If you’re a parent of a teen, you must be constantly concerned about their online activities and perhaps would want to know what they do on their smartphones all day long. Some parents think monitoring their kid’s online activity is the right thing to do whereas others shrug off this idea by saying it’s not right to invade their kid’s online privacy.
Parents who believe monitoring their kid’s online activity is critical in today’s digital age have several reasons to justify their statement. By monitoring their kid’s online activity, they can protect them from various potential online dangers such as cyberbullying, sexual predators, sexting, and inappropriate content.
Because of growing demand from the parent’s side, there is a huge market for parental controls and monitoring apps that help parents monitor not only their kid’s smartphone use but also their whereabouts, online conversations, interests, aspirations, etc. Parents also look for monitoring tools that teach them how to spy on someone’s phone without them knowing for free. That means they search for monitoring apps that remain hidden on their kid’s smartphones and secretly monitor their activities without them knowing.
However, in their attempt to monitor kid’s online activities, parents should ensure to not cross the line and cause any sort of offense to their kids. Tracking your kid’s online activities is right as long as you have valid reasons for doing so. Let’s understand whether or not monitoring your kid is appropriate and if there are other less intrusive ways to ensure your kid is safe on the internet.
Is Monitoring Your Kid Appropriate? How Does Parental Control Apps Help You?
As we have mentioned earlier, monitoring your kid is appropriate as long as you have genuine reasons for doing so. Usually, parents monitor kids to protect them from harmful online dangers such as sexting, pornography, cyberbullying, and online predators.
All parents want their kid’s safety on the internet and they do not want them to come across any sort of trouble while they are browsing the internet or scrolling their social media feed. To ensure kid’s online safety, parents tend towards using parental controls or monitoring apps.
Parental controls refer to features on a device that allows you to set, manage, and control the type of content your kid can access on their device and for how long. On the other hand, a monitoring or parental control solution is a computer program or a monitoring app that offers all important surveillance features that allow parents to remotely monitor their kid’s online activities and their devices.
With monitoring apps installed on their kid’s phone, parents can track their text messages, phone calls, web browsing history, location, as well as social media use. In simpler words, monitoring apps allow parents to spy on their kids, sometimes even without them knowing.
While spying on their kids without them knowing, parents don’t realize that they might be offending kids by invading their online privacy. They need to understand the difference between monitoring and spying. Kids won’t like the idea of their parents snooping on their online activities and devices. They would feel that their parents don’t trust them enough or don’t consider them mature enough to make the right decisions.
If a kid remains unaware of their device being monitored by their parents through a monitoring app and then eventually finds out one day, they will view it as a violation of trust and breach of privacy. It would be equivalent to their mom reading their personal diary.
Therefore, if parents need to monitor their kids, they should use monitoring apps by letting their kids know about them. That way they won’t break their kid’s trust and also not violate their online privacy. Also, parents should try to use less intrusive ways of ensuring their kid’s online safety.
Develop an Open and Honest Communication
Most parental controls and monitoring apps promote the idea that parents can protect their kids from all sorts of risks and dangers by keeping an eye on their online activities. It is true that monitoring apps help them know all about their kid’s online behavior and whereabouts but do they really prevent them from online threats like cyberbullying? Can they help parents know how to find someone’s location by cell phone number?
While a monitoring app can tell you whether or not your kid is interacting with a cyberbully, it doesn’t really prevent them from making a new friend online or recognize the real intention of the stranger they are talking to. The same goes for another common online danger, sexting. Even when your kids go out with their friends and forget to respond to your texts or calls, you cannot expect a monitoring app to help you know how to find someone’s location by cell phone number .
It is important for parents to discuss these issues and situations with their kids before they happen rather than after they happen. Kids should be taught to use the internet and social media smartly. They should be able to recognize the dangers lurking on the internet and should know how to tackle them wisely.
Having open and honest communications about internet safety with kids is every parent’s responsibility. Surely, you can put parental controls and monitoring apps in place to detect online dangers but you should also not forget to have a discussion on them with your kids.
Your kids would be in a much better position to make judgments and smart decisions when they’re aware of both good and bad things about the online environment. It is understandable that the internet is not a safe haven for kids. It can make kids explore dangerous places and cause them to become addicted to bad things. Therefore, kids need to know about the good and bad side of the internet. Along with that, it is equally important to keep a track of kid’s online activities and their devices with the help of a monitoring app irrespective of where they are or what they are doing.