Why do parents control

Out of concern for their children, there are parents who access apps to monitor their daughter or son. Such tools enable parents to read the child's messages, check their screen time or watch them anywhere by gps tracking the children. A deceptive security, because neither dangerous situations nor the sending of unsuitable content can be prevented by monitoring apps.

When parents track children

Parents who track their children are looking for absolute control and always want to know where the son or daughter is. Constant monitoring often only reassures the parents for the moment and leads to more fear and worry in the longer term. If you constantly check what your own child is up to, you also constantly imagine what could happen to him.

Monitoring apps are a breach of trust

Constant monitoring destroys the relationship of trust between parents and children. By controlling them, parents signal to the child that they do not trust him. Instead of abandoning dangerous behavior, the child may learn tricks to bypass the “electronic barriers” or try to hide their behavior from their parents as effectively as possible. It becomes particularly dangerous when children slide into a risky situation and no longer dare to turn to their parents.

Right to privacy

Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that children have a right to privacy. This also applies to the digital space. Parents should also respect their child's privacy. With younger children, it can be useful to use filter software to keep an eye on or limit the child's screen time. Ideally, this should be done in consultation with the child. In addition, parents can ensure that children always have the opportunity to shield themselves from digital distractions.

Alternatives to protect the child

Open conversations strengthen trust and are more effective than monitoring apps. In a mutual exchange, the child is shown which scenarios are causing concern. At the same time, parents can ask how the child deals with sensitive situations. In this way, parents stay in touch with the child beyond media use. Parents show interest by asking which platforms the daughter or son uses and how they work. Joint media moments are helpful to initiate such discussions. It is important that the child can talk about his experiences in everyday life and in dealing with the media without fear of negative consequences. If problems arise, it makes sense to first look for solutions together instead of using surveillance apps.