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What Is Ethical and Not Ethical to Monitor Through a Parental Control App

What Is Ethical and Not Ethical to Monitor Through a Parental Control App

Technology has affected all areas of our lives, and that includes parenting. According to a recent study, 66% of parents say it’s more difficult to raise a child now than two decades ago. The majority of them think technology and social media accessibility are the main culprits for the current situation.

Keeping your child safe in the digital world isn’t easy. Monitoring software like the MMGuardian Parental Control App can make your job easier. But, on the other hand, it raises the question of ethics. While child protection is a parent’s primary task, do these apps violate your kid’s privacy? At what point do you cross that line and start abusing your position as a parent?

This guide will focus on crucial features offered by parental control apps and discuss their ethics. Unfortunately, there are no clear rules here. However, use these guidelines to identify that fine line between keeping your child safe and violating their privacy!

Message Monitoring

According to Ofcom, over 50% of children said they had a negative internet experience. Almost a third revealed that a stranger contacted them to become friends. Sexual predators and child manipulators lurk online, and monitoring messaging apps seems to be a reasonable move for a worried parent.

Most parental control tools will give you access to your child’s messages across all platforms. That includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. You can even check their SMS inbox to read conversations made via the child’s smartphone.

You can maintain a high level of ethics and respect your kid’s privacy by choosing which conversations to read. For example, they might be chatting with a best friend whose account validity you confirmed. You don’t have to read that conversation, but what if someone unknown sends them a message? It’s better to check the texts and catch a predator right away before they start building a relationship with your child.

Safety Alerts

Some parental control apps offer safety alerts. This feature will notify you if a suspicious word appears in the messages. That ranges from naughty words to bullying, nudity, and drugs. It’s a convenient way to honor your child’s privacy. You’ll only read messages that contain suspicious words to ensure there’s nothing dangerous going on.

Tracking Your Child’s Location

Knowing where your child is at all times gives you peace of mind. But the ethical way to go is to trust your child. You should have this parental control app feature active but not use it without a valid reason.

For example, your child plays soccer with friends in the neighborhood every afternoon. You’ve been to watch the games multiple times, and there’s no reason to think they are lying about their whereabouts. It’s not ethical to spy when your child is honest with you. 

But if you have a reason they aren’t giving you accurate info on their location, you can always check it with parental control. What if your child skips school? These tools could help track their whereabouts and point out if there’s a serious issue to worry about.

Web Filters and App Control

If previous features were mostly ethical, things are different with web filters and app control. Filtering the content your child can access limits their internet activity. You need to be smart about this since you don’t want it to look like you are taking away the browsing freedom from your child. Most parents only ban certain websites they know could be problematic.

As for app control, you can block specific apps and make them inaccessible from your child’s phone. It’s an extreme measure, especially if the app is popular. Your child won’t exactly appreciate banning their access to Facebook when all their friends are using this network. Many experts indicate it’s better to go with time limits, which is another feature offered by parental control apps. This feature allows daily use limits and defines times when your kids can use specific apps.

Should You Ask for Your Child’s Consent?

The ethical way is to ask for your kid’s consent before installing parental control on their phone. It might be easier to do this with younger children. However, teenagers might not be fond of this idea and could see it as a major privacy breach.

But while you want your child to trust you, their safety is your priority. All ethics go through the window if your kid is in danger. So it might be wise to install parental control even if you don’t get their permission. If you go down this road, consider your teen’s privacy. Don’t abuse the power given by the app and bother them about every little thing. Always remember you are using parental control to ensure your child stays safe, and not to exercise total control over them.

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