Tracking your child’s behaviour closely can be damaging to your child’s skill development.
If you are a Netflix binge-watcher, you might have stumbled upon the show called ‘Black Mirror’. While most of the show highlights the harsh dystopian reality of technological advancements, the episode ‘Arkangel’ particularly highlights the negative effects of excessively monitoring your child’s online activity.
‘’Arkangel’’ envisions the consequences of extreme helicopter parenting where a parent overly concentrates on their child’s experiences and activities. Usually, this results from being too protective of their child or being too competitive alongside other parents, especially in a school setting. This can result in parents using monitoring software to closely track their child’s online behaviour.
Feeling protective of your child is often manifested in the form of ‘motherly’ instincts. The feeling of protecting and wanting the best for your children is the ultimate parenting goal. We love to share our children’s happiness but we often do not want to see them suffer. When they throw a tantrum for an ice-cream, we give them ice-cream. When they want the latest video game, we buy it for them. When they are not performing well in school, we fill their schedules with tuition classes. While these are the gestures of caring and loving parents, excessively shielding children from problems can affect their coping methods.
Being sheltered from reality can hinder your child’s coping mechanisms.
I’m sure most parents have observed that when their children topple over, most cry and demand for attention even though they are not in pain. As a parent, it is innate for us to lovingly embrace our child. This is a great example of parents giving in to their children’s wants and thus paves the way to overparenting.
Overparenting involves being excessively involved in childrens’ everyday lives, typically to protect them from difficult situations or help them succeed. Overparenting tends to deprive children of bad and negative experiences, which are crucial to a child’s emotional growth. One form of overparenting is excessive monitoring.
It is normal to safeguard your child from situations that compromise their safety, such as when they talk to strangers or go somewhere alone without anyone’s knowledge. However, if we control every friend they talk to or every online website they visit, it will prevent our children from developing life skills, such as communication and problem-solving on their own.
One of the negative effects that can stem from overparenting includes mental health issues. A study from the University of Mary Washington highlights that over-parenting is linked with higher levels of anxiety and depression in children.
Independent children survive better.
It’s also important for children to learn about independence from a young age as it affects their survival and life skills through adulthood. Excessive monitoring of your children can prevent them from being exposed to negative experiences and hence, they may find it harder to cope in difficult situations in their lifetime. A 2011 PEW Research survey discovered that 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds live with their parents and those who move out and move back in are referred to as the ‘Boomerang Generation’. This might be attributed to the heavy dependence on their parents to do their chores for them, as a child. Hence, when they grow older, they struggle to stand on their own two feet.
It’s surprising to note that even little acts like doing their homework for them can make children feel entitled and dependent on their parents!
Limits are necessary to ensure the safety of your children when they engage in dangerous activities. However, limiting them completely can strip them of their independence and can lead to them having a false perception of what life is going to be like in the near future.
‘’I’d rather monitor my child than to risk their safety and security!’’
Above is something that some parents may say. As a parent, children’s safety should be a top priority. That’s why there are parental control apps for parents to use to monitor their child’s online activity. However, it’s easy to fall prey to over-parenting and hence the usage of these apps should be kept in check. Children subjected to excessive monitoring by parents can end up more rebellious in their teen years due to their lost freedom when young.
Even so, parental control apps can help to ensure the safety of your children’s internet experience. Plano is an application that can help to limit your child’s smartphone usage, block apps, schedule device timings and much more. If used for the right reasons, it can be a useful tool in developing independence and responsible behaviour in your child’s life.
Letting go is one of the hardest things to do as a parent, but it’s usually the best for our child. Instead of monitoring your kids through a smart device while at home, include them in your daily chores. This gives them device-free time, strengthens your bond with them and teaches them about responsibility. Researchers even concluded that kids who did chores were more likely to become happy, healthy and independent adults.
The most important thing is to have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy, especially parenting!