How to Use Parental Control Software at Its Best

Anne Livingston on Dec 18, 2015

How to use parental controls
How to use Parental Control Software and get the most of it?

With a young child, most parents feel confident in their ability to guide their child’s Internet use. As they grow and their use expands, parents start to wonder if they are doing enough. When teens move to apps like Snapchat and Kik, which are harder to check up on, parents may think about adding more robust Parental Control Software. These controls can be an effective part of Digital Parenting. However, monitoring works best when parents are open and honest about how they are overseeing their family’s technology.

Parents do need a way to check in. Parents cannot mentor and guide their child in vacuum. Children do not run out the door without an adult asking them where they are going. The same applies online. Parents need to know what sites their children are visiting and make sure they are staying safe. Using Parental Control Software in secret can lead to more problems than they prevent.

Usual Digital Parenting Problems
Loss of teachable moments

The fear of kids making a permanent mistake online may lead some parents to monitor in secret. Secrecy can lead to a breakdown in communication. It is hard to bring up an inappropriate text or picture with a child when a parent could not have seen it unless they were monitoring. This leaves parents either hinting at the problem and hoping their child tunes in or confessing to tracking their child. Instead of discussing appropriate online behavior, parents may find themselves battling their kid over their right to privacy.

Loss of proactive parenting

Operating in secrecy, parents are not preventing an online mistake. They are only able to see what their child has already done. Reacting to a sent text leaves parents in the position of punishing not guiding. The best way to prevent mistakes online is by giving them accurate information, teaching them how to behave and showing them how to lead a healthy digital life.

Loss of trust

A parent being dishonest may lead to their child being dishonest. When their child discovers their parent secretly use cell phone parental controls for monitoring their online conversations , they may decide to hide their activity. Parents may find themselves embroiled in a cat and mouse game chasing their kid across the internet. The reason parents want to know about what their child is doing online is to help them make smart decisions. It is best to be upfront about checking in on their digital activities.

Use Parental Control Software Openly

Research shows that teens whose parents use effective monitoring practices are less likely to make poor decisions. A McAfee study found 45% of teens would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching. Recently, researchers from Penn State found that when parents adopted a proactive role in managing their teens’ online activities, teens disclosed less information on social media sites and sought more advice on how to manage their online privacy. Teens, who have parents interested and involved in their online lives, tend to make better decisions.

Despite what parents might hear, kids do want and need parents involved. When asked who (or what) was the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate behavior on a cell phone or online, according to FOSI research the majority of teens (58%) said their parents were the greatest influence. When experiencing digital abuse, 44% of young people state that they seek help from their parents or family and the majority (66%) said that telling their parents made the situation better.

How to Tell Your Kid About Parental Control Software?

One of the best ways to start talking about parental controls with a child is to create a phone or device contract. This is not a list of rules for them to sign mindlessly. This is sitting down together and discussing responsibilities and expectations around technology. Parents should talk openly about their concerns. From there, parents can share why and how they will check in on their child’s online activities.

How a parent includes monitoring in their contract will depend on their family. If a parent has coached their kid all along about proper internet use, their child tends to be responsible and they are doing great offline, then key logging or invasive software is probably overkill. If your kid is doing well, parents should check in occasionally but they do not a need to track every online movement.

There are situations when parents may want to pay closer attention. When a child receives his/her first phone or joins a new social network, parents want to make sure they are using this new technology or app properly. In addition, if a child is having problems offline, problems are often occurring online as well. While parents may need to look more closely for a time, they should also include a plan for how their child can earn back their trust and have some privileges restored.

Remember, no child monitoring software is "unkillable" by a tech-savvy teen. A determined teen can get around it. Parents should assure them that monitoring is not about catching them doing something wrong. No one is looking to get them in trouble. Parents are checking in to help them navigate these spaces. The goal is to provide them with all the information they need to make smart decisions.

Whatever parents decide for their family, they should make sure that monitoring and education go hand in hand. With Familoop Safeguard, parents can review their child’s digital activity to help guide their child. Monitoring is an important part of Digital Parenting when it leads to mentoring. Soon, they will be on their own. One of the critical life skills all kids need is to know how to lead a healthy digital life. Ultimately, the best online protection a kid will ever have is between their ears. Parental Control Software is your parenting partner.

When it comes to parenting, communication is gold. Don’t be too late to get to the top of your kids' online activity and kick-start necessary conversations – sign up for Familoop Safeguard trial to open more lines of communication with your children including Gender Equality and other highly sensitive topics.

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