Homeschooling our children is an optimal way to keep the safe and sheltered from negative influences and peer pressures. Statistics from the National Household Education Survey (NHES) reveal that upwards of 90% of parents choose homeschooling out of concern for safety of their child’s environment. However, while we may go the extra mile to guard against outside dangers and negative influences, an even greater danger may lurk within our own home. This threat sits innocently on the desk as the family computer or even in the hands of our children in the form of a smartphone. Internet is a must when it comes to education, but without suitable parental controls, this useful tool may become your family’s biggest threat. This school year don’t forget the parental controls when it comes to your homeschooler’s safety. What makes parental controls so important, though? What should I be protecting my child from?
Excessive screen time
Although homework may require lengthy internet hours for research and planning, spending too long in front of the computer results is serious issues. A branch of eye-related disorders known as “Computer Vision Syndrome” develop from eye strain associated with too much screen time. These vision difficulties may become even more pronounced if your child already experiences some eye issues or wears glasses already. Excessive screen time affects the eye’s ability to focus and produces eye pain, headaches, and blurry or deficient vision. These effects tend to worsen over time if not caught. Kids and teens are not always aware of just how long they’ve sat in front of the computer. Help them by reminding them to take frequent breaks or switch activities.
Inappropriate and Graphic Material
While not always intentional, kids have the tendency to search out things they are curious about. They may have heard a friend or stranger use a word or phrase they don’t understand; naturally, the internet seems like a good place for answers. This type of accidental searching can lead to graphic exposure to inappropriate and dangerous websites. Porn, sketchy chat rooms, and risque videos are among the many potential threats kids may accidentally find. Parental controls that filter out these websites and search options not only protect your child, but also your own internet security.
Social Media Overload
We live in an extremely connected and social world. It’s not unusual for everyone to want to known everything about everyone. While a little social media is fun and safe for children, too much has negative emotional and psychological effects. Jealously, cyberbullying, and damaged self-esteem are just a few issues that can result. Always balance your child’s social media time with careful talks and discussions about what they see and experience. Trustworthy parental controls can limit screen time and access to inappropriate websites and chat rooms.
Other Options to Consider
What about their smartphones?
Even these days with so much information available parents often remember to protect the family computer but forget to protect the mobile devices that children use most and typically carry around with them all day.
What if I’m being too restrictive?
Pressure from other parents or even our own children can tend to make us feel like the bad guy when it comes to implementing parental controls. We can’t completely shelter our children from every negative influence. There does come a point when we must let our teenagers learn to have some freedom. However, it’s always better to error on the side of caution when it comes to protecting our children and teens whether it be physically, psychologically, or emotionally. Invest in trustworthy parental controls today and put up the necessary walls of protection to keep your family safe!