03 march 2020
The internet is now an inseparable element of life. Once, to check the meaning of an unknown word, we took an encyclopedia off the shelf, today the internet helps us. For children it is the basic source of knowledge. It is an object of knowledge for them and allows, among others, to meet their developmental needs. Unfortunately, minors usually can't filter information and they don't always choose the valuable one. Excessive fascination with the web can be dangerous, and curiosity can lead children to content that is not suitable for them.
How to make discovering the internet by children safer? Talk to the child and use parental controls.
Parental control applications offer various options that can be flexibly adapted to specific needs. These are primarily:
a. The blockade of erotic, violent and vulgar websites. The range of blocked sites can be freely extended. There is also an option to define the phrases that the child could type in the search engine.
b. The blockade/limit of file download from the network. This is particularly important in case of downloading mobile content, where data transfer is often based on limited packets.
c. The blockade of premium SMS. The services provided in this way are often inappropriate to the child’s age and expensive.
d. The blockade of the specific games.
e. The modules which allow a parent for a remote consent to the installation of a given game/application prior to its installation.
f. The automatic network activity reports. They list the pages visited and words entered into the search engine. Sometimes they also take screenshots.
g. Setting a device usage hours. Some applications allow you to specify the times when you can connect to the network.
h. Localization module. Thanks to GPS you can check where a given device is located. Assuming that a child has a smartphone with it, the parent can find out where the child is at the moment.
Balanced parental control
Parental control tools are designed to help protect children from online threats. Among other things, they allow you to check if your child is misusing the internet. However, it should be remembered that excessive control is not a positive phenomenon and can lead to negative effects. If your teenage child is constantly guided, this can diminish his/her self-confidence. It can also cause a sense of lack of freedom and trust from the parents. Such emotions can intensify the need for rebellion or disobedience.
Every child, every parent, every family is different. There is no unambiguous, universal answer to the question of how parental control without intrusiveness should look. Every parent who knows their child should look for this answer for the benefit of the child.
It can be helpful to be aware that your child is not a pet that you can train. The child is a human being whose personality is just being shaped. Under such conditions, using parental control as a tool to respond to all problems associated with using the internet, is a mistake. Blockades and restrictions should rather be an addition to the conversation with the child.
Explaining to the child the world with its norms and prohibitions can be very difficult. That is why parenting is a responsible task. Instilling values and creating relationships is very important. The stronger they are, the more conversations with the child, the more time spent with it, the less restrictive settings can be applied for the parental control programs.
Can you give up parental control programs completely? Probably yes. Is this reasonable? Probably not. The internet is a sphere that cannot be controlled manually. Certain processes must be automated, and that's what applications blocking access to various content do. One of the measures of educational success can be the degree of use of their possibilities.
No program can replace a human, a parent.