Best Parenting: Filtering Your Kid’s Smartphone

Practicing the best parenting techniques can be tricky.  Parents will always want to protect their kids, but knowing what/how to prevent them from seeing can be difficult.  Also, having complete control over what your kids see is impossible.  It might have been somewhat possible twenty years ago, and maybe even ten years ago.  However, technology today has spread to the point where our kids have unremitting internet access.  Smartphones are the greatest culprit.

Best Parenting: To filter, or not to filter?

However, I think that this widespread access is mostly for the better – greater access to information is nearly always a good thing.  More information leads to greater engagement in discussions, the spread of education, and people better equipped to navigate through life.

On the other hand, look at the perils of restricted access: some countries stonewall their citizens from engaging in online discussions that use certain keywords and block certain sites altogether.  For countries in political turmoil, restricting online participation is a red flag for incoming protests, or even riots .  When people can’t vent and interact online, there are real-life consequences. A similar idea extends to over-filtering of what your kids see. They will develop differently than their peers, and there may be impacts on their social life due to certain types of media restrictions.  Everyone at class has seen the new Star Wars except your kid?  They might end up feeling left out.

Best Parenting:  iPhones and Parental Control

The best parenting often involves some level of information control.  According to a review in the New York Times’ technology section, iPhones have the best out-of-box ability to curb the more unsavory aspects of internet access.  The following concerns are covered by the iPhone’s parental control options:

  • Filtering and preventing access to adult content
  • Monitoring for “vault apps”
  • Stopping your kid from burning through your data

These control options make the iPhone a good pick for parents of kids that err on the more inquisitive side.  However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t third-party download options for other smartphone users.

Remember, that the best parenting styles involve balance; going overboard on control can limit your kid’s development alongside their peers.  Whether or not that’s what you want is obviously up to you. Regardless, practicing the best parenting techniques involves trial and error.  Try to think of exactly what you want to prevent your children from seeing, and target it directly rather than casting a protective blanket over everything they do.

NYTimes article

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