There are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to managing kids’ online activity. Before making up your mind about parental controls, you need to know the facts.
“But I trust my child”
Family Zone cyber expert Brett Lee of Internet Safe Education says it best: “Of course you trust your child, but do you trust the other three billion people online?”
Opting to use parental controls to safeguard your child against online risks - including child predators and exposure to pornography - is NOT a vote of no-confidence in your child. Rather it’s an acknowledgment of reality.
In today’s online world, kids don’t need to go looking for trouble. It will come looking for them.
“I prefer to talk to my child about online safety”
Having regular, open, blame-free conversations with your kids about what they do and see online is absolutely the best and most sustainable strategy for keeping them safe and balanced online.
But the thing is, it’s not an either/or situation. In fact, using Family Zone is a way to open up those conversations and make them a regular feature of your family’s life.
Through our blogs and other educational resources, and our team of acclaimed cyber experts, we keep you up to date on all the latest digital trends.
We advocate a holistic approach to family wellbeing, arming you with the facts you need - and the questions worth considering - as you navigate the online world, day-by-day, alongside your children.
“My kids will hate me”
Ok, this one may surprise you. In fact, recent surveys show that 7 out of 10 kids aged 11 to 16 actually think parental controls are “a good idea.” Children in this age group often understand the risks of unfiltered online access even better than their parents do.
Recent surveys show that 7 out of 10 kids aged 11 to 16 actually think parental controls are “a good idea.”
They’re the ones watching their peers get cyberbullied, or becoming victims (or perpetrators) themselves. They’re the ones suffering the effects of sleep deprivation, as they struggle to unplug and switch off at bedtime.
They’re the ones subjected to unwanted sexual images online, through texting and porn pop-ups. They’re the ones who have experienced the compulsion to stay online gaming or scrolling through social media, way past the point when they’d really like to stop.
As for younger children - if parental controls are introduced early, as they ideally should be, right from that very first swipe of a phone or tablet - then parental controls will be accepted without question as simply “the way we do things.”
“It’s an invasion of privacy”
Again, this is an understandable objection by parents who respect their children’s rights. But it’s a serious mis-reading of how parental controls actually operate - and what responsible digital parenting entails in today’s world.
First: parental controls like Family Zone do NOT allow parents to see their child’s messages, images and posts.
When controls are activated, they simply block access to certain apps or sites, or during certain time periods (study time or sleep time, for example).
Father of four Brett Lee, who spent years as an undercover detective, posting under fictitious identities to nab child predators, objects strongly when parents worry they have no “right” to monitor their children’s online behaviour.
"Teens will say they deserve privacy online, that who they’re talking to or what they’re doing is their business," Lee explains. "This is rubbish. You as their parent have every right to know who they’re talking to and what they’re doing."
“In-app settings are just as good”
Consider that every tech company exists for just one reason: to get more users to spend more time online
Tech companies and games developers are rolling out new online safety settings every day - and that’s a good thing. But trusting in-app controls to do all the heavy lifting - setting your child’s social media accounts to “private” or blocking chat with strangers - is a mistake.
First, consider that every tech company exists for just one reason: to get more users to spend more time online, and to reveal more of their data while they do so. It follows that their motivation to keep our children safe is, at best, limited.
The average child uses dozens, if not hundreds, of apps and games on a regular basis. Keeping track of all these individual settings is simply impossible - and on multiple devices as well. Add to that the ease with which a determined kid can simply un-do the settings parents have made, and you’ve got a cyber-safety incident waiting to happen.
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