap App permissions.
  6. Tap a permission.
  7. Below your student's device, switch the permission on or off.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your student's name at families.google.com.

How to prevent your student from changing their own app permissions

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Device card.
  4. Tap View settings.
  5. Tap App permissions.
  6. Tap a permission.
  7. Select Only parents or Your child and parents.

If you select "Only parents," your child won't be able to give that permission for any new or existing app. However, it doesn't change permissions that have already been granted.


Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at
families.google.com.

How to see your student's app activity

You can see how much time your child spent using apps on their Android devices or Chromebooks. Time is tracked when the app is open and shown on the screen, but not when the app is working in the background.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the App activity card.
  4. Tap Set up.
  5. After you turn on App Activity, you'll see your child's app activity in a few hours.

How to manage your student's screen time

When you set a limit for your student's screen time on their Android device or Chromebook, they'll get a notification when:

  • Screen time is set for the first time (Android devices only)
  • Their device is about to be locked

When the device is locked, your student:

  • Can't see notifications
  • Can't unlock the device or use any apps
  • Can answer phone calls, and tap Emergency to make a call if the device has a calling plan (Android phones only)
  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Daily limit card.
  4. Tap Set up or Edit limits.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to set daily limits.

Note: Daily limits apply to each Android device or Chromebook your child uses. For example, if you set a daily limit of 2 hours, your child would get 2 hours of time on each device. You can also stop the internet on your child's device at any time.

How to set time limits for individual apps

If your student's Android device is running Android Nougat or newer, you can set time limits on apps to manage how much time your child can spend on a specific app each day.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Today's activity" card, tap Set limits.
  4. Next to your desired app, tap Set limit.
  5. Set a daily time limit for the app.
  6. Tap Set.

Tip:

  • Time limits will apply to apps installed on all of your child's devices.
  • System apps aren't supported by the app limit functionality. Limits can only be set for Android N+ devices.


How to set a bedtime on your student's phone

  1. Open the Family Link app
  2. Select your child
  3. Find the Bedtime card
  4. Tap Edit schedule
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to set a bedtime

How to lock or unlock your student's device

  1. Open the Family Link app
  2. Select your child
  3. On the card for one of your child's Android devices, tap Lock now or Unlock

Note: You can also use a parent access code to unlock your child's Android device if it isn't connected to the Internet

How to see where your student's Android device is

  1. Open the Family Link app
  2. Select your child
  3. Find the Location card
  4. Tap Set Up
  5. Turn on the settings required to see your child's location
  6. Tap Turn on (Note: It might take up to 30 minutes to see your child's device location.)

How to change your student's location settings

  1. Open the Family Link app
  2. Select your child
  3. Tap Manage Settings
  4. Tap Location
  5. Turn See your child's location on or off

How to set up Family Link on Chromebook

  1. Add your child’s Google Account to the Chromebook.
  2. If you're signed in to your Chromebook, sign out.
  3. On the bottom, click Add person.
  4. Enter the Google Account email address and password.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Follow the steps that appear.

How to manage your student's browsing on Chrome

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Settings card.
  4. Tap Manage settings.
  5. Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  6. Choose the setting that’s right for your family:

  7. Allow all sites: Your child will be able to visit all sites, except the ones you block.
  8. Try to block mature sites: No filter is perfect, but this should help hide sexually explicit and violent sites.
  9. Only allow certain sites: Your child will only be able to visit the sites you allow.
  10. Tap Manage sites to manually allow or block certain sites.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to block or allow certain sites

If you block a certain site, your student can ask for parental permission to visit it. You'll get a notification in the Family Link app where you can approve or deny their request.

  • Websites: If you block or allow a specific website, like www.google.com, the permission won't apply to sites that begin or end differently, like www.google.co.uk or get.google.com/tips
  • Domains: If you block or allow an entire domain, like google, the permission applies to sites that begin or end differently too, like google.com, and images.google.fr

Block or allow a site

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Settings card.
  4. Tap Manage settings.
  5. Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  6. Tap Manage sites.
  7. Tap Approved or Blocked.
  8. In the bottom right corner, tap Create.
  9. Add a website or domain.
  10. In the top left, tap Close.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

How to change website permission settings

You can decide whether your child can give site permissions to websites they visit, including permission to use location, camera, and notifications.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. Find the Settings card.
  4. Tap Manage settings.
  5. Tap Filters on Google Chrome.
  6. Tap Chrome dashboard.
  7. Turn Permissions for sites and apps on or off.

Note: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name on the Chrome dashboard. When "Permissions for sites and apps" is off, children won’t be able to grant permissions to websites. However, permissions they have already granted will still be in place.

Manage your student's account on Chromebook

When you use Family Link to manage your student's Google account, you can let them sign in to some Google services on their Chromebook. You can also use the Family Link app to choose what websites your child can access using Chrome, supervise your student's app usage, and more.

System requirements

Family Link can be used with Chromebooks with Chrome OS versions 71 or higher. Learn more about how to update your Chromebook’s operating system.

How Chromebooks work with your child’s Google Account

Children signed in to their Google Account on a Chromebook have a similar experience to adults. Features may be updated from time to time, but some differences include:

Important: For school accounts and school-issued Chromebooks, G Suite for Education administrators determine which Google services their users can access while signed into a G Suite for Education account. This may include some features or services that your child was previously unable to access using the Family Link supervised account. Learn how to add a school account as a secondary account.

