You know those apps that allow you to block, see and track your teens digital usage?
I've heard from many teens that parental controls feel restrictive and kinda disrespectful. Teens are bright and find creative ways to get around or disable these tools.
Are you freaking out a bit?
It's simply not a clear cut answer of whether you use them or not. What it boils down to are your intentions and how your decisions are supporting your teen to develop-
If you want to have a respectful relationship with your teen, even if they won't like all your decisions, let's dive into this parental control idea.
Imagine this analogy: When you go tobogganing (living in Canada here, thinking of snow!) you will see kids with snow pants, no snow pants, helmets, no helmets, some taking insane jumps and others sliding down cautiously.
Internet safety is a part of parenting to help teach your kids the behaviours you think will line them up for safety and success just like any other potentially dangerous activity.
Online communities are like in person communities in that there are responsibilities, social norms, and folks that behave in all kinds of ways.
Educating your teen on digital citizenship starts with You. Understand the 7 key areas:
By having conversations with your teen (yes multiple conversations ) about the online world, you are building trust, responsibility and their ability to make informed choices.
And listen they're gonna mess up because that's how humans discover, learn and grow in this world.
Conversations on how to use the internet safely need to begin as soon as your kiddos start using technology. Now of course, what you will say to a 4-year old is going to be completely different then talking to your 13-year old.
Talk to your teens about what they are seeing, who they are interacting with, and what is catching their attention online. This is a huge insight into their world and what is important to them right now.
when you are considering parental controls
Ask yourself, "what's my intention?" If it's to block all potentially disturbing content and track your teen's online behaviours, you may see this backfiring on developing a respectful relationship with them.
Perhaps you are in a situation where parental monitoring is a big challenge right now? You have your specific reasons for considering parental controls.
It is so important that you consider what actions you are going to take to continue building trust and develop your teen's ability to make smart choices and take responsibility.
Talk to them about why you are making internet use decisions and be prepared to hear their concerns. Help them by connecting your reasoning to their hopes and goals (e.g. if they wanna get good grades, sleep and reduced tech use before bed will help them reach this).
Consider flexibility within the controls.
No matter what decision you make, you will Stay in your teen's squad if you approach it relationship first.
If you found this post helpful, pass it on by emailing a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook- Thanks!
- Chantal Côté, R.Psych, Pyramid Psychology- helping older children, teens, and young adults learn how to build bulletproof mindsets
Chantal Côté is a Registered Psychologist in the province of Alberta and the owner of Pyramid Psychology. Pyramid Psychology mission is to help teen girls build Bulletproof Mindsets. Youth are full of greatness and uniqueness and it is a gift to have them share this with the world. Pyramid Psychology supports teens (and parents) that are struggling with anxious and overwhelmed thoughts and feelings. Meeting in person in Southeast Calgary, on-line for those living anywhere in Alberta, and outdoors for walk and talk sessions, Chantal uses a trauma informed lens and invites people to try thought based, mindfulness, and expressive practices to manage and weather the storms of life.