Should You Spy on Your Kids Online?
Where’s the Boundary for Protection?
The internet is a magnificent place. At your fingertips lies all the information in the world. Research papers, studies, educational material, and more. But one click away are websites that can only be described as smut. From shock sites to lurking internet predators, there is a lot to protect our kids from. But should we go as far as spying on their online activity?
Let’s take a look at what we can do in order to keep children safe online. By setting up parameters, we can ensure that the internet is used as it was intended: passing of information.
How Worried Are Parents?
Parents have a right to be worried. Children and teens can get into a lot of trouble online. Visiting sites with images that nobody should ever have to see, becoming the victim of a predator, or acting as a cyber bully are just a few of the concerns. A study conducted over 6 years ago shows that about 67% of parents are worried about their child’s safety on the internet. What is shocking is that the number isn’t higher.
So something should be done. There’s the difficult question of are you protecting them or sheltering them? Are you keeping them safe, or are you invading their privacy?
The Line Between Safety and Privacy
Pew Research has looked into this. In their study from 2015 they found that more than half of parents have “snooped” into their kids’ activity online and on the phone. They have checked phone calls and messages, checked out the history on the computer, and looked at the social media profile. Is this crossing the line and invading privacy? Every child would say yes; most parents would say no.
What it boils down to is what you feel is best for your kid. You can’t protect them from everything, but you can protect them from a lot. Monitoring and checking on the status will only help you reactively assess the situation. You have to proactively stop unsafe behavior before it starts.
Some Tools to Help
Prevention is the best measure. Before your kids have a chance to stumble into nefarious internet territory, explain to them the dangers. It’s not always going to work though. Some children, tweens, or teens will have their interest piqued. They will go in search of the material that you specifically say to avoid. Keeping the conversation going will help dissuade some of those ideas; but protective measures will also help.
There are a number of apps and programs that you can use to limit online access. One free resource that works well to prevent accessing malicious, suspicious, pornographic, or alcohol subject material online is K9 Web Protection. You can download and install the program free of charge onto your computers and onto your phones (using it on the phone will require you to install a new browser; it doesn’t work with Safari). If there are sites where adults need access, then you can manually override a blocked page with your password (overrides can be set for a determined time period, or permanently).
If you want a filtering program that will do even more for you, there are plenty that offer premium services. Some are one-time fees, others are subscription based. It all depends on what is in your budget.
iDoctor Repairs Computers
Here at iDoctor we can help you install the software that will work best for you. If your kids have gotten onto sites where they shouldn’t be, we can help to wipe viruses and malware from the computer. Getting online is a great resource to help you learn and grow; a few preventative measures can help make sure it’s a safe place for your kids to learn and grow too.
Bring your computer to either of our Billings locations and we can repair whatever is wrong with them.