Every parent faces a difficult balancing act when it comes to allowing freedom and decision making, while also being rightly concerned about their child’s safety. It is difficult not to become that stereotypical overbearing parent. This is where parental control software can help mediate.
We all want our children to grow into responsible adults, able to make judgements and to assess situations on their own. To accomplish this, a certain level of freedom needs to be granted in order to allow them to learn from mistakes … with some advice and preassigned rules of course.
However, with the increasingly early access to the internet and everything it contains, the innocence of children needs protecting. It isn’t just that feeling of needing to be in control as a parent, but more of a necessity to protect innocent minds (or at least relatively innocent) from what the web contains and connects with.
As children start to know more about mobile technology than parents, they also learn the ‘not so good’ approaches from their friends and online. Processes such as bypassing the school firewall, or installing games and applications that were blocked by the app store (for their content, malware, or other reasons).
This is why parents need to take back some control.
What are the Benefits of Parental Control Software?
Parental control is a big decision that parents need to make nowadays. So, let’s take a look at an overview of the benefits:
- Internet Access Restrictions – Allowing parents to prevent or limit access to the sites that they deem inappropriate.
- Monitor Usage – See exactly what is used, including getting reports on websites browsed, frequent apps and more.
- Block Apps – Allowing parents to block the use of or installation of certain apps.
- Tracking for Safety – Although your child might not like this one, most parents LOVE the idea of being able to track the location of their little bundle of joy.
- Screen Time Restrictions – Let’s be honest, most adults could also do with some screen time limits. However, for kids, it is vital for their overall development.
- Set Tasks – Such as using educational software for a period of time, family and childhood activities, chores, or time to perform homework duties. These tasks can be combined with rewards to make them more fun.
After reading the above, you are likely feeling a lot better about choosing this approach to giving your child their own mobile, but with some control retained. However, let’s go over some of these points in more detail, as there certainly is more to consider.
Internet Usage Monitoring
The idea of restricting access to the internet and recording activities could feel quite intrusive to both the parent and the child. However, the internet can be a dangerous place. It is also easy to end up in ‘not so nice’ places without intentionally wanting to go there.
Sometimes curiosity or the recommendations of friends lead children to finding websites that their parents would be horrified to know about. It can also happen by accidentally clicking adverts or links (not all websites are mobile friendly).
Determining that it was an accident, rather than an intentional visit can lead to a whole different conversation and open communication about the internet and its dangers. Of course, filtering access in the first place can completely prevent accidental access and awkward conversations.
This is just the content side, it doesn’t even touch on internet predators that hang out in chat apps and forums, trying to persuade young people to go to certain sites, send photos, or even meet up in person.
Blocking and Usage Monitoring – Applications
Quality parental control software will allow parents to see the applications that are being used, and by how much they are being used.
If application installation is restricted, then it can sometimes seem that there isn’t much need to monitor which apps are used and for how long. However, this simply isn’t the case, as many ‘child safe’ rated applications can appear to be completely innocent to parents.
An example of this is that YOLO recently had a child level rating of 12+ (now adjusted to 17+). It didn’t appear to be malicious in any way, but did in fact contain quite adult content and had other serious issues.
Without knowing the usage of applications, it would be difficult to discover problems like this. Sudden changes in app usage should also be looked for, as this can be caused by reasons such as bullying, a new online ‘friends’, and even addiction.
Is Tracking a bit too much ‘Big Brother’?
People often only see the negative side of being tracked. Yes, to some degree it can be an invasion of privacy. However, it can also be a very effective form of protection and act as a preventative measure.
Being watched often makes behavior improve. Acting differently when monitored is a common human trait. Look at examinations, the temptation to cheat a little would be high without observation and consequences.
When monitored by parental control software, children will seriously consider things before going ahead with negative actions. Bunking off school to go to the beach seems fun, but would they still do it if they knew that your mum and dad are watching?
Lying about where they are going, or going to less favorable destinations, are all normally prevented simply from the knowledge that there is a parent watching. Of course, if they get into trouble, go somewhere bad, or heaven forbid actually become a victim of someone less savoury, knowing their location can literally be a life saver.
Screen Time Control – We all need this
Most adults in the USA use a mobile for almost 4 hours a day. In many cases, that’s even more than they watch TV. That’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen.
Younger children were spending between 2 – 3.5 hours per day on mobile devices, according to the mobile screen time report from CNN, and this has continued to increase since that report.
Is Parental Control Software Worth it?
Although there can be feelings of lacking trust or being over controlling, if parents take the time to openly discuss their reasons for applying restrictions to phone usage, children can understand and even support it.
By making it fun with tasks and rewards, the experience can become an enjoyable routine change.
Restricting time on the device can help to get children to be more social, complete their studies, and get outside more.
The benefits far outweigh the negatives, especially when properly explained and introduced at a young age in a positive way.
Our parental control software has been designed to keep children safe and to help create a happier family environment.