Parental controls are a method on televisions and the internet to help block inappropriate material from being viewed by your child. Video game censoring is also another form of parental controls; your child cannot purchase mature video games until he is of age. Some parents even block social networking sites unless they sit down and browse online with them. As a protective parent, you might feel that these measures are completely reasonable and will help your child. But how far should you take parental controls? And do they really keep your children safe?
One of the biggest obstacles is other households. You may block MTV on your television and set your computer to view websites with malicious content or even the local http://www.direct.tv, but that’s not to stop your child from viewing the material at a friend’s house. Also keep in mind that although some of the material may seem too mature, your child may already be hearing and seeing similar content at school.
Parental controls are easier to implement in younger children who are not yet exposed to mature content outside of the home. As your child grows older, these controls may be too difficult to keep up with. Plus, to teenagers, parental controls equate to a lack of trust on the side of the parent.
So what is the solution? You understandably want to protect your child from offensive material. Saying to yourself, “Oh, well, he will hear this stuff from his friends anyway” isn’t very sensible either.
The key is to stay in constant communication with your child and know what’s going on with her emotionally and developmentally. If you feel she is mature for her age, you might be able to ease up on the control. But you ultimately know what’s best. If you feel parental controls are appropriate, explain your reasoning to her.