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Parental Control is Dead — Long Live Family Rules!

Jason Sattler

06.06.18 3 min. read

Many of the kids starting school for the first time this year likely can’t remember a world where Facebook didn’t have 1 billion users. Snapchat has been around for nearly all of their lives and they’ve probably never seen a cell phone that can’t surf the web or livestream their lives. For them, TVs have always been “smart” and a vacuum that connects to the Internet is just another vacuum.

The era of expecting to be able to “control” your kids online is over — if it ever existed.

As the experts behind F-Secure TOTAL — which combines the award-winning protection behind both F-Secure SAFE and FREEDOME — began planning their updates for 2018, they spent a lot of times investigating how families use their devices.

“We found that parents were worried about keeping their kids from the bad stuff, but they also wanted to encourage them to explore and learn by playing without having to constantly be over their shoulders,” Timo Salmi, TOTAL’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, said.

Parents expect and enable their maturing digital natives to engage actively online with limited monitoring as if playing with toys alone in a room.

“Setting up Parental Control once on each device and then expecting that’s good enough just doesn’t fit with how families work any more,” Timo said.

Out TOTAL team decided it was time for a paradigm switch.

Instead of trying to lock kids off from the danger of the web, they would enable parents to set boundaries online in a similar way parents establish boundaries in the real world.

Enter Family Rules

Family Rules, which is available in both TOTAL and SAFE, isn’t just a new approach to digital parenting. It’s also a new set of tools that enable parents to manage limits, filter content and locate their kids’ devices remotely so they can guide their children online from anywhere.

“The beauty of the web is it allows families to stay in touch while remaining independent,” Timo said. “From the beginning, Family Rules encourages parents and children to work together so the child is an active participant in the decision on where limits should be set and why. And it’s a process that’s designed to grow with your kids.”

This handy chart allows you to see the very practical differences from the old mode of digital parenting to today’s new model:

Parental Control Family Rules
Parents set it up for the child Parents set it up with the child
Blind restrictions on content Clear, negotiable boundaries
One-size-fits-all Suggests rules and profiles based on child’s age
Time limits Scheduled limits including a bedtime setting
Parents need access to child’s PC to manage Parents can add restrictions or permissions from anywhere, on any device
Each device must be configured individually The same profile can to be applied to multiple devices

You can also use Family Rules to shut off Internet access for the entire family when, say, it’s time for dinner.

So now parents who use TOTAL aren’t just protecting their kids’ security and privacy, they’re also helping their kids learn the skills need to negotiate a world where even refrigerators have digital cameras in them.

That’s the kind of awareness that they can take everywhere, for the rest of their lives.

Jason Sattler

06.06.18 3 min. read

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