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Parental Control or Stunted Growth?


There is a new trend that is gaining more popularity with each passing day. After several cyberbullying cases and incidents with kids actually killing themselves, parents have begun to increasingly look towards using parental control software to make sure that their kids are safe.

These software can do a number of things from letting the parents know who is calling their child and why to actually allowing them to track their kids every more through the GPS connection. But the fact remains that no teenager or even tween would be happy to have to go along with what they see as intrusion.

The research speaks

It seems as though research agrees that parents should keep their  noses out of their children’s business. Parents who are trying to battle peer pressure by monitoring their children’s phones and devices may actually be going down a path that will cause more harm than good. When they do this the children actually end up acting out and doing precisely what the parents were trying to keep them from doing in the first place, according to the Child Development journal written by Barbara A. Oudekerk et al, called “The Cascading Development of Autonomy and Relatedness From Adolescence to Adulthood.” The main issue is that the children are not assertive enough to say no to something that they don’t like. So when a peer asks them to do something they don’t like, they have no foundation  on which they can stand and say “no”.

The study was conducted with 184 13 year olds who were questions about their parents and their parenting characteristics. The children were asked about emotional blackmail and manipulation that is brought on by the parents and then observed as they interacted with one of their peers. The study went a step further than other studies because it waited till these kids turned 18 and revisited them, and then repeatedly the process when they turned 21.

The results

Kids whose parents had been controlling were not as able to actually stand up to someone whose point of view they did not agree with. The same was the case with their romantic partners. The excess monitoring and controlling on part of the parents didn’t do much for their child’s growth or development in anyway.

When parents install parental control software on their children’s devices they often don’t know what to do with the information. They cannot actually stop themselves from butting into just about anything and everything that they see. While it is important to actually try and keep children safe, it is also important to let them have breathing space.

At present parental control does not seem to be an effective route to take if you are trying to ensure that a child is not feeling bullied. The problem lies in the fact that instead of feeling like they are not bullied, and feeling protected, they end up feeling bullied by the parents instead. Peer pressure and other such problems have to be dealt with but there has to be a non-intrusive manner through which this can be done.


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