You could certainly try to prohibit your kids from going on the internet at all, and you could use child phone monitoring software that automatically send you every single text and Facebook post on your kid’s phone — but
- Ain’t nobody got time for that;
- We all know that teens are more knowledgeable about technology today than any adult can ever hope to be, and your kids will almost certainly find ways to trick that strict monitoring software;
- With so many electronic devices now have internet access, and with computers/laptops/tablets being easily accessible — if not necessary — in schools and libraries, it’s virtually impossible to ensure that your kids are staying offline.
In other words, if you want your kids to trust you and, in turn, show that you trust them, installing strict parental controls for internet usage at home is probably one of the worst tactics to use against the dangers of the internet.
Using software or professional services to monitor internet activity when your kids are online is definitely a useful strategy that many parents use, and there are a variety of cell phone and social media monitoring software for parents these days. These software programs and social media monitoring services provide a sort of automated service to monitor internet activity and which only alert you if something inappropriate or questionable appears while your kids are online.
But here’s the thing: none of it will really be successful unless you’re able to have open conversations with your kids about the dangers of the internet — and the three reasons listed above explain why.
Many kids and teens these days already know that the internet is a dark, dangerous place — they know about cyberbullying and agree that it’s a big problem among their peers, they see the news stories about adult predators who creep on young kids via social media websites, and with so many recent celebrity phone hackings, they’re realizing that all the photos and messages they send are probably going to be floating around the interwebs for forever. Sometimes, what they really need isn’t a lecture or strict parental controls; sometimes they just need to know that their parents want to work together to limit the risks of going online.