How Parental Controls Became an Essential Tool During the Pandemic
The world was already a tough place to live in; however, the recent pandemic only made it worse. People lost their jobs and loved ones, unemployment rates hit the highest ever (14.70% in 2020 compared to an average 5.76 percent from 1948 to 2019), and our mental and physical wellbeing aggravated. But still, life has to move on as it always does. It’s a rough phrase to say and immensely hurtful to those who were hit the hardest with the pandemic. But lucky have been those who were able to stay inside and still have a livelihood. But that’s the pandemic in a nutshell. Staying inside for months in itself hasn’t been kind to most people, especially the parents, who had to provide sustenance to their children while maintaining sanity all the time. However, a lot of parents, including myself, experienced unprecedented parenting challenges. If you are a parent, you already know what we are talking about! But if you haven’t been able to figure out a way to handle the situation, maybe you could take some advice.
The World Health Organization recommended people to stay inside. In fact, WHO suggested people, including children, to spend more time in front of screens to keep themselves entertained. While that worked out well for us, initially, but things soon went out of hands when our kids were spending most of their day streaming Netflix and playing video games. While there was nothing off with our kids harmlessly spending their time with their devices, it’s the unforeseen cyber risks that we had not accounted for.
I have seen parents extending the screen time of their children. We did the same, too, but only in the beginning. Many parents already dismiss the possibility of their children participating in risky behavior online. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram have a notorious reputation, and undermining the risks they pose could lead to immense damage, including loss of lives.
But that’s not just one of the many risks of social media and excess screen time that grew exponentially during the pandemic. According to research, social media increased by 70% during the stay-at-home orders as children can easily give in to the pandemic stressors, saying mean stuff to their peers.
Parents who have jumped in to save the day by increasing restrictions on their hypersensitive children have only made things worse. We did the same, and we sucked! Parents are required to have a dialogue with their children over their social media experiences and cyberbullying amid the pandemic. Expecting your children acquiescing to strict screen-time restrictions would only demean them. If there are limitations on their device usage, they might end up revolting and dismissing the pandemic-related safety protocols.
That’s when we started learning about managing children’s screen time and device usage in a less intrusive manner. We looked up online and realized how families are taking help from parental controls that our TV, iPads, and smartphones are preinstalled with. We tried them too, and it worked out fine. Basically, with built-in parental controls, you can manage how much time children spend with their devices. While that’s a perfectly viable solution for a pre- or post-pandemic time, it’s not a great solution in 2020.
Netflixing is the least of the concerns for many parents. However, many parents end up ignoring the device activity that children engage in private. That’s the problem at hand. To help with that, we decided to try a third-party parental control called Xnspy.
So how do third-party controls help?
For one, they can let you oversee your children’s entire phone activity. For instance, our choice of the app (Xnspy) was able to let us see conversations and shared multimedia from all popular media apps, like Instagram, Messenger, Viber, LINE, Kik, Skype, and even Tinder. Other than that, it also allowed us to check call logs, emails, and internet browsing history. We were relieved to know what kind of things our children were looking up online. And with Xnspy, we could even view their incognito browsing. Moreover, you are doing all that without intruding with your children’s cell phone use.
Are we making an endorsement? Not at all! We really believe parental controls are essential to keeping our children safe. However, even the use of parental controls requires your children’s consent. And how do you get that? By openly having a debate on the risks of overuse of social media, you can make your children see the intrinsically-dangerous nature of smartphones and the internet for children. The best part is that you might end up saving the day without having to rely on third-party parental controls as we did.