In Baby Boomers’ Defense: Parental Control  

parental control, baby boomer, security, children, predators,

In the final installment of “In Baby Boomers’ Defense”, Baby Boomers didn’t exercise parental control over their children’s internet usage in the early days of the internet. 

  • They weren’t aware of the underbelly of the Internet, and considering how expensive it was to set it up in their own home, they were not exposed to it often enough. 
  • Boomers’ varying cultural attitudes toward this new piece of technology may have shaped their stance on its usage. 

Looking back, being a kid in the early days of the Internet was an unhinged experience. The web got into our homes sometime in the early 2000s and I don’t remember any instance where my parents exercised parental control.  

But whether that was to our benefit or not is a different discussion altogether. But seeing what the Internet has become, I question why they never closely watched what we were doing in that cesspool of extremes. What do you mean by “while I was playing dress-up games, some predator somewhere was luring kids into his sick trap?” 

Lack of Awareness 

The eldest boomers, those born in 1946, would have been in their late 40s to early 50s and I don’t think anyone foresaw what the Internet would become. It began to share academic information between institutions in a much easier way. So, it makes perfect sense that our boomer parents weren’t aware of the underbelly of the World Wide Web – or of course, as we all know it, WWW. 

 Not to mention, it was a niche interest shared by tech enthusiasts and early adopters. 

Limited Access 

When you think about the Internet, your mind rightfully conjures up an image of “connecting anywhere anytime with anyone.”  

Everywhere you go, you can access it. Be it through mobile data or Wi-Fi. But that wasn’t the initial case. AT ALL! The cost at the time would have dented family finances. As a result, most would go to the library where everyone’s usage is monitored. How can they become proficient in their use and understanding of the Internet if they didn’t have access to it on demand? 

Cultural Attitudes 

In my opinion, cultural attitudes play a major role in our interactions with it. And this varies depending on three main factors: 

  • Geography 
  • Socioeconomic status 
  • Generational differences 

A boomer from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region would have handled it differently than someone from Far-East Asia, for example. Equally, a religious boomer would have handled it differently than an atheist.  

The difference between how American baby boomers received the internet and how Asian Boomers received it attests to this. In the US, the Internet was met with excitement and curiosity. Users, mostly composed of hobbyists, early computer enthusiasts, and those curious about the potential of this innovation, relied on what were basically online forums to communicate via text-based messages. In some parts of Asia, however, the majority were suspicious, viewing it as a threat to the traditional way of life. 

Final Thoughts 

My parents did not exercise parental control on the Internet. And I’d like to think that it was a smooth experience, for the most part. But had the Internet been an almost lawless land like it is today, I’m not sure that I would be saying the same. Today’s Internet is far scarier than it ever was and it’s not getting better anytime soon. In my belief, they were lucky that the immaturity of the technology protected their youngsters from unwanted and unsavory experiences.  

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Community section to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.