Washington Post Author Understates Importance of Parental Controls

The Washington Post recently wrote an article titled “5 Myths about Internet safety that are freaking out parents.

It is well worth a read, and we wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the final myth:

“Myth: Parental controls are the best way to monitor my kids’ online activities.

Truth: Focusing on only one Internet safety method lulls you into a false sense of security.

To keep your kids safe online — and to raise them to be responsible, respectful digital citizens — it takes more than installing parental controls. For starters, parental controls can be defeated by determined kids. They also often catch too much in their filters, rendering any Internet search useless, and they set up a “parent vs. kid” dynamic that could backfire.

By all means, use parental controls to help prevent exposure to age-inappropriate material and to manage time limits. But don’t think they get you off the hook. Continue to discuss responsible, respectful online behavior, set rules and consequences for misbehavior, and train your kid to manage his or her own usage.”

While we strongly agree with the overall message, we do take issue with parts of it.

 

For starters, parental controls can be defeated by determined kids.

Perhaps this is true for most parental controls, but MMGuardian has patented, anti-tamper technology to make it the most tamper-proof parental control app on the Play Store.  If you would like the app to be even more secure, you can contact our support team at support@test2.mmguardian.com to receive a “Device Owner” direct download of the app.  We pride ourselves in being able to offer parents peace of mind knowing their child cannot simply defeat MMGuardian.

 

They also often catch too much in their filters, rendering any Internet search useless

If this is one of the author’s top arguments against using parental controls, it’s a great demonstration of how there aren’t many good reasons to not use parental controls like MMGuardian.

MMGuardian’s web filter settings allow parents the maximum amount of control over what their child can and cannot view in their phone’s browser.  With websites being being automatically categorized into one or more of over 150 possible categories, parents can choose which types of sites their child can and cannot access.  If the filter is blocking a site that the parent would like to allow (or vice versa) like the author mentions, there is also the option to enter specific websites to be allowed or blocked.

 

and they set up a “parent vs. kid” dynamic that could backfire.

Possibly the most important part of using parental controls is explaining to your child why they are necessary.  Children need to be made aware of the potential dangers that come from smartphone and internet use- from addictions of any kind to predators.  Without explaining the reasoning for using parental controls, parents do indeed run the risk of children being resentful and ending up making even more dangerous decisions.

We believe that overall, the author of this article understates the importance of parental controls.  While we are in agreement that it’s important to be much more involved than simply installing parental controls and monitoring from afar, parental controls like MMGuardian make it easier to do what the author suggests (set rules and consequences, train children to manage usage, etc) and also protect children from dangers that parents would not otherwise be able to without the technology.  Checking your child’s messages every night which they could easily delete is not nearly as safe as having MMGuardian scan your child’s messages as soon as they appear and instantly alert you if there is anything concerning such as talk of suicide, bullying or drugs or inappropriate pictures.

If you are interested in trying out MMGuardian and receiving a 14-day free trial, click here.

Consider also joining our Facebook group “Tech-Savvy Parenting” to discuss raising kids in the 21st century with other parents.

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