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WATCH: How to strike a balance with parental controls to keep children safe online

This month, Congress has held hearings on the negative effects of Facebook and other social media companies–including young children.

PBS NewsHour’s Nicole Ellis on Oct. 29 spoke with Washington Post technology reporter Heather Kelly and child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Paul Weigle to unpack the potential risks are to children and what parents and other caregivers can do.

Social media companies have pointed to parental controls as a preventative measure. But experts explain that they are not an infallible solution.

One key consideration is age, said Weigle.

“Parental controls are especially important for younger kids. To give them unrestricted access to the internet. It doesn’t mean they’re not useful. They just don’t replace other traditional forms of supervision,” said Weigle.

But excessive vigilance and use of parental controls can also be counterproductive, said Kelly.
“Kids might be exploring their own sexuality or asking questions they don’t want to ask you. Even when you do use these tools you have to step back and let them breathe a little,” said Kelly.

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