Among the many issues that plague modern families, internet safety is a major one. Parents are concerned about their children accessing unsuitable material online and even being bullied by other people through social media. The question of whether parents should be allowed to monitor their kids’ phones and spy on social media has arisen because of these concerns.
Gen Z is more aware of social causes, human rights, and personal freedom. All of these qualities make them good citizens and responsible members of society. Many large-scale studies show that Gen Z teens are among the best behaved in recorded history. It comes from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey that records the risky behavior of 10,000 high school students every other year.
They are less likely to drink alcohol, smoke, use illegal drugs or have sex than previous generations. But still, parents worry about their safety and want to control their lives and have a say in their day-to-day dealings. It’s because parents have new concerns to worry about.
Why Do Parents Feel a Need to Control?
In the age of social media and smartphones, parental control can be difficult. Screen addiction, sexting, malware attacks, ransomware, and phishing scams are some of the problems associated with this new age of technology. Not to mention poor academic results due to excessive phone use.
Throughout the day, students check their phones and smart devices regularly. Texting, emailing, going online, checking social media, and even playing video games on their phones take up to 20% of their study time.
Increased smartphone use has been related to poor academic performance, according to a study. As a result, the two have a negative relationship, which makes perfect sense. It’s no surprise that many children struggle with online learning given these statistics. As a result, their grades deteriorate.
When a student is studying remotely and attempting to reach a specific goal, they become diverted. It’s because they’ve turned their focus away from the topic at hand and toward their cell phones. Their mental development and focus are hindered as a result of their scattered attention. As a result of this decreased focus during remote learning sessions, lecture retention worsens. It has an impact on students’ test and exam scores.
In a study, students who acknowledged using a smartphone did worse than those who did not. Using smartphones as a continual source of distraction is also an indication of cell phone addiction. As previously said, this is becoming increasingly widespread.
So parents have a right to be concerned as excessive cell phone use can be harmful as mentioned earlier, but spying on your kid’s every move isn’t the answer.
Parents who like to micromanage their kids’ every move may feel they are at their wit’s end when trying to control them. But as they say, ignorance is bliss. Sometimes parents should be privy to their young son’s conversations with his friends or which party their daughter might be planning to go to. But if you’re a parent monitoring your child’s Instagram activity, this stream of information might cause unwanted panic.
Excessive Monitoring is Detrimental
Incessant monitoring has several disadvantages, the most significant of which is the harm done to child-parent relationships. Continuous monitoring disrupts the dynamics between parents and children and the learning process. Teenagers and young adults who get constantly tracked may experience anxiety and lack confidence in social situations. Obsessive surveillance can also make young adults feel isolated and make it harder to make friends. Making mistakes and learning from them is an essential aspect of maturation. If you don’t have the opportunity to make such mistakes, you’ll never really mature.
Parents can irritate their children’s relationships by constantly placing them under pressure. Continuous monitoring erodes the reciprocal trust that underpins successful parent-child relationships. Children who fear their privacy got invade and that their gadgets got track to control them have higher levels of conflict at home. Although parents may trust their children and believe they will make the right decisions, the use of tracking applications reveals that they may not. It can be disappointing for children and teenagers because a sense of distrust makes them less likely to confide in their parents in a crisis. Monitoring applications, in general, promote household discord and sabotage relationships.
Kids who have personal lives and free space are more likely to become mature adults and loving parents. They are more likely to reciprocate this trust to their offspring. A study conducted in 2019 demonstrated that a strict parenting method causes kids to become disobedient. So constant monitoring and authoritative parenting is not always the best strategy to follow.
How to Set Boundaries?
So what can we do as parents to let kids be themselves and not step on their privacy while protecting them from the dangers of excessive phone use?
While children may be capable of betraying trust, this does not necessitate round-the-clock monitoring as a punishment. If you caught them using a remote monitoring program, just tell them how you caught them and why it was necessary in the first place. It’s critical to figure out how your children feel about using parental controls on their smartphones. Even if creating trust is difficult, communicating with children about privacy and their Internet behaviors regularly can be beneficial in the long term. Imagine how you would feel if your parents swooped through your journal or diary while at school. Now replace the journal with a cell phone. The principle still stands even after a generation.
Trust must be gain, not given, and the greatest way to do it is by allowing your children to do so. It might be difficult for children, especially the young, to discriminate between good and evil. This barrier gets even more blur on social media, where contentious issues get passionately debate. As a result, you can’t rely on children to safeguard themselves online. However look for ways to show your faith in your children, such as allowing them to help you with simple housework. But the fact of the matter is this generation knows much more about technology than their parents can even fathom. The Internet is their oyster, and they are well equip to handle themselves.
Naturally, Gen Z has a well-attuned bullshit detector and can protect itself against common phishing scams going on. So permit them the benefit of the doubt and trust their instincts.
Set healthy boundaries for yourself and your kids. Learn about the dangers of using social media and cell phones excessively and enable them to use their devices at specific periods. It’s a terrific idea if kids complete their homework early. So they can use their cell phones non excessively.