Joining the Party: Do You Monitor You Kid’s Digital Life?
Is your teen daughter head over heels on the Internet again? Are you suspicious about people she is chatting with? Is it your son whose behavior is disturbing as well as his under-eye circles he has after all night online? Well, join the party – you are not the only worried parent out there!
Even though you might feel weird looking through your kid’s browser history or peeking on his phone calls and messages just in case, you should not be ashamed – reports show that most parents are doing the same ensuring their kids are safe and sound online. Reporters have talked with parents of teens (13-17 years old) and made some curious conclusions. A little spoiler here: even though the parental control market has been growing significantly for the past couple years and this process will not be slowing down, the percent of parents making use of the technology is pretty low. Only 39% of parents claim they use various forms of parental control for blocking and tracking kids’ activities on the Internet. About 16% of parents use monitoring apps to track teens’ location as well as to monitor their calls and messages.
It is peculiar that as parents don’t use a lot of monitoring apps (which often have the stealth mode), they are pretty open about restricting and monitoring with their kids – on the contrary, parents are regularly talking to their teen children about their media presence and rules they should follow in order to stay safe. In fact, 95% of parents have talked about an appropriate amount of media to consume, and 36% do this frequently. Considering a great role media is playing in lives of people (and especially the younger generation) it is no surprise that 65% of parents take away the phone and Internet privileges to punish kids.
What do these numbers tell us about parenting today? First of all, it is not getting easier following years. The right tactics are not sneaking and peeking at your teen’s monitor or a smartphone all the time, but having an open and honest dialogue on what the reasons are that parents are worried about spending so much time on the Internet.
Numbers say that 92% of parents have spoken to teens about their online behavior towards others. 95% have been explaining what kind of content is appropriate for posting online. These twos are of the high importance today, considering the number of traps there might be waiting for your kid at any age.
Cyberbullying is becoming widespread all over the world. It can go pretty uncontrollable online. So 59% of parents are worried about what kind of information and pictures their kids are posting, as those are usually used for hounding kids online. Another pitfall is a vast number of predators that are looking for victims on social networking sites and other resources pretending to be someone they are not. With numbers of adults sexually approaching kids and teens online, checking all the people your child have met online does not seem to be as ‘paranoid’ as your kid might say.
Sad but true – those predators might be your teen’s peers as well. With sexting being named ‘just a phase in development, the results of such risky behavior can influence your family’s reputation and safety, and even deprive your child of career opportunities. Both parents and teens should always remember – if something ever goes on the Internet, it will remain there forever.
So, as the bottom line it is worth noting that leaving your kid be is the most careless thing you can do. You are not alone in your anxiety – there are millions of parents from all over the world going through the same feelings. The key to keeping your family safe is talking about real consequences, teaching your kid right behavior online. Moreover, it should better be with your own example.