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  1. #1
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    Parent Corner: Parental Controls for Kids?

    SoÖ. Between my ex wife and I, weíve always had parental controls, screen time limits, etc. for our kids, currently 15, 14, and 10. It used be fairly restrictive with all, though weíve gradually relaxed most of the screen time limits, especially in the time of COVID.

    At this point, at my house I have my 10 year old set at the teen setting for content controls and no social media, with the other two pretty open except for explicit, dangerous, or illegal content. The other two are also somewhat restricted on social media (theyíre each allowed one). Internet is off for their devices at 8:30pm or 9pm.

    Iíve come to find out that my ex has thrown away all content controls and limiting. Itís wide open, nothing ever turns off. Shit that annoys me is that there was never a conversation when this happened, but now Iím wondering how unusual or over-restrictive Iím being. If anything, I think things might be a little bit too open and that they definitely spend way too much time with their devices, but Iíve been wrong before. What are you guys doing?
    focus.

  2. #2
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    Some of the guys who created the social shitspace try to keep their kids out of it if that tells you anything.

  3. #3
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    I guess to a degree itís moot. If they have full access at their momís and I restrict it at my house, Iím not actually doing anything other than provide a reason for them to prefer to be at their momís. Iím not sure what the rational choice here isÖ.
    focus.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustonen View Post
    I guess to a degree itís moot. If they have full access at their momís and I restrict it at my house, Iím not actually doing anything other than provide a reason for them to prefer to be at their momís. Iím not sure what the rational choice here isÖ.
    I think in your case it seems like education not restrictions. Boundaries for sure, like at the dinner table or when doing some other activity.

    Realistically they are going to be adults soon and will have to self regulate.

    Educate your kids about the perils of to much social media, how companies are manipulating them, how to use a phone around other people and not be rude, etc.

    And set the example.

  5. #5
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    We had the same or similar boundaries until the girls were approx 14 - at that point they had smart phones and could access what they want as soon as they walked out the door (via cell/data). I think I bumped the internet shut off time to 10pm and kept increasing as they got older. But, I also know once the internet shut off, they used cell data from their room. Tough to totally keep them out of it (even without your problem with the ex). Kids will be kids, etc.....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowagriz View Post
    We had the same or similar boundaries until the girls were approx 14 - at that point they had smart phones and could access what they want as soon as they walked out the door (via cell/data). I think I bumped the internet shut off time to 10pm and kept increasing as they got older. But, I also know once the internet shut off, they used cell data from their room. Tough to totally keep them out of it (even without your problem with the ex). Kids will be kids, etc.....
    I actually can control all of that, even when they get data (which is coming soon). I probably wonít, because their mom isnít on the same page.
    focus.

  7. #7
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    Either move off grid with no cell service or accept they are going to get their internet fix. I'm joking but its also probably the reality. As others have said its basically their entire social world (notably with covid) and unless you are willing to physically take away the phones you are going to have a hard time regulating it.

    My kiddo is a ways away from me having to deal with this problem but I do not look forward to it.
    Live Free or Die

  8. #8
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    I donít know if this is a universal thing, but Americans certainly seem to think that if we prohibit our kids from doing something we will build their capacity to manage it appropriately in their lives.

    Did anyone here learn to manage drug and alcohol use, which is a normal part of adult life, by being prohibited from using them? How about sex? Driving? Finances?

    Phone use, social media, etc seems like something ripe for teaching your kids how to use appropriately not abstaining from.

    (Words of wisdom from a guy with a 4 year old.... )

  9. #9
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    My kids are a bit younger but the post covid lockdown world has changed us. I think the best defense is teaching them about the world as best you can. The social media age is now getting into its teenage years as well and there are lessons that are coming to roost. Show them about the "Charlie bit my finger kid" who's now an adult, and some of the other meme photos. Explain that anything they put out there is one good joke caption away from being internet legendary and that will haunt them forever. Explain that scammers are everywhere and they'll steal your identity (coming from a new account to make up for my hacked one here... :/ )

