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As our children are getting older they’re getting to know more of the online world and although they don’t have their own social media accounts yet, I know it’s only a matter of time. Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing out Wing, a new online safety app, aimed at parents and guardians of children aged 9 – 15 years.
In the past we’ve used online safety software on the children’s tablets that blocks certain types of website or stops the children using their devices at certain times. But, we’ve never used anything quite like Wing before!
The AI software within Wing links up with the children’s apps and social media accounts, identifying emotions contained within the content the children are engaging with or sharing. Wing then uses this information to create a unique emotional landscape which clearly displays the highs and lows of the children’s mood over a period of time.
The app assesses the five core emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger and disgust and then each day you get a report showing how many posts your child has exchanged, and the emotional content of those interactions. It gives you a picture of how your child could be feeling whilst using their smartphone or tablet.
Wing looks at your child’s social media activity, so you don’t have to. Wing sends an alert straight away if it spots anything that could be considered a threat to the child’s well being – like cyberbullying, or explicit messages.
You don’t have to worry about breaching your child’s privacy but you also have reassurance, knowing you will alerted quickly if anything is wrong. You can choose how sensitive Wing is to potential threats to make it suit your child – their age and independence.
Will my child know that Wing is installed on their device?
A big part of Wing is helping families have better conversations, and opening up dialogue around many more topics. Because of this, Wing encourages parents to talk to their children about setting up Wing in the first instance and the importance of using the app together as a family.
To set up Wing, you’ll either need your child’s social media login details, or access to their device so it’s a great time to have a discussion with them around online safety and threats they may come across online.
Children should be aware that the app is set up on their phone and that they understands how it works to help them stay safe online. Using Wing like this can help to build trust, helping to protect children while giving them independence too.
What is great about Wing?
Wing checks in on how the children are feeling and gives parents the resources they need to guide the children through difficult situations. Wing gives you guidance on issues that could affect how your child is feeling. These are things like sleep, confidence and relationships. If the app detects any trends in the data, it sends you relevant tips for looking after your child’s emotional wellbeing.
I know that at times it feels like I’m completely winging it when it comes to parenting and I often find it difficult to know how to start important conversations with the children. The prompts within the Wing interface are something that I know I’m going to really appreciate as time goes by and I start having more and more important conversations with the children as they grow up.
Wing knows that despite many social media apps being aimed at children aged 13 and over, many children do still use them. Wing allows parents the discretion to monitor how their children use social media platforms regardless of those age guidelines. I like the fact that Wing aren’t just saying that children should be over a certain age to use social media. Instead they understand some children will be using those platforms and they want to help keep them safe in the process.
What applications does Wing work with?
As well as keeping tabs on social media, Wing also monitors other applications, any browser activities, emails, WhatApp, SMS, images and more. You pair the app with the child’s device – smartphone, tablet or even a desktop computer so it can oversee everything your child is doing.
You can use one Wing account to monitor the activity of all of your children, with each device or social media account linked to the relevant child. The Wing Family Plan covers up to five children and multiple devices. It’s great that you don’t need separate Wing accounts for different children and can switch easily between the children on one dashboard.
It also shows that this app is truly aimed at parents, being able to see all your children’s activity in one place and be notified of any threats in the same interface too without having to log in and out constantly.
There’s no risk from a data perspective with Wing either. The Wing team don’t see any of the messages or conversations that the children are having, and they don’t store any message data either.
How have we found Wing?
Using Wing over the last few weeks on my own social media accounts has really given me a new insight into social media and how much can be read into every message we send or image we share.
Our children having access to social media is something many parents dread but I know that having software like Wing in place will make social media a much less scary prospect for our children and something that we can all navigate together with Wing’s help.
For me, Wing is all about reassurance. I want to know that when our children start using social media that it can be something that has a positive impact on their life, makes them happy and helps them build friendships. I think with Wing’s support it can be just that kind of experience for the children.
Wing doesn’t have any contract length and can be cancelled at any time. It’s just £6.99 a month for a Family Plan after the initial 7 day free trial and is available from the App Store and Google Play. Why not start your own trial and see how Wing works for you?