By the BBC. It’s not really a call, though. It’s a report of some research the authors did. Why do journalists always insist on calling research reports and opinions “reports”? Anyway, if the article is accurate (The BBC doesn’t link to the report and I don’t have time to track it down right now), the research doesn’t say anything startling:
Their report came to three main conclusions:
- Children who have positive offline relationships with their parents are more likely to navigate the web in a sensible way
- Supportive and enabling parenting has a more positive impact than restricting or monitoring internet use
- Teenagers left to self-regulate their internet and social media use are more likely to teach themselves new skills online and maintain positive online relationships
In other words, blocking and monitoring is no substitute for good parenting.
I’m all for this. (Good) Parents are already used to negotiating with their children over bedtimes, what parties they can go to, how long they can stay, whether or how much they should drink… A parent might not have a good appreciation of the dangers their children face on the Internet. Perhaps this makes them bad parents, I’m not exactly qualified to judge.
But I think there’s a place for software that blocks and monitors children’s access to the internet: how else are they going to learn how to break it? How else are they going to learn how to resist surveillance or even that they can resist surveillance?