The parental control in the network is the vigilance that the parents of the children have so that they do not spend an excessive time on the internet or visit websites with adult content.
Nowadays, the internet has been established in our homes to be part of our family. Given the digital divide that exists between different generations, parents are finding themselves with a new problem characterized by regulating their children’s use of the Internet, as well as playing a role that they have never done before.
Parental Control on the internet
Data on the use made by minors on the internet
At present, there are many children who decide to use new technologies in their free time instead of playing abroad.
91.2% of children between the age group of 10-14 years according to INE data for 2013 exposed in García and Ayala 2013 have accessed the internet and are increasing as we age to reach 97.8 % among young people from 16 to 24 years old.
As we can see the internet facilitates a range of resources, as well as skills, which are important to develop properly in the society in which we live (Hargittai, 2010).
In spite of the above, it hides multiple risks for minors, which has attracted the attention of parents whose role has changed and has come to play a role as socializing agents responsible for controlling their children’s use of these technologies ( Livingstone and Helsper, 2008).
However, few parents benefit from the tools available to the internet to guide their children to make safe use of new technologies.
According to the data presented in the European Commission 2006 and 2008, cited in García and Ayala (2013), 48% of parents of minors in 2008 did not impose rules that control the navigation of their children online, compared to 15% .
What is parental control or mediation?
Mediation or parental control could be considered as “a necessary practice on the part of adults or parents aimed at children making good use of these devices” (Sánchez and Senra, 2009).
We can find that adults can have different conceptions in terms of new technologies, a positive position in which we would frame the families that provide information to their children and care that they make good use of them.
On the other hand, there are also families who have a negative attitude towards the use of these devices, even rejecting it completely, due to its multitude of risks for minors (Sánchez and Senra, 2009).
What types of parental mediation exist?
According to Pinto (2000) quoted in Bernades (S / F) we can classify parental control or mediation in:
- The families would simply keep on monitoring the rules of use and control the time the child spends using the new technologies .
- This type of family would care about the places your child visits, orienting it to the most recommended pages for him / her actively.
- Finally, offshoring families are the most recommended because they teach minors the use of the network in a safe and generalized manner.
It is true that there are these three types of family regarding the use of new technologies, however the most abundant are the first, either due to lack of time or lack of knowledge.
What tools can we use as parents and educators?
There are a multitude of tools that we can use in our teams so that minors can navigate safely. Here are some tips and tools:
When we navigate we leave a fingerprint or digital identity. It is important that children know that this digital identity can be both negative and positive and that it can later affect their lives.
It is recommended that we use tools so that they understand the importance of their digital identity as well as what can be seen about them on the internet.
For this we can use the search engine ” Yasni “, in which there is a section dedicated entirely to finding information about a person on the Internet.
Another tool that we can use if the child has a Google account is the web address of alerts. If we activate the option “presence on the Internet” we can know every time they mention us (Junta Castilla y León, 2016).
It is important that children are aware that digital identity is important and that it can affect their lives, so we must be attentive to create it positively.
Parental filters on computers and other devices
The minors usually use all kinds of devices in their day to day. Although we think that these devices are safe, this is usually not the case.
That is why we have to use the tools that as parents are available to us at an early age.
These are called “Parental Control” tools, these tools usually perform actions of control, supervision and direct the use that minors make of Technology (Junta Castilla y León, 2016).
Parental control in Windows
We can make this Parental Control configuration if we have a device that uses Windows.
- Access the start button, then click on configuration and enter the control panel.
- If you click on user accounts and child protection, you will enter the option to configure parental control for all users.
- We have to verify that the administrator of the team has a password, if it is not so we have to put it.
- We should create an account that is only used by the child.
- Once we have done all the previous steps, we would begin to activate the parental control by selecting the places and activities that the minor will be able to perform on the device, from blocking downloads to putting limits of use.
There are also other tools that we can use for parental control such as the Qustodio tool, which in a simple way allows us to see what the child has visited in the equipment that is installed.
In addition to this, it also blocks searches that are not appropriate for the child, can limit time and even restrict games and applications (CyL Program, 2016).
This type of tool is usually installed more easily and we just have to follow the steps that it is giving us. If you have several devices you can install it in all.
Something that characterizes this tool is that it can be hidden in the device so that the minor does not see that it is operative. It also offers summaries of the minor’s activity.
Once it is installed in the team, we simply have to place ourselves in the family portal and put our data.
Next and as with the previous tool we can configure the device and can even block web pages, add valid ones, tag sites as invalid, etc.
Within these possibilities we can also make a schedule of use of the device, so that it only works in the schedule for which it has been previously programmed by us.
How do we guide our children?
There are multiple tools to establish rules for the use of equipment, but we must be aware that we must talk with children to understand the rules and protective measures, as well as their safety beforehand and use them as a last option and even as reinforcement of your security.
However, we can create some doubts about whether we are doing well, since the exercise we have to do with a child will not be the same, given that it depends on the age you have.
According to the Office of Security of the Internet we have to make this difference in the type of parental control or mediation depending on the age, something that we can be quite obvious but how can we do it ?:
3 to 5 years
Currently, children have their first contact with new technologies at the age of 3 to 5 years. Given that they are quite small, it is advisable to supervise them completely in everything they do with the devices and as parents educate them on its proper use.
From 6 to 9 years old
In this age group they take their first steps online. It is important that we continue to monitor your network activities using all the tools available to us.
From 10 to 13 years old
In ages between 10 and 13 years, minors begin with the use of social networks, online games and mobile. Therefore, minors have to be aware of the risks that exist with social networks as well as with their digital identity.
Therefore, the role of the family again is fundamental.
Over 14 years old
Given their age, it will be more difficult for parents to mediate their activities with new technologies.
That is why it is important that we have a relaxed attitude and trust that they will make good use of it.
Recommendations for parents and educators
As parents and educators it is necessary that we keep in mind whenever we have a child at home that uses new technologies the following recommendations:
- The information that we publish on the internet is difficult to erase completely, with which we can create an inadequate digital identity of ourselves.
- Since the devices are used by minors, it is important to have them in a place that is frequented, in order to see what they do regardless of whether we use programs to control the use they make of them.
- It is important, to make your use more secure, that we use secure passwords and that our computers have antivirus and firewalls. We can make a simile of this in the real world, when a child goes out to play with the bike wears a helmet, knee pads etc.
- As parents, we have to keep an eye on what our son is playing or what he does with these devices. Not in order to scold or prohibit their use, but to guide you in its proper use and warn of possible risks.
- Use parental control systems. If our child is a minor, it is important that in addition to talking to them to explain the proper use of these devices we consider using this type of tools to reinforce that good use.
- If the devices used by our child have a webcam, it is important that we keep it covered with some material since there are programs that allow you to hack it and could take photos of it, among other dangers (Junta Castilla y León, 2016).