- Kid's Digital Life
How to Keep Parental Controls From Ruining Your Kids Life
Parental Controls Are Not Always The Solution But The Problem
Kids hate parental controls, parents love them and security companies like scaring parents into using them. In theory, the more tracking, spying and time restrictions you can make the better.
I read a parenting blog the other day referencing a new parental control solution they were testing which read “the more my kids hate it, the better. It means it’s working!” The person who said this doesn’t matter but the repercussions behind the statement do. A child’s user experience and personal feelings toward using parental controls to spy and control them are equally as important as a parent’s need to use them.
You’re probably thinking “who cares what they think” I’m the parent, I decide” or “I’m the one paying for their mobile service, so I make the rules” “I’m doing what needs to be done to protect them” this is all true to a certain extent, but is it fair? And more importantly why is it that some parents don’t care that it’s not fair?
Keeping kid’s safe is important. No one is arguing this fact, the problem is many parents have a tendency to overuse, abuse and count on the system to do their parenting for them which undermines a child’s capacity to:
- Make good decisions
- Feel and be trusted
- Be independent
- Learn from experience
- And feel comfortable coming to you when weird stuff comes across their plate.
Kid’s Have A Voice
(Plus, Good Reason To Hate Parental Controls)
Check out Common Sense Media Q&A on “How can I monitor my child without being invasive”, their platform allows kids to write in and give feedback. See what kids are saying here. Their comments are powerful and give great insight into their level of understanding and desire to be trusted.
This is serious and sad if you think about it because while we fill our parental heads with the feeling of power and control for the “greater good” we’re making our kids miserable and adding conflicts that perhaps could have been avoided with simple conversations about safety and responsibility.
We have to take the time to listen to our kids and let them know we hear and value what they think too.
Safety is Important
Again I want to reinforce that protecting kids online and helping them create healthy digital habits is important, what is less effective is one-sided conversations where fear, mistrust and sometimes “Because I said so” attitudes make this part of learning harder than it should be for both parents and kids.
Kids don’t want to be talked at, they want to be talked to.
The moral of the story
Going back to the statement from the mom blogger “…it means it’s working!” sure the restrictions you set up work, yes you can now see your 14-year old’s private post, messages and so on, but to what end?
It is my opinion, that if your child, in general, is a good responsible kid with reasonably nice friends, good grades etc.… there is no reason to invade their privacy,inflict your fears and take such a drastic approach into their digital lives.
The next time you feel the urge to set up crazy unrealistic rules or spy, think long and hard about why you’re doing it and ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Is it worth making your good kid feel helpless, resentful and unworthy of trust?
As I always say, there are other more reasonable ways to protect without making kids hate us in the process!