Why using parental controls to keep your child safe online isn’t a bad thing
Introduction to Parental Controls
We are now deep into the age of social technology. All tech we use has been purposed for socializing: gaming consoles have instant messaging, phones are the platform of social media, TVs are online now, you can even access sites like Twitter from some fridges! About ninety-two percent of two-year-olds have an online presence, making being online inevitable and unavoidable.
Most parents I know have been adamant that they’re not giving their kid a smartphone until they’re 12 or so, but this has come from those who only have toddlers or newborns. The rest of us know how futile and silly this is – I always want to point out to them that their parents didn’t deny them the latest game console or PC when they were kids, so why should they be the ones to blacklist tech from their children? It’s detrimental for children to have no access to something literally everyone else in the world uses. If you don’t let them run about and fall over and learn things, how will they be a well-rounded individual later in life? As with real life stuff, children can be looked after online as well with Parental Control.
Parental Controls: What’s and Why’s
Parental controls are exactly what they sound like: they’re settings that help you filter and restrict what your child can access online, on TV, and when playing video games. Some parents I’ve spoken to about parental controls don’t feel comfortable using them because they don’t want to be seen as being helicopter parents. When I hear this, I always point out the “You must be this tall to ride” rules for fairground rides. You wouldn’t ignore them and throw your small child on a ride meant for grown-ups, would you? They always answer the same way – “Of course not!” So then, why wouldn’t you impose the same type of rules for the content your children have access to?
Adult content shouldn’t be accessed by children until they’re old enough to deal with, and understand, it. While the online world is great, it’s also dangerous for unsupervised children. They’re open to dangers such as cyberbullying, sexual extortion and online predators. Parental controls are like baby gates – you won’t need them forever, but you do need them when your child is vulnerable.
Parental Control Tips
That being said, here are some general tips for using parental controls.
Talk to your kid about parental controls.
This is, arguably, the most important thing you need to do when using parental controls. If a child doesn’t know why they have to follow all these rules and restrictions, chances are they’re going to find ways to bypass them simply out of curiosity and a bit of kid rebellion. Sit them down and talk to them about online dangers, what is and isn’t appropriate for them, and why you’ve put these restrictions in place. An open and honest dialogue with your child will help them protect themselves in tandem with your parental controls.
Agree on a set of rules.
Workshop your rules with them until you both have something you can agree on. This way, your kid is more likely to follow rules that they’ve come up with.
Give your kid more responsibility as they get older.
As your kid matures and becomes more experienced with the world, more of it becomes open to them. So, your use of parental controls should reflect that. It can be something simple like allowing them to watch more adult-oriented content, or something big like their first social media profile. Always match your rules with their maturity. Remember, the same thing won’t work for a tween that worked for your young child.
Conclusion -Parental controls to keep your child safe online
Parental controls aren’t a parent’s enemy, and they’re not a means to be an authoritarian parent. They’re there to help keep your child safe. You should definitely be using them if your child has any sort of online presence.
About the Author – Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson – Cyber Safety Consultant,KidGuard. Just a neighborhood mom (and coincidentally a Cyber Safety Consultant) passionate about child and teen online safety. I’m a firm believer of building a loving and trusting relationship between parent and child through open dialogue and education.
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