Before I start off, I’m only discussing parental controls in regards to teenagers. I think it’s generally a good idea to put parental controls in place for children. You don’t want your eight-year-old watching porn, do you? (At least I sincerely hope you wouldn’t.)
I’m talking about teenagers. If you’re that parent who thinks you can stop your teen from watching his or her favorite shows, or even porn, you’re wrong. Porn is everywhere. Although not all of us have sought it out, we’ve all stumbled upon it accidentally. There is literally no way to shelter your teenager from everything. Actually, there is–if you lock your teen in a dark room and only let them listen to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star all day. So basically, no. You can’t do it. Almost half of high school students have already had sex, anyway. We know what it is. Most of us have seen it (whether firsthand, seeking it out, or accidentally stumbling upon it online). However, don’t be that stupid parent who assumes your teen has something to hide. Being online, most of the time, usually means social networking. The more you push at your teenager to tell you what she’s doing every second of the day, the more she’s going to hate you. Some even go so far as to rebel and do exactly what you’re telling her not to do.
Oh, but sex isn’t the only reason overly nervous parents try to shelter their “poor overexposed baby”! There’s the violence and thematic events. I get it, parents, but your teenager should be able to make his or her own decisions. Most of us know our limits. If we’re disturbed by something, we’ll stop watching it. I know I’m certainly able to make my own decisions, and I’ve willingly turned away from things that frighten me. I have no problem watching someone being murdered or tortured in a TV show, but I cannot watch a father yelling at his daughter. This doesn’t mean I’ve been “desensitized”, whatever the hell that means. I know the difference between reality and fiction. Of course if I saw somebody getting murdered or tortured in real life, I would react very differently. I’m not going to have nightmares. In fact, most of my nightmares come from my own past. If you’re trying to shelter your teen, chances are he or she has already seen things–things that might be even in a PG movie–that are more frightening than things in an R-rated film.
And don’t even talk about language or teen drug and alcohol use. Get a grip. We’re in high school. We know what’s up better than you do.
You know what I think is a good idea? Ask your teenager what really scares him or her. What would really be frightening to watch? You might be surprised. You know what frightens me to watch, besides what I mentioned earlier? Vomiting. Stillbirth. Not violence or sexual themes. Some teens may be frightened of these things, and it doesn’t make them any less of a person, or weak, it just means they’re afraid of different things. Overall, you need to let your teenager make his or her own decisions. Talk about fears together so you can be more accommodating with movie choices, instead of being a total asshole and blocking everything.
-An angry 15-year-old