Parental monitoring is a growing trend among many parents. With many children being added to the family via unplanned or unexpected pregnancies, it is important to have ways in which to protect your children from dangerous situations. One of the most common parental monitoring devices is a DVR (digital video recorder). This small and inexpensive device allows you to capture video footage of your home and the activities taking place in it without having to physically take the unit with you wherever you go. Parental controls can also be installed on computers, televisions and game consoles, cell phones and other digital media and web-based applications that enable parents to limit the viewing of inappropriate content for their children.
With a parental control device, parents can keep track of their child’s online activity. By setting up parental controls on your computer, you can catch offenders in the act by watching online adult movies or even surfing websites that are inappropriate. Parents can also monitor chat rooms, instant messaging and video chatting activities of their children. Through parental monitoring, parents can learn how their child uses their computer, what sites they frequent and what activities take place on their computer.
One of the most important benefits of parental monitoring is that it helps to reduce the incidence of inappropriate behavior among adolescents. Research has indicated that most Internet crimes, such as theft, fraud and pornography, are carried out through the use of computers. Many people report that they used parental controls to prevent themselves from becoming victims of online predators and to decrease the risk of their children meeting Internet strangers. Anti-social behaviors among adolescents often include joining online dating communities, visiting Web sites that are inappropriate, and sharing personal information through instant messaging. Some experts believe that there is a strong correlation between anti-social behaviors and Internet use.
Theories suggest that increased parental monitoring capabilities may lead to increased self-monitoring and decreased self-discipline among adolescents. One theory suggests that increased parental monitoring is one of the causes of higher rates of depression and substance abuse in adolescents. However, parental monitoring may help reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviors by helping children understand social rules and norms early in their social development.
Other possible benefits of parental monitoring are related to emotional dimensions. Most of us know that monitoring the Internet allows us to be aware of the words and images surfers use when communicating with others on the Internet. We also know that social networks, including MySpace and Facebook, allow us to make friends with people who are very far away from our own location. These new and emerging dimensions of Internet use are allowing us to form deeper and more profound connections with individuals who live hundreds, or even thousands of miles away from us. These types of emotional connections can lead to increased empathy, which in turn, could help reduce anti-social behaviors among adolescents.
In this study, researchers examined the relationship between parental monitoring and measures of adolescent antisocial behaviors. For this study, a sample of school students completed questionnaires regarding their parental monitoring policies and frequency of use of the Internet. A subset of these adolescents participated in a qualitative analysis procedure where they were given a questionnaire concerning their personal beliefs and opinions regarding parental monitoring. The results showed that parental monitoring policies were moderately positively associated with high levels of parental endorsement, but this association was not significant for measures of parental monitoring and related measures of Internet use. This study’s lack of significant results for several dimensions of parental monitoring may be explained by a sample size requirement and a relatively small number of adolescents involved in the study.