Monitoring your children’s internet activity is a tricky issue. On one hand, you want to respect their privacy. On the other hand, you want to be sure to protect them from inappropriate content. This is where parental controls come into play…
The key to protecting your children online – whether they’re using a phone, PC, laptop, video games, or any other way to connect with the internet – is to exercise preparedness. By setting up and monitoring the parental controls on the various apps, devices, and systems your children use, you get in front of any problems. It limits the chances your children will be exposed to something you don’t want them to see.
In this post, we’ll provide you with tools and resources to help monitor your children while still maintaining a respectful boundary.
Phone and internet activity and apps
Setting internet parental controls is critical when allowing your children on the internet as it allows you to give them the privacy to browse without the fear of them coming across inappropriate media. Below are some of the best internet parental control apps as well as links to parental control guidance for some of the most used websites and operating systems for both phones and laptops.
Common parental control apps
- NetNanny. At $29.99, NetNanny is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android OS. It does not offer geofencing and it is limited to use on one device.
- Norton Anti-Virus Family Premier. Norton is the more expensive option at $49.99. It is available on all systems except macOS and like NetNanny, it does not come with geofencing. There is no limit to the number of devices on which you can use it.
- Kaspersky. The anti-virus software giant’s parental control app is only $14.99 but offers a free version. Unlike the previously mentioned counterparts, it does include geofencing. Like Norton’s app, Kaspersky has no device limit.
- Qustodio. This app is $39.95. You can use it on up to 10 devices.
Google has an entire section of its website dedicated to explaining its views on parental supervision, Google parental controls, and general tips for families navigating the internet. There is also information available online covering Google Play parental controls and Google Chrome parental controls.
Amazon’s Help site has a guide on how to set up Amazon parental controls for in-app purchases.
Apple offers detailed instructions on establishing iPhone parental controls, iOS parental controls, or iPad parental controls via the support section of its website. Apple did remove some iPhone parental control apps from the Apple Store earlier this year due to privacy concerns.
Instagram profiles are set to “public” by default, so to safeguard your child’s account you’ll need to set it to private if you so desire. Parental controls for Instagram are available via the app.
Google support has tips on how to set up YouTube parental controls.
The FCC offers guidance on setting parental controls for traditional televisions. The text below is from the FCC website:
“Generally, use your remote control to click on the menu. Look for the “set up” or “main” settings and then follow the prompts to words such as “parental controls” or “V-Chip”. Once there, you will need to enter a password. After that you will be able to block TV programs using ratings, times, or specific shows.”
As more and more families “cut the cord,” however, they’ll need to keep up with how to set parental controls via the various entertainment-based streaming services. Below are links to three of the most popular platforms for streaming television: Netflix, Hulu, and SlingTV, along with one streaming TV device, Roku.
Netflix’s support site offers tips on how to set up Netflix parental controls both at the account and profile levels.
The Hulu Help Center breaks down how to restrict children’s access to mature content on the app.
Sling’s support center has instructions on how to set its parental controls.
Laptops and PCs
While children spend a lot of time on their phones, laptop and PC usage are still common in most homes. Monitoring their internet usage is just as important on these devices as it is on a phone or tablet. Let’s take a look at two devices – Google’s Chromebook and Apple’s MacBook – and one PC operating system, Windows 10.
If your child has a Chromebook, Google has detailed steps on how to sign in your child and set up Chromebook parental controls. It also has information on how the Chromebook interacts with your child’s Google account.
Windows 10 parental controls are available via Microsoft’s support site. It also includes information on how to set up your Xbox one parental controls.
21% of all gamers in the U.S. are under the age of 18. With online multiplayer games becoming more popular than ever over the last 10-15 years, monitoring your children’s access to video games is critical.
Nintendo Switch’s parental controls are listed via an FAQ on the Nintendo website.
See the above link to the Windows 10 parental control site for information on Xbox One’s parental controls as well.
Having the sites mentioned above at your disposal can allow you to set up the proper parental controls without your child even knowing. Preemptively setting the standard allows you to restrict access to sensitive material without having to alert your children that you did. By doing this, you maintain trust by not seeming overbearing about device usage while still maintaining that appropriate level of protection. You can also tweak the controls as your children get more mature and are able to process different types of content, but you can do it at your own pace.
For more information on how to manage your devices, visit our website or contact us today!