Four Types of Parents

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When Online Safety Expert Taylor Tompkins and I speak with parents about how to keep their kids safe online we encounter these four types of parents.  Which one are you?

Type 1:  Hopeless hapless OMFG we are doomed!!!!!

Defining traits:

  • Overrun, intimidated
  • “My kid has found out how to stream illegal movies from our home computer to our home TV and I have no idea how he does it or how to stop it”
  • Their 4th grade kid asks “Should I use a Linux box….because I built my own.”

Pros:  um..?

Cons:  They can likely become a door mat for their tech-savvy kid

Type 2:  Still in the fight, my kids know more than me, but I’m trying to do it right

Defining traits:

  • Their kids have Instagram,  so they follow them
  • Their kid has an iPhone, but charges in public area at night
  • Put parental restrictions in place on iPhone (To learn how – click HERE)
  • Their home computer is in public area
  • They read blogs by knowledgeable bloggers to learn about new technology kids are using

Pros:  They have a great attitude, since they follow their kids on social media they are able to guide their children to making the right online choices, their kid is probably open and honest about online activity

Cons:  They need to make sure that when their child steps into another environment (i.e. a friend’s house), that their child will still follow their rules

 Type 3: locked down!

Defining traits:

·         Rules of the house:

  • no instagram
  • no kik
  • no voxer

·         Their youngest child,  maybe six year old, is allowed to play Angry Birds on the family iPad but is NOT allowed to launch the YouTube app

Pros:  Strong family involvement

Cons:  Can be labeled as “the mean parents”,  run a higher risk of kids turning to lying, sneaking in order to use the technology their friends do

Type 4:  tin foil hat

Defining traits:

House Rules:

  • no iPhones
  • no iTunes (this would mean somebody has their PII – GASP!)


  • Was on Facebook, deleted account and was angry how long it took (can you BELIEVE it took 2 weeks?!)
  • Doesn’t check bank account online because that means someone has access to their banking information
  • Uses admin access to home wireless router to view logs of websites visited through Linksys
  • Has stood in garage with bolt cutters looking at MPOE of Comcast Cable coming into the house, for more than 3 seconds considered clipping the line cutting Internet connectivity permanently

Pros:  Ready for the zombiepocalypse!

Cons:  Can be socially isolated, missing opportunities to use technology to their advantage, their kids are DEFINITELY using their friends’ computers to do what they aren’t allowed to at home

From our experience what works best is perhaps a combination of the four.  Did you just come across Reddit in your kid’s browser history?  YES BE TYPE 4.  But, if your child came to you and admitted going to a site their friend suggested that was inappropriate, in our opinion it might go over better if you flow Type 2!

In the end, it’s your house. 

Your rules. 

Your vision for your family.

Don’t let your tech savvy kids have the final say – if you have questions, we’re here to help! Follow @tctompkins on Twitter for more advice and information.

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