Do ends justify means?

McGhee tackles controversal parental controls


Daphne McGhee, A&E Editor

I’m known for being naive. 

It’s no surprise, considering how my parents monitor almost everything I watch or what games and apps I have. 

I’ve had my own phone since September of 6th grade. Since then, I’ve had Google Family Link on it as well. There’s a lot that my parents can change, including choosing what apps I download, how long I can be on my phone, and how long I can be on certain apps. They can also track my location (which I don’t mind)  and can block apps and websites. 

I can’t have my phone in my room at night, and from 8:30 pm to 7 am, I can’t do anything on my phone at all, but call. And even then, I can’t have my phone in my room at night, so if someone calls me, I wouldn’t know until the next morning. 

According to, “39% of parents report using parental controls for blocking, filtering or monitoring their teen’s online activities. 16% use parental controls to restrict their teen’s use of or her cellphone. 16% use monitoring tools on their teen’s cellphone to track their location.” 

My parents are a part of all those percentages. I understand the tracking parts, but I’m 15. I need at least some privacy and freedom. If I get less sleep than I should and develop issues with my eyes from looking at screens too long, that can be seen as a learning experience. 

I can’t have any sort of social media other than Pinterest, and even then, I can only be on it for 40 minutes a day. I can only be on Google Chrome for 30, and on my phone in general for 2 hours. And furthermore, they blocked YouTube. Yes, there’s some bad that goes along with social media, but there’s good, too. I’d be able to see what my friends are up to, events my church is doing, and see updates from my favorite authors.

Some friends will send links to videos, but I’m not able to see them. I feel left out when I hear people discussing the newest TikTok from some famous person that I don’t know. I see some videos on Pinterest, but it’s not the same as watching them on whatever other platform they were originally on. 

My small group at church has a group chat on Snapchat, but I’m not allowed to have it. I kinda feel left out when they talk about what was said. Inside jokes, I’m not a part of. Funny photos and filters, and other more serious conversations. It’s not their fault I feel out of the loop. (I also blame not having an iPhone, since apparently, androids mess up group chats).

My parents know me better than anyone I know. They of all people should know I’m pretty responsible and trustworthy when it comes to my phone. I don’t look up anything bad, and I stay away from stuff that makes me uncomfortable. 

Writing this column, I’ve read a lot on the topic of teens on social media. Tons of apps have content filters and settings to block certain types and categories of photos and videos. If I had other social media other than just Pinterest, I would have so many topics blocked and privacy settings. But my parents don’t trust me enough. 

Maybe, just maybe, sometime within the next four years they’ll become a little more relaxed with the settings since I’m getting older and more responsible every day. The settings aren’t all bad though; I’ve learned how to not use up all my time, not be on my phone nonstop, I’ve not been kidnapped and if I was, my parents would be able to track me. I’ve also not seen anything that would completely ruin my innocence.

I appreciate the controls, (somewhat) because it means I’m not glued to my phone all the time and obsessed with whatever’s going on in the world of random people posting on the internet. I don’t really mind them all that much, but sometimes the settings aggravate me. Like if I need to look up an article or recipe on Google, but I already use up my 30 minutes of Chrome for the day, or if I’m figuring out how to do hair or makeup on Pinterest, but I use up all 40 minutes and can’t continue teaching myself til the next day.  

I know this column paints a portrait of over-controlling parents, but I realize they’re only looking out for my safety and online well-being. Hopefully, I won’t have to live with these restrictions forever, but I can deal with them until that day comes. After all, the ends justify the means, right?