Shielding or Smothering? How to Monitor What Your Children Are Exposed To

Being a parent isn’t an easy job, and no one ever said it would be. As your children start to grow up, you will undoubtedly come across the problem of how to protect them from content that is not meant for young minds. All children want to be treated as adults before they’re ready for that, so you’re probably going to experience some kickback when you lay down the law.

As a parent, it’s your job to find some kind of balancing act between protecting them from the things that you know they aren’t ready for or old enough for and also not falling into the trap of smothering them more than is necessary. It’s not easy to get right, but it can be done.

Ensuring you don’t smother your kids is difficult, especially because you’re only taking these steps in order to protect them. So how can you get that balance right? Read on to find out.

Be Open With Your Kids

It’s always best to be open and communicative with your kids about all this. If you have to make a decision that they’re not happy with, it’ll be much easier for them to take if you explain it to them like an adult. They deserve to know what your thinking behind your rules is, especially as they start to get a little older. By being open and collaborating with your kids rather than punishing them, the whole dynamic will be a lot easier for everyone.

Follow Official Age Ratings

Pretty much every type of media out there has some kind of age rating system designed to help parents like you. If a movie is rated 12, don’t take your 9-year-old to see it. These systems are designed very carefully, and you’ll expose your kids to content that they’re simply too young for if you ignore the importance of those age rating systems. The same applies to games, so if they want to step into Final Fantasy 15, check the age rating first. It’s a simple way to check they’re only playing things that are suitable for them.

Make Use of Parental Control Settings

Most of the devices and gaming consoles that your kids use will have parental control settings built into them, so why not make proper use of them? Doing this will ensure that you are always in control of what your kids are not allowed to view or play. It makes sense to take this step because that’s what these settings are there for. Even certain websites have parental control options that can be implemented in different ways.

Be Careful Not to Make Things More Appealing by Banning Them

If you go around banning everything that your child wants to do, it will only cause them to get more and more resentful. Not only that, but the things that you’re banning will become more appealing and more enticing because you’re trying to stop them from getting access to those things. So you need to be careful with this. Of course, some things should be banned but if you become too strict with your rules, it could easily backfire on you.

Be Aware That They Have Many Ways to View Things Online

Even if you control which websites your children visit on their smartphone or their family computer, there are still many ways for them to browse the web. Most games consoles will have web browser functions. And there are always kids and school with devices that can be used to view content that’s not appropriate. There are no easy answers to these challenges, but it’s worth being aware of them at the very least.

Don’t Overreact

If you find that your child is doing something that they shouldn’t be, you should avoid the temptation to overreact to the situation. It’s much more helpful for everyone if you simply respond in a proper and dignified way. Try explaining to your child why their actions were wrong and why it matters that they follow the rules you’ve set in the future. Dialogue and communication go a much longer way than any punishment you could dole out.

Encourage Activities Away From the Screen Too

One great way to make sure that your kids don’t end up viewing content that they probably shouldn’t is to encourage them to do activities away from the screen. There’s a whole world out there and you should remind your kids that they don’t have to be focused on the internet or TV or video games. Those things are fine in moderation, but outdoor activity can do things for them that electronic devices simply never could.

Be the First to Deal With Difficult Subject Matter

If there’s a sensitive issue that’s interesting your child, you should be the first person to deal with that issue in an up front kind of way with your child. Information relating to certain sensitive subject matter is often best covered by parents who can give the facts and offer guidance. If you don’t, it could be left to someone in the schoolyard to do that job for you, which is probably the last thing you want.

Ensure the Rules Change as Their Age and Maturity Do

The rules you set for your child when they’re 8-years-old shouldn’t be the same rules that are in place when they turn 13-years-old. Children develop and mature very rapidly, so you should make sure that the rules you have in place changes depending on how your child’s maturity changes. It’s only fair to do this, and if you don’t, your child will feel like they’re being left out and experiencing things different to their peers.

It’s certainly a fine line between shielding your child from harmful material and smothering them with your good intentions. Always be willing to hear your child’s side of the story and make sure that you don’t make them resent you with rules that are far more strict than is necessary. At the same time, there have to be boundaries in place.


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