Internet Safety and Understanding Parental Controls

In a climate where 50% of adolescents feel that they are addicted to their mobile devices, parents need to be kept in the loop regarding child and internet safety online. With ever changing apps, updated websites, new technology and new platforms, this tasks becomes increasingly difficult and has been on the minds of many parents. Kids in these modern times are accessing social media, multiplayer games and YouTube at younger ages than ever. Because of this, it’s imperative that parents are given the correct information to stay on top of their child’s usage and monitor their online activity for their personal safety.

There are many apps and software devices on sale for parental control, such as Torch and NetNanny. The main problem with these is that they’re easily hackable, costly, and difficult to use and comprehend. They are also rather blatant to the child using the device. This means that it could create friction in some relationships in the long-term.

With this in mind, using standard parental controls is a long process. All of the devices and software in the world can’t be the whole solution. Parents need to be present and an active part of their child’s online experience if they want to effectively manage what their child is viewing. The products on sale can only manage a child’s screen time, block inappropriate content, restricted age prohibited websites and try to track frequently visited websites.

Research conducted by Common Sense Media showed that upon answering a poll children, adults, teachers and high profile politicians all feel like they are moderately to severely addicted to their mobile device. A much higher percentage of these people find themselves addicted to technology as a whole. Due to this, Common Sense Media, the nonprofit organization centred around helping families and technology addiction, are going to put more time and emphasis into their work with youth and young people online.

An article written by CNN’s health team focused around this issue gives tips and pointers for managing your child’s time online. They say “Before you begin. Blocking content probably won’t cause too much conflict (if they can’t see it, they’ll eventually forget it). And preventing access to stuff that’s inappropriate is non-negotiable. Turning off the internet without warning, however, is what exasperated parents refer to as “the nuclear option.” Call a family meeting and talk about your goals, concerns, and overall approach as a family: Under what circumstances will you pause the internet? At dinner time? After two warnings? Develop a system so that your kids understand the rules and expectations.” These are some pointers to seriously consider before you purchase any software or put any rules in place with your children.

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