Parenting Controls: What Do Influential Bloggers Think about Them?
Living in the digital world offers many solutions. We now have the tools and gadgets for everything including parenting. At this time, we can not only call our kids and ask where they are, but to install an app and to be aware of that all the time. Now we can not only tell our kids what programs not to watch, sites not to visit and content not to Google, but also to block all of the inappropriate material making sure they won’t see it.
Parenting controls have become very popular recently. As of today, around 50 percent of parents use this or that monitoring feature for their kids’ devices. Naturally, there are advocates of such parenting measures, who say that monitoring helps them protect their kids from online dangers; and people who are against them saying that you should not invade a kid’s privacy like that. I’ve decided to ask some competent people’s opinion – parenting bloggers, who are widely read and trusted by thousands of parents. Let’s see what they have to say.
Amy from Selfish Mom:
I’m not crazy about most parental controls. I think they’re great for when kids are younger and don’t even know what they’re supposed to stay away from. But as kids get older, I think the reins need to be loosened so that kids can figure out what’s OK. When my kids were younger I would check in on which websites they’d visited. Now that they’re older, I have the passwords to their phones and accounts and they know that I can check in any time, but it’s not something that I do regularly. I talk to them a lot and I keep reminding them that being online is a privilege – one that can be taken away if they abuse it.
I totally understand why parents want to monitor everything their kids do. But not only is that an undue burden on the parents’ time, it doesn’t prepare kids for when they have to navigate this stuff on their own. Be near them, don’t be on top of them. Behaving appropriately online is an extension of behaving appropriately in the real world. Teach your children to be good people, and give them the tools to extend that goodness online. The bottom line is that kids are smart, and will always figure out ways to get around controls you put on them. Give them ownership and responsibility for what they do online, and look for changes in behavior that might indicate that something is wrong. Then check in and take action if necessary.
Jennifer from The Blogges:
I’m a fan of parental controls for young kids. My daughter is 11 and she has separate accounts for netflix and the internet and such that are for kids only. I’m sure there are ways around them but anything I can do to keep her a kid is good for me. When she’s a teenager I’ll probably have to reevaluate but for now, I rely on parental controls whenever they’re available.
Leah from Mamavation:
It’s important to know what your children are doing as long as they are in your home. I think apps that monitor their online usage are a great idea.
Becky from Your Modern Family:
I think that as parents, our job is to teach our children. Monitoring what they do is part of teaching them and guiding them. It is our job to keep them safe and this is simply one part of that job. I monitor what our children do on electronics constantly.
Jo from Slummy Single Mummy:
…to be totally honest I’m really slack when it comes to parental controls like this! It might be because my children are older – 14 and 21 now – or it could be laziness! Belle is pretty good at self-regulating, as she is very sensitive and wouldn’t do anything naughty! One thing you could say…
I like to think that it comes down to more basic parenting, and engendering trust, honesty and openness of communication. I could read my daughter’s texts, (although she is 14 now), but I don’t, because I have to trust that I have brought her up to be sensible and responsible, and that our relationship is such that she would come to me with any issues. I worry that parenting control apps make it difficult for children to feel trusted, and that this might mean that they are more likely to want to hide things. I know that we have to protect children as much as we can, but ultimately the important thing is to equip them with the skills to be able to manage their own lives.
Scarlet from Family Focus Blog:
I think parental controls are important and good. There is a balance to strike between privacy and safety but I find that so far (my daughter is only 11) it is easy to do. I have Bark set up so I don’t have to do a ton of reading and checking. They just notify me if there is anything suspicious. Communication is key though and parental controls don’t replace having conversations about safety and keeping the door open for discussion when either side has concerns.
As you see, opinions differ, but all of the bloggers seem to agree that if you use parental controls, you should also communicate with your kids, explain why you monitor their online activity and warn them about the possible dangers.