The rationale behind the idea of parents being aware of what their teens and tweens are doing online is fairly straightforward – parents should be able to apply parenting wisdom and direction to kids’ online activities as they do in the real world.
We understand that parents who are looking for digital parenting help have the choice of some alternatives based on a couple of different models. Parents can either install software that block their kids from accessing certain types of websites and apps, or install software on their devices that monitor certain things, or every thing that a minor does online.
We spoke at a parent seminar last week and one parent asked something along the lines of, “I already have ABC software installed on my child’s devices. I can see everything that she does and every message that she sends online. How is your service different?”
We read the last part of that questions as, “Why is your service better?” It’s a good question, and one that we get a lot. It’s also something we debated heavily at the time that we decided to launch ThirdParent, and ever since. With the ThirdParent solution, there is no software to install on devices, we don’t ask for account names or passwords and nothing online is blocked. There are two key variables that led us to design ThirdParent as we did, and both may be important considerations for many parents: time and privacy.
Time – Let’s say you have elected to use software that blocks certain websites and apps. Are you sure that your child is not accessing that media from a friend’s house or phone? Are you willing to follow her around 24×7 to make sure? Are you sure that you have blocked everything that you deem inappropriate? It takes time and effort to be sure. Alternately, if you are using keylogger or other software to track her every move, do you have time to review everything? That could be thousands of messages or social media posts per month.
Privacy – The founders of ThirdParent are all parents ourselves, and care a lot about our kids’ privacy (and your kids’ privacy). We believe that as long as some things remain private, we shouldn’t be looking at them. Of course if there are signs of a serious problem, all bets are off, but we treasure the trust that we’ve established with our kids and want to maintain it if at all possible.
On top of that, teens are typically way ahead of their parents when it comes to tech savvy. Filters can be disabled or worked around. The ThirdParent solution looks at publicly available profiles, posts and messages only, and gives parents a quick and easy-to-use snapshot of what they may considerable unsafe, questionable or bad.
We save parents time – lots of it – and private conversations stay private. We think we have the best solutions available to keep kids safe and their actions responsible online.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.