    I think I'm understanding the instagram story world as it offers photos that disappear. People don't want the permanent record and they're on the platform enough to catch everything their friends are doing. But I do question if facebook is keeping a record of it all and I don't trust them either.
    Wait, how can we trust this guy^^^ He's clearly not DJSapp

  10. #10
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    I started checking my kids' browser and you tube histories a few years ago, and found nothing. They are too lazy to clear the them, and there were months of data. They watched a lot of stupid crap on you tube. At 13 - there was an issue at the school with some dick pics. There is nothing in the parent handbook to guide you on the dick pic discussion, but we had it. Only send a dic pic if you want the WHOLE SCHOOL to see it. Since they were more responsible than I thought, and can probably hide things better than I can anyway - I gave up on the restrictions.

  11. #11
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    ^^^
    The best I have for the inappropriate photos situation is the 'internet photos are forever' and showing them the stories of whatever happened to the 'overly attached GF' or 'Charlie bit my finger' folks. Those are 10+ years old now and those jokes have followed them everywhere. Or politicians that have had careers ruined by something in their past.

    Follow that up with a quick tutorial on how to screenshot to save those 'self deleting' IG photos to hammer the point home. Internet photos are forever and the windows snipping tool is magic.
    Wait, how can we trust this guy^^^ He's clearly not DJSapp

  12. #12
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    It sounds to me you are being a good parent and the ex is being, well, and ex.
    Nuke from orbit and behead the remains? problem solved.

  13. #13
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    I do not have kids, but have the discussion on this from time to time with a few customers. First I do not think your limits and settings are overly restrictive. The kids may feel they are though now that the Ex has axed the controls and is wide open. But that is probably something you need to bring up with her as to the reasons or thinking behind no controls at all- especially the 10 year old. Also some kids are more mature, aware and conscientious of things like social media and photos while others lack the understanding of possible issues of having a photo or posting that may never go away as stated. That also is where parents discussing these issues comes in (just like sex ed, drinking and drugs, etc.) where you set the expectations and make them aware that some of the rights to access is a privilege that if you find out it is being abused would be blocked while they are with you if abused (except if they are still doing school online, then that would be maybe the only thing that they would have access until they are older and mature enough to make better choices.)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazderati View Post
    Some of the guys who created the social shitspace try to keep their kids out of it if that tells you anything.
    Number one rule of successful drug dealers: "Don't get high on your own supply".

  15. #15
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    I've never restricted my teen girls' phone or internet use. Most of what they do is harmless, i.e. Snapchat/Tiktok/YouTube. Also lots of Facetime with friends. Turn phone use into a forbidden fruit and you change the dynamic in a way that works against your purposes.

    However we have been very adament about listening to music at a low volume since they spend a lot of time with airpods in. Yesterday my 15 yo said she thinks her best friend has damaged her hearing from loud music. Honestly that's a bigger concern to me than phone time. They seem to know all about not sharing nekid photos, etc, so it's really not an issue. Kids are pretty savvy about the whole online thing these days. All their friends who got "restricted" just figured out workarounds anyway.

  16. #16
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    I have a 10 year old and have no answers, but reading this thread. Covid thrust her into an online world we weren't ready for. She doesn't have a phone and we do restrict access to lots of things on her tablet/chromebook, but it's a constant battle.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  17. #17
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    Our son is very, very bookish and on the spectrum of Aspergers. His most frequent social interaction is via online games which became a little too frequent. At a couple of points, we had conversations about obsessive behavior and he surrendered his cables for a couple of days, so he understands about that. With our daughter, she does the facetime/tiktok/ig things as well, but she is much more social.

    I try to treat our kids like adults with less experience. So we don't restrict them, but I do have conversations about concerns and let them know I'm delegating their responsibility to them. Lo and behold they're each really great kids, responsible, aware, with perfect grades and they laugh a lot.

    Zappa said "As far as rearing children goes, the basic idea I try to keep in mind is that a child is a person. Just because they happen to be a little shorter than you doesn't mean they are dumber than you."
    Also: "The first thing you have to do if you want to raise nice kids, is you have to talk to them like they are people instead of talking to them like they're property."
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
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  18. #18
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    How you restrict their access to content matters much much less than talking to them about what it all means. I wouldn't try to win that fight with your ex, but I would talk to the kids about how you expect them to participate in online spaces, the potential consequences of being part of social media (positive and negative), the way it's used to manipulate people, who is making money off it and how, etc...

