Parents vs kids: the battle for parental control

Parental control apps are more popular than ever, but are they good for parents AND kids?
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Parents vs kids: the battle for parental control

In the UK, the modern family is a connected one. A massive 9 out of 10 teenagers have a smartphone, and any parent will tell you that much younger kids know their way around a phone.



The need for protection

For most parents, their main priorities when they buy their child a phone will be:

1) Being able to protect their child from viewing unsuitable material or contacting anyone they shouldn’t be,

and:

2) Protecting themselves for being landed with a huge bill for downloads. Like these recent real-life examples...

"My 6-year old spent £3,200 playing iPad game"

"Derbyshire mother faces £7,000 bill for son's gaming"

"6-year old girl runs up £900 bill on a 'free' app"

"5-year old runs up £1700 iPad bill in 10 minute"

Luckily for worried parents, virtually all smartphones have inbuilt parental controls that let them take action to prevent the horror stories above from becoming a reality. These inbuilt controls are fine for pre-teen kids, but teenagers with phones tend to be less happy about having restrictions placed on them.

Teens vs parents

Demand for decent parental control has been around ever since internet browsers and apps appeared on smartphones.

In 2009, Apple became the first company to introduce a feature that created age brackets for users, preventing certain apps from being downloaded. Other manufacturers followed suit, adding to the range of inbuilt parental controls and restrictions on their devices.

Since day one though, teenagers have done their best to get round the restrictions on their phones. It’s a popular topic on teenage chat forums, with all sorts of control dodging advice readily available. With this teenage onslaught on parental controls, the parents called on specialist apps to help them reclaim the high ground...

It’s good to talk

Password and parental control apps are all well and good, but perhaps the most important thing to do is have a chat with your child, and educate them on how you expect them to use their phone. Research has shown that if parents talk to their child about internet safety, they behave better online. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has a useful document on online safety that you can download here.

Which side of the divide are you on? Are you a parent, or are you a youngster with a parental control app installed in your beloved smartphone? We'd love to hear from you - share your thoughts below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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