Add your student's Google Account

To a new or factory reset Chromebook

  1. Set up the Chromebook.
  2. Add your child’s Google Account to the Chromebook.

Important: After your student is signed in to their Chromebook, a parent’s password is required to add new users.

A Chromebook that’s already set up

  1. Add your child’s Google Account to the Chromebook.
  2. Important: If you’ve added supervision to your child’s existing Google Account, they’ll need to restart the Chromebook to finish adding supervision and regain access to some Google services.
  3. Recommended: If you (the parent) are the Chromebook’s owner account, disable guest mode and control who can sign in to your child's Chromebook. If you allow guest mode or the addition of new users your child may be able to use their Chromebook without Family Link settings applying.

How to remove your student's Google Account

  1. On the Chromebook sign-in screen, select the profile you want to remove.
  2. Next to the profile name, select the Down arrow
  3. Select Remove this user
  4. In the box that appears, select Remove this user

Important: If you delete your child's account before you remove the profile from the Chromebook, you may have to reset your Chromebook to factory settings. To reset, press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + r.

Manage your child’s experience on a Chromebook

Choose what apps your they can use

You can choose what apps they can use on their Chromebook and what permissions your child provides to those apps.

Manage your child's browsing on Chrome

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your child.
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings > Filters on Google Chrome.
  4. Choose the setting that’s right for your family and tap Manage sites to manually allow or block certain sites.
  • Allow all sites: Your child will be able to visit all sites, except the ones you block
  • Try to block mature sites: No filter is perfect, but this should help hide sexually explicit and violent sites
  • Only allow certain sites: Your child will only be able to visit the sites you allow

Tip: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

Block or allow certain sites

If you block a certain site, your child can ask for parental permission to visit it. You'll get a notification in the Family Link app where you can approve or deny their request.

  • Websites: If you block or allow a specific website, like www.google.com, the permission won't apply to sites that begin or end differently, like www.google.co.uk or get.google.com/tips.
  • Domains: If you block or allow an entire domain, like google, the permission applies to sites that begin or end differently too, like google.com, and images.google.fr.

Block or allow a site

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your student.
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings >  Filters on Google Chrome > Manage sites > Approved or Blocked.
  4. In the bottom right corner, tap Create.
  5. Add a website or domain.
  6. In the top left, tap Close.

Tip: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name at families.google.com.

Change website permission settings

You can decide whether your child can give site permissions to websites they visit, including permission to use location, camera, and notifications.

  1. Open the Family Link app.
  2. Select your student.
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings > Filters on Google Chrome > Chrome dashboard.
  4. Turn "Permissions for sites and apps" on or off.

Tip: You can also manage this setting by clicking on your child's name on the Chrome dashboard.

When "Permissions for sites and apps" is off, children won’t be able to grant permissions to websites. However, permissions they have already granted will still be in place.

Prevent changes to family settings

You can use a parent access code to prevent your child from removing supervision without your consent.

See or delete your student's Chrome history

See Chrome history

Important: If you added supervision to your child’s previously existing Google Account, you’ll need their help to do this.

  1. On your child's Chromebook, open Chrome.
  2. In the top right, select More > History. This page shows your child's recent Chrome history.

Clear Chrome history & data

Browsing history

  1. Open the Family Link app
  2. Select your child
  3. On the "Settings" card, tap Manage settings >  Filters on Google Chrome > Chrome dashboard.
  4. In the "History" section, tap Clear history.

Tip: Your child's Google Account might have other kinds of browsing history saved at myactivity.google.com.

Browsing data

You can clear your student's browsing data, like cookies, saved passwords, and autofill form data.

If you sync a type of data, deleting it on your computer will delete it everywhere it's synced. It'll be removed from other devices and your Google Account.

Important: If you added supervision to your student's previously existing Google Account, you’ll need their help to do this.

  1. On your child's Chromebook, open Chrome
  2. At the top right, click More
  3. Click More tools > Clear browsing data.
  4. Choose a time range, like last hour or all time.
  5. Select the types of info you want to remove.
  6. Click Clear data.

Source: https://support.google.com/families/answer/7680868?hl=en

How to set up parental controls on Amazon tablets

Amazon FreeTime parental controls let you choose what content your child sees, create educational goals, and set time limits by activity.

To get started, tap on the FreeTime app, select the profile for the child you would like to set limits for and choose “Set Daily Goals & Time Limits.” Tap the toggle to enable settings for your child.

Setting up Child Profiles

Child profiles allow each kid in your household to have a customized Amazon Kids+ experience.

What can Kids+ do? (According to Amazon)

  • Establish a bedtime
  • Set time limits
  • Create goals
  • Use Smart Filters

Managing content

Although there are thousands of books, apps, TV shows and movies within Amazon Kids+, each profile is customizable to add or remove content for a hand-crafted experience for each child.

What can be managed:

  • Set language preferences
  • Share titles you've purchased to your child's profile
  • Remove subscription content from your child's profile
  • Fire on the go
  • Amazon Kids web browser

More parental control and student device resources

Conclusion

Device and app settings can never replace good communication between parents and trusted adults. While these recommended settings can help student stay safer online, parents and educators can help students learn the dangers online and how to make good decisions and build positive habits online.

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Free Parent Night: 25+ Dangers On
TikTok,  Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Netflix, YouTube & More (Multiple Dates).

Join Josh for a presentation that will teach you the hidden safety features of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Discord, Fortnite, Twitch & more! (Register Here)

Register For Our Free Parent Event
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Parent Event: 25+ Dangers on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Fornite, Netflix & YouTube by Josh Ochs SmartSocial.com