The number one responsibility of all parents is to maintain care for their kids. One way that parents do this is by taking precautions to ensure their child’s safety at all times. This is easy to do when you are aware of them in physical form, but when they go online it opens up a completely different arena with a whole new set of dangers. This concern brings up the question, should you monitor your child’s online behavior?
You can monitoring your child’s online behavior in a variety of ways. Examples range from simply blocking certain websites to more extreme cases like installing a monitoring service on the computer. There are certain advantages and disadvantages, however, to monitoring your child’s online behavior.
One advantage to being aware of what your child is doing online is that you will know if your child is participating in any harmful activities like drugs and alcohol. You will also be privy to any cyber bullying that your child is involved in as either the victim or abuser. In addition, you will also be aware of any child predators that could be speaking to your child. Simply put, you will have a resource at your fingertips so you can apply preventative medicine or nip problems before they go further.
The disadvantage that comes with monitoring your child’s social behavior is that you may drive yourself crazy with the overwhelming amount of information being made available to you. Knowing that your child is up to no good or is the victim of bad behavior makes it harder to live with peace of mind, because you will always be wondering what is lurking around the corner. That paranoia will make it hard to live with on a daily basis. In essence, sometimes too much information is not a good thing. But also, ignorance is not bliss, so being able to find a happy medium is probably best in this scenario.
One way to acquire that happy medium is to consider simply telling your child that you plan to keep an eye on their online activity. That way it prevents them from doing harmful things or being harmed. If this option is not properly handled, one disadvantage could occur. They could believe you do not trust them, and it may encourage them to act in spite by doing something they normally would not do, just to prove a point. In addition, with the access to the Internet that is now available there is no way you can monitor your child’s online behavior all of the time. They will find another way to use an unmonitored computer.
With all that said, it may be best just to have a discussion with your kid about online responsibility and the dangers that come with harassment over the Internet, and the repercussions of being someone who inflicts harm online. If you lay out some expectations and some guidelines for online behavior, then having trust that your kid will behave properly may be the best avenue for both parties. It will allow your child to maintain some freedom, and it will give you some peace from paranoia.