Why I No Longer Install & Set Up Parental Controls

teach_ben_franklinAs owner and operator of The Computer Monkey, LLC, one of the many IT services I provide is to install and set up software applications.  Even before I started Sensible Cyber Parenting, I would install parental controls for families and that request has dramatically increased because of SCP. The goal of Sensible Cyber Parenting is to empower parents so that they have the knowledge and confidence to do it themselves, but some still want to hire me to do it. So until now, I have been. However, I discovered that by handling it for them, I was thwarting one of the primary goals of Sensible Cyber Parenting — empowering parents to protect their children online.  I will no longer install and set up parental control products for customers, but I will be happy to help them do it themselves onsite or over the phone.

I strive to set myself apart from my competition through the quality of service that I offer customers, so my decision was difficult because it seems antithetical to good customer service. However, leaving a customer unable to manage their own parental control product is not good service. Even installing them and training them after-the-fact is not as effective as actually having them “own it” by doing it. Like the Benjamin Franklin quote says, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

I do not represent any particular parental control product because I want to be able to recommend the best product for each family based on their situation and budget in an objective way. So, problems would occur when there was an issue with a particular product and the customer would call me. Issues with a parental control product genearlly aren’t going to be something that I can fix, as opposed to an error message in Microsoft Word. The problem is more likey to need the product’s support team.

For example, let’s say someone moves into a new house and ask which internet provider I would recommend and I recommend Cox. If their internet connection stops working, calling The Computer Monkey isn’t going to help. Cox is going to need to fix the problem. Additionally, I would not be able to work with Cox on their behalf (unless I’m sitting their with them) because they will work with the account holder, not me.  Plus, having a “middleman” in the mix only confuses and delays the process. This scenario works the same with parental control products.

Setting up and managing parental controls isn’t always easy but it is worth it (see post). It is often joked that kids know more about techology than their parents but, #ParentsNeedToKnow how to manage the controls they set up and demonstrate to their kids that the parents are in charge of the technology in their home. It is the goal of Sensible Cyber Parenting to do that.  Please contact us if you have a topic suggestion or a question about protecting your family.


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