New report on parental controls & social media, a matter of trust

Since Windows 10 you have the option to get a report on your kids online behavior. There are also many tools that can help you follow your kids. But is this a good idea. There is a new EU Kids report on parental controls and an answer is in part: trust is very important and using these kinds of controls – certainly behind the back of your kid – could damage more than one might think.

The summary of the report:

This research report provides:

  • A thoughtful understanding of the functionalities of parental controls to guide families with children and adolescents to use them wisely;
  • A fine-grained analysis of the characteristics of technical mediation, to support parental mediation researchers in the development of up-to-date scales and analysis schemes;
  • A substantiated analysis of the potential for the design of the next generation of parental controls that may inspire industry.

The results highlight three important avenues for families, researchers and industry with respect to the use, investigation and design of parental controls:

  • First, this report argues for a more nuanced approach towards parental controls that lies beyond a one-sided focus on child protection to avoid over-controlling and over-protective parenting, which is found negatively to affect the development of the child.
  • Second, it outlines future avenues for parental mediation research, by pointing out the need to refine existing measurement instruments of technical mediation, to focus more on how and when parents employ parental controls, and how these tools may work (instead of only questioning whether parents use them, and whether they are effective), and to move beyond the generalised notion of the parent as protector and (all knowing) teacher.
  • Finally, this report addresses industry’s accountability in shaping future affordances of parental controls, and making the internet a better place for children.

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