The ongoing controversy over keeping an eye on your child’s online activity.
Teenagers are not strangers to controversy; from the recent spurning fast fashion to steering clear of meat in response to climate change. Controversy sparks change. Likewise, debates have always surrounded the idea and the meaning of ‘privacy’. Children and teenagers despise parental control apps because they feel parents are infringing on their privacy. To them, privacy does not mean isolation but wanting ‘space’ to focus on their personal growth and become more independent.
Putting ourselves in their shoes, would we want our parents to keep their watch on every move we make on social media? Probably not. Then why should we monitor our kids’ activity?
As parents, we want the best for our kids, from encouraging them to consume greens at the dinner table, to providing them with the best education. It also includes wanting them to be safe regardless of whether they are online or offline. This does not mean your kids have to keep their smartphones at arm’s length. In this digital age, it’s essential that your kids keep up with what’s new and upcoming. However, the emergence of smartphones has also inevitably created a fence, making it difficult for parents to understand their children.
The Great Wall of Smartphone Culture in Homes
The barrier first came about when children held a smartphone in their hands, with the power to explore the online space and make new connections. This has provided them with the opportunity to deal with a crisis at school on their own instead of seeking their parents’ help. Smartphones also offer a wide range of games and social media platforms that children and teens can keep themselves occupied with. Around 53 percent of children in the US own a smartphone by the age of 11, with online video viewing being their one of the most enjoyable online activities. Furthermore, it can be done in the comfort of their own cozy bedroom.
Parental control apps were not created to build a wall between parents and children. They were supposed to form a bridge between both groups, with parents being able to cross over when the child is in danger. Hence, if parental control apps are used wisely to monitor your kid’s online activities, the positive impacts do outweigh the negative ones.
The moment of truth
In fact, a study highlighted that kids disclosing their personal information online was not associated with a higher incidence of stalking and linked dangers. The study also called attention to the fact that kids that are monitored by their parents are more likely to be disobedient compared to a parent-child relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
The solution, hence, is to always strike a balance. Monitoring your kid’s activities at a discreet distance will often benefit both parties, giving parents a peace of mind and keeping children safe. But how do you ensure that monitoring your kids’ activities at a distance is effective?
Always be available
Incidents that deterred me from speaking to my parents as a child is the fact that they were very busy. As a working parent myself now, I understand that children should never be subjected to the line ‘’I’m busy, don’t disturb me’’ when they approach us with their concerns. Devote your complete attention to address their troubles and avoid multitasking. Showing them that you are always there to lend a listening ear helps to build trust with them.
Parental control apps aim to build rather than burn bridges with your kids. By preventing them from accessing harmful content online, it saves your children from falling into traps set by predators. At the same time, never replace your own physical presence with that of a monitoring software.
planoApp is a parental control app that helps to manage your child’s device use. If you are intending to download such an app, be sure to have an open conversation with them before downloading to establish a climate of trust and respect with your children.