We parents always want to keep an eye on our child’s smartphone use, however, when does it begin to border on helicopter parenting? What can we do about it?
What is helicopter parenting?
The term ‘helicopter parenting’ was first used by Dr. Haim Ginott in his 1969 book, ‘Parents & Teenagers’. The term refers to a type of parenting that involves parents who are overly focused on their children’s everyday experiences. While it is one thing to be involved in our child’s life, it’s another to bee too involved; being overly protective, overly controlling, and overly anxious about our child.
We’ve heard of all the dangers that lurk in cyberspace, and we parents have that natural instinct to protect our children from them. We’ve heard of multiple parent apps that promise to safeguard our child from the internet’s threats. It’s likely you’ve downloaded a couple of them yourselves. But these apps can infringe on your child’s privacy sometimes. What may solely be a protective measure to you, may be a source of internal agony for your child.
If an iPhone monitoring app is running in the background of the phone, it can detect most things that your child is doing on his/her phone. Imagine someone looking over your shoulder every minute – that may be exactly how your child feels. When children realise that they’re being watched, they will find ways to move around it. This maneuver may create more secrecy and distrust between your child and yourself, which isn’t ideal to say the least.
Here’s what you can do instead
While we all need to keep an eye on our children, it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap of helicopter parenting. Yes, we do have a responsibility to keep them safe from harm on the internet, but we also need to guide them to make informed decisions.
Take one step back before you install another iPhone monitoring app, and talk to your child instead. Opening up an honest conversation about your worries and the harmful content that exists on the internet is more beneficial than you think. Not only will your child understand your concerns and the rationale behind your anxieties, it also builds a strong foundation of trust.
You can take this opportunity to also tell your child about the different parental controls that you’ve installed on his/her phone. If you’ve installed the plano app and have scheduled device time limits, let your child know why. Let him/her know that these schedules are meant to keep their screen time in check. If you’ve blocked an app or two, be honest about your reasons behind it.
After all, a little conversation can go a long way.