New study reveals that parental control apps don't protect children online

New study reveals that parental control apps don't protect children online
Parents, have you ever installed a parental control app on your teen's phone in order to keep track of where he/she goes online? Preliminary results from new research conducted by the University of Central Florida reveals that these apps, which show which websites your kid visited, block certain websites, and limit screen time, may not be effective. In addition, the use of these apps tend to drive a wedge between parents and teenagers.

An online survey measured tracked 200 parents who had at least one child 13 to 17 years old. Half of these parents admitted to using a parental control app. These parents are stricter, demanding, and refuse to compromise with their children. Surprisingly, those teens whose phones carry a parental control app were more likely than other teens to have seen explicit content, and felt harassed while online. Based on these results, one could conclude that these apps are not very effective.

The researches then went to the Google Play Store where they perused the comments posted by parents and kids (ages 8 to 19) on about 736 parental control apps available to install on Android devices. The parents gave the apps mostly good reviews. The kids? Not so much. 79% of them left two-star reviews or less (out of a possible five stars). The kids felt that these apps were an invasion of their privacy, and promoted "lazy" parenting by closing off communications between both sides. The children also complained that the parental control apps turned their parents into stalkers, and prevented them from doing homework.

The two studies helped researchers conclude that currently available parental control apps do not guarantee the safety of children who go online. The report did note that teens need some space so that they can learn how to develop "coping mechanisms" that will help them throughout their lives. The report recommends that the next generation of parental control apps include features to keep parents engaged with their kids, and teach teenagers how to deal with the dangers of going online.


It seems that parents are putting too much faith in these apps, and the study suggests that instead of using them to see where their kids go online, parents should get more involved with their teens. Find out what websites they are visiting, and discuss the things they are viewing online that affect them. Also, it is wise to talk about the dangers that they could face when using the internet. After all, by the time parents learn from an app what their kids' online behavior is like, it might be too late to protect them.

source: UCF

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8 Comments

1. bucknassty

Posts: 1285; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

taking their phone away is probably the best thing to do... and parents honestly need to be open of online dangers, thats if they even understand... its a different world that doesn't turn off anymore

2. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Unfortunately kids are more connected then ever. My daughter knew how to use her Ipad at the age of 3 or younger. And I don't believe in apps or putting blocks as kids have friends and all it takes is using their friends phone and the whole point is moot. I agree that creating an environment that is positive and interactive, while maintaining structure and stability is whats best. At least in my opinon.Regardless its impossible to watch your children 24/7 however I am strict only where it makes sense, smart all the time, and try my best roll with the punches.

3. Dadler22

Posts: 197; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Helicopter parenting hasn't worked since the Don of time. They eventually get out of the household and either become teen parents or institutionalized can't handle the real world because they were never a part of it

4. audibot

Posts: 590; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

hahahaha they needed a study for that, what pea-sized brains these researchers must have at University of Central Florida

5. bford

Posts: 15; Member since: May 18, 2015

Wow phonearena, way to make yourself look stupid making generalities passing judgement on parents. First off these are "preliminary results" meaning not final, meaning it could change. Secondly, it most certainly is effective if the intent is to stop kids from looking at porn or violence etc. They can't look at it with some of those parental control apps so, actually, it is effective. That's the intended effect. It works. Now, will it foster a perfect relationship and perfect trust with your kids? Maybe not, but a perfect relationship with your kids is not the goal. Parents aren't friends with their kids, they are their parents. It would be nice if the relationship was great but don't compromise for being best buds with your kids. That's how you get spoiled, egotistical, selfish depressed kids. Parents are the authority. They have the life experience to know what is good and not good in the long run for the kid. The goal is to make them ready for life scarred as little as possible. Let a kid have a phone with no filter and watch them become porn addicts, which studies show is actually really bad. It makes the watcher desensitized to human relationships, changes their brain chemistry.... the list goes on for how bad it is. This is just a practical way to aid the parent in raising the kid. If course this can't be THE ONLY thing a parent does. Of course dialogue is necessary. If the parent only relies on this then they are failing. ... the kids complained about the apps on the phone saying it was an invasion of their privacy... Wow shocker!!! Kids don't get to have privacy until they earn it. Kids don't get to decide what's best for them. Otherwise they would be eating junk food, dropping out of school, becoming a leach to society living with their parents until their parents die. What the crap is wrong with society?

8. LordDavon

Posts: 152; Member since: Sep 19, 2011

I have Qustodio on my 12-year-old daughter's phone and computer. It blocks most porn traffic, monitors messages, stops her from installing apps without permission and logs the calls to and from her phone. This was done after a group of friends started sending each other links to porn. While everyone here without kids can talk about the parents, kids will do what their friends do. You can't control every friend and their parent. These kids have their phones in school and you can't monitor them 24/7. What you can do is help control what content they have access to.

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6443; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Best to develop a friendship (of sorts) with your kids...open and honest communication etc. Monitoring your kids in this way and displaying such a lack of trust will only make them more likely to rebel when they get older. Proper parenting starts with being a role model...leading by example...

7. boriqua2000

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 11, 2009

Which is the most recommended parental control app?

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