  19. #19
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    Our kids didn't get phones until HS, and then the only rule was that they had to be on the kitchen counter muted at 10pm. As they started leaving for college the rules, obviously, got less restrictive on the kids still at home, mostly because we're lazy.

    Fortunately, the last kid at home is the most responsible, so restrictions for him are pretty much gone at this point.

    Talking about it is very good advice, as others have pointed out. And talk about it regularly. The advice proffered "don't send things that you wouldn't want the entire world to see" is also very sage, 'cause despite what their friends/apps/internet tells them, there's no such thing as a "temporary" post/photo on the internet.

  20. #20
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    Our childrenís access to screens has mostly been facilitated by others: visits to friendsí houses, donations of outdated ipods or iPads from friends and family, chromebooks from schools, and, most recently, a built-up desktop machine for the 15 year old from a friend that was practicing. We have placed some restrictions on the teen and a bunch on the 11 year olds because we were observing them plummet down the rabbit hole. Also, weíve had many sit-down conversations with the teen. The last long one he and I had was reading and discussing the article linked below.

    The struggle is real. The self control to not watch endless videos or continual scrolling through social media for hours on endÖ.many adults struggle with it, too.

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/2737909

    ^^that article points at an association between passive screentime (eg, social media, watching videos) and depression in adolescence using a quantitative approach.

  21. #21
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    It's a struggle with my almost 10 year old but at the same time she loves her friends, playing for hours outside, climbing, fishing, etc so she's very active overall when she's not on devices.

    As everyone has said, the conversation around it is important and I used to be kind of a czar about it but I've learned to listen and she tells me (honestly) what she's playing, new updates and wants to make hamster videos. Luckily all harmless but I bring up examples of how it can be damaging as well which she seems to get.

    She is really tech savvy so I encourage her on that side of it as well, telling her she can make good money have fun with computers, making Apps, etc.

    I couldn't get a fucking thing done at home if it weren't for Minecraft so much that's my crutch. Her dad (does not live with me) was yelling at me about her screen time one day (because he couldn't engage her), with his phone on and in his hand. He couldn't even put it down to talk about it Jackass.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

  22. #22
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    The Social Dilemma is worth watching together if you haven't seen it.

    I don't know your kids, but I'd probably feel fine with education/harm reduction for the teenagers. No restrictions on a 10 y.o. seems nuts. At a minimum I'd be monitoring their browsing history closely.

  23. #23
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    Not sure what thread to post in, the phone thread may not capture all the parents, so...

    Looking to possibly get my 5th grader a phone. But we're not ready to have her jump into the deep end, we're just tired of her having to grab our phones to talk to friends. Any advice on what to do?

    Wants in a phone:
    Phone calls
    Texts
    Games?
    Reasonably durable

    Needs:
    Parental controls: Ability to control surfing, ability to control calls/texts (ie who she can contact), etc
    Low/reasonable cost

    Mom has Verizon, I have Google Fi, if that matters. Verizon offers some deal where we'd pay $50 for a kid's plan and mom would get a new iphone, kid would get her old iphone. Unlimited data (and of course "free" phone). Is that the best deal?
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  24. #24
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    Google Family Link basically gives you complete remote admin access to any Android phone.

  25. #25
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    I've got a TickTalk smartwatch on my first grader that uses a data SIM from my Fi plan.

    $0 monthly for the data-only SIM from Fi. The TickTalk watch wouldn't be appropriate for her to text friends from school, but maybe you could pull off the same trick with any other Fi-compatible phone or a mini-tablet?

    That wouldn't get her a regular cell service phone number, but all app and data-based calling would work.

    Similarly, I had a co-worker who delayed getting his kids phones by getting them iPods. All the apps work at home on wifi, but you're not paying for a cell connection at all.

    Sent from my Pixel 5a using Tapatalk

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