How false notions of moral autonomy scrambled American parenting

American parents are great at keeping our kids' bodies safe. But what about their minds?

A teenager.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

Meta's new safety tools for Instagram rolled out earlier this month, and they'll become available in the Family Center for other apps, inluding Facebook, and the popular Oculus virtual reality headsets later this year. Parents of younger users — in theory, this means teenagers over 13, which is Meta's minimum user age, but in practice it includes younger kids, too — will be able to monitor and limit their children's content choices and app time.

That might seem like unqualified good news given the known dangers of unfettered access to technology, especially for teens, and recent years' widespread, bipartisan calls for more regulation of children's tech use. But parental controls are more divisive than you might think, as many argue they're less about protection than control.

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