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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

As a parent, keeping your child safe is one of your most important jobs. Today parents must be aware of not only physical dangers in the world but digital ones as well.

Parents in today's digital era walk a thin line between what constitutes prying and protection when their children are on the internet.

Zift (iOS, Android) is a parental control app and screen time monitor that wants to help parents keep their kids safe online.

SEE: 'Bark' internet safety app uses AI to help parents protect kids from bullies, predators, and more

Zift lets you know what your child is searching on the internet and gives you the ability to filter what they can look for. If your child is attempting to view inappropriate content, you'll get an alert on your phone. In addition, parents will get alerts for every app their child installs.

Parents can keep track of their children in the Family Feed. The dashboard shows how your kids are using their smartphones in real-time: what they're searching for, what apps they're installing, and more.

The app also lets parents set limits for how long a child can use their devices. Similar to the digital wellness tools that social media apps are adding, Zift creates a graph of your child's daily screen time. You can pause internet access or your child's smartphone.

If your child is out of the house, you can keep tabs on their location with the GPS feature.

"With Zift you'll have the visibility to track in real-time, the screen time activity of each child in your family," the app's description said.

If your child is headed into dangerous territory online or has spent too much time on social media, you can easily and remotely pause their device.

To use Zift, parents must install the Z Child app (iOS, Android) on their child's smartphone. Parents can use the free version of Zift or subscribe to Zift Premium for $5 per month.

Zift Premium includes the feature from the free version but adds an extra layer of protection with filter tools.

Zift co-founder David Savage told Download.com that Zift's innovative AI-based content filter sets the app apart from other parental control programs.

"Zift Premium, our paid subscription app, gives parents the ability to block apps and filter online content, including ever-increasing user-generated content at the page level, in 14 differentCategories," Savage said. "This is a much better filtering feature for families than those apps using URL blacklist solutions, which is more common."

Premium also gives parents the option to block certain apps for download.One of Zift's goals is to better educate parents and kids about safety practices online. In addition to monitoring tools, the app includes a Parents Portal. In the Portal, other Zift parents talk about trending apps and their experiences navigating the internet with their kids.

"[In] the Zift Parent Portal, we empower the parent to decide how to implementtheir own values when it comes to monitoring and managing their child's digital life," Savage said.

Parents can also read through blogs with helpful tips and conversation starters.

"Parenting is a tough job. Zift exists to help parents with the challenges that come withwhat we call 'screen time parenting,'" Savage said. "These challenges include: how much is too much screen time, how is social media best utilized, and how to keep children safe and protected while on the Internet."

According to Savage, Zift is the perfect app for parents to set rules about online behavior, help their kids become good digital citizens, open a dialogue about the internet, and learn to unplug as a family.

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Z Child, companion app to Zift. (Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

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Takeaways

  1. Zift lets you know what your child is searching on the internet, limit their screen time, and block certain webpage content or apps.
  2. If your child is looking up inappropriate content or exceeding their screen time, you can remotely pause their device.

Also see

Parenting in a digital age: How screen time affects children and what to do about it (TechRepublic)

Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.