Using Parental Controls Without Alienating Your Kids

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Using Parental Control Apps without Alienating Your Kids

Using Parental Controls Without Alienating Your Kids

Ask a roomful of parents what the major battle is in their home and you’ll be certain to hear screen time. The amount of time our kids spend with digital media and the content they are exposed to are points of concern for most parents.

In this digital age, our kids need parental controls as they learn to navigate and develop the skills needed to become wise digital citizens. And as parents, we shouldn’t feel bad for using those parental controls. In fact, they should be used as part of a family digital media plan that includes the kids.

But, using parental controls and keeping harmony in the family can be tricky.

Let me start by saying you cannot use parental controls as a replacement for conversation. If you’ve heard me speak or have read anything I’ve written here, you’ll know I’m a strong advocate of not over-filtering your kids. Why? Because fundamentally, apps which promote the feeling of “spying” break down the very essence of open family communication.

How can our kids feel safe to talk to us about their digital lives if they constantly feel we are hovering over them waiting for them to screw up? The answer is they can’t. It’s why I’m so passionate about families having a digital media plan. This plan includes having family discussions with your kids.

Parental control apps give insight into your kids’ particular browsing habits. But, they won’t tell you the “why” behind their behavior.

Communication is your BEST filter!

Does this mean parents should never use the parental controls built into their child’s device? Or consider using a third-party parental control app? Not necessarily. In fact, used properly, parental controls can be great tools for guiding kids as they grow and gain strong digital media skills.

I especially love using parental controls as kids learn to balance screen time.

Apple and Google have all rolled out more control for parents by adding Screen Time. And, Amazon has FreeTime. There are also a number of third-party apps like Mobicip which can help parents enforce screen time limits.

Using Mobicip to set screen time limits puts an end to the endless nagging over excessive screen time. With screen time limits set, your child’s device simply shuts down when screen time or a select activity (like gaming) is over. And again, it’s important to combine a parental control app like Mobicip with communication.

So, how do you use parental controls without alienating your kids?

Using Parental Controls Without Alienating Your Kids

  1. Bring Your Kids into the Discussion

When kids are part of a plan or project, it naturally creates partnership in it. By contrast, going in and setting up screen time limits without talking to your child is almost certain to cause division. Your child will likely feel these parental controls are not loving guidelines to keep them safe. Instead, they will feel parental controls are harsh unfair rules. This will make your child want to work around the screen time limits.

  1. Be up front about what is and isn’t permitted

Kids need clear cut boundaries. Be up front and clear with them about your expectations when it comes to digital media. Understand the apps popular with your child’s circle of friends so you can be prepared to discuss any safety concerns you have regarding an app. And, why it’s an app your child is or is not allowed to use.

  1. Let them know you are a safe place

Even with parental controls in place, things might get through. So be sure to let your kids know to always come to you if they are scared or come across anything pornographic or disturbing. Then, be calm and rational when they need you, so they learn to turn to you when they need help online.

  1. Set up parental controls together as a family

Let your kids know how the parental control app works both for them and for you. This will give them a clear understanding of how it works to send you a request to access a website. Young kids will also understand you are not physically pushing a button that shuts down their screen time. Instead, an app is tracking it and they really have used their allotted time for the day.

  1. Set up a tech clean-up day once a month

Teach your kids how to check their history and clean up their accounts. And, use this time to discuss any websites or apps they would like to add. It’s also a time to discuss any needs or concerns either of you might have. A tech clean-up day is a great way for you to get some valuable insight into the digital life of your child.

Interested in Mobicip? I took it for a test drive this month. Here is an inside look at it.

Using Parental Controls without Alienating Your KidsUsing Parental Controls Without Alienating Your Kids

 

 

 

 

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