I was recently doing some browsing on the web to find out how many parents were actually using some sort of parental controls software on their home computers. While through my brief research I didn’t find firm numbers, it seems that many studies show that around 80-90% of parents know about controls while roughly 50% actually use them. Personally, I think that is a pretty decent number, but could obviously be better.
There are also some feelings about how well these filters and controls work, and if they are actually necessary. I came across this blog by Joshua Schnell out of the UK on a study regarding Kids, iPhones and Parental Controls. He believes that kids are naturally curious and industrious, and regardless if you have a filter or not, they’ll find a way around it. It’s a valid point, and I think very true for older children and teens, but just like you probably wouldn’t leave inappropriate materials like pornography or bomb-making instructions lying around the house, why make it easy for kids to find this stuff online?
I actually think it is a very important tool to use. I’m not naïve enough to think my kids won’t come across things they shouldn’t … heck, just like the author of the blog I referred to, as a kid, I “came across” my fair share of adult oriented material, and often went out of my way to find it! But I also think he underestimates both the sheer number of sites out there that are harmful, but also the level of, for lack of a better word, disgusting-ness that is out there. I’ve certainly stumbled on to some things online that I really, really wish I hadn’t, and to a child, that can be very damaging.
Regardless, I believe littleye offers some even more useful tools than just filtering. Just the fact that you can limit the time as well as set internet use schedules is invaluable as a parent, because often, it is the time spent on the web that can be most damaging.
by Grant Stoner