When we were kids, parents had to worry about the dangers of being out at night or misbehaving in other people's houses. Nowadays, a whole new realm of potential threat has opened up thanks to the internet. Cyberbullies, predators, information thieves, and the list goes on and on.
We know that, at some point in your life, you've worried about what your kids have been up to online. Whether on social media, websites, or even apps—with the pace of technology today, it can be hard to keep track of everything.
From little Timmy playing Fortnite or your daughter who only watches YouTube, it’s tricky to find the right balance between giving them autonomy while surfing the internet and making sure they don’t fall prey to cyber predators. To help you out, there are parental controls that will protect them without being too pushy.
So grab that cup of coffee (or glass of wine), settle in for a read, and let us navigate the exciting world of parental controls together!
What is parental control for internet?
Parental controls, sometimes referred to as family settings or filters, are an invaluable tool for parents to help manage and control their kids’ internet usage. Parental controls allow parents to set specific limits to the websites, apps, and online activities their children can access and are also used to protect them from cyberbullying, offensive content, and unsafe downloads.
They’re a great way for parents to feel in control of what their kids are exposed to online without having to look over their shoulders every time they use the internet. Some parental controls are pre-installed on home networks, while others require parents to do an extra bit of work by downloading software or setting up third-party accounts.
3 Benefits of Parental Controls
Parental controls are a great tool for protecting children from inappropriate content and activities on their devices. Not only do they keep kids safe, but they can also be beneficial to parents as well! Here are just a few of the many benefits these controls offer:
1. Provide a piece of mind for parents
As their name suggests, they allow you to control which websites your child can access, providing peace of mind that they won't be visiting sites with inappropriate content or pages you don’t want them to have access to. So, for example, you can prevent them from playing certain games that are not appropriate for their age or entering social media.
These apps and softwares can even block scammers and hackers from trying to access your family's devices, preventing you from getting your information stolen by others.
With parental controls and tools in place, parents can spend more time teaching their kids about the tech skills necessary for digital literacy and life, rather than constantly worrying about what kind of content their children are being exposed to. This empowering approach gives kids the opportunity to explore an often confusing world at their own pace, allowing them to learn more as they go and grow without fear of hazardous content or interactions with others.
All of this will help you relax knowing that your kiddo is protected from any harm.
2. Limit screen time
By installing a parental control you can limit the amount of time your child is allowed to spend online each day so that they don't get distracted and start procrastinating their homework.
Without control, kids can spend up to 9 hours using the internet. This can cause trouble with their eyes, mental, and physical health. Plus, the excessive use of the internet is considered an addiction.
Limiting your kiddo’s screen time will help you balance between using electronic devices and doing other things like outdoor playing and doing their homework.
3. Protect our kids privacy and give them more freedom
The good thing about parental controls is that they act as a shield for your kid’s internet life without you having to be with them 24/7.
Kids get to enjoy the latest video streaming apps, but with parental control features, parents can set limits such as time spent online or inappropriate content restrictions. It's like a little slice of freedom that kids aren't too aware of; they just appreciate having access to watch their shows. Yet this extra freedom for kids allows for greater safety and protection from potentially dangerous sites or people.
Best Parental Controls for Kids
Taking control of your kid's online presence is no laughing matter, but it doesn't have to be a chore either. While there are plenty of complicated systems and settings you can use to limit their access, the best parental controls for kids are those that work for both you and them. Here are our favorite ones
1. Basic parental controls
With the prevalence of technology, parents are increasingly looking for ways to control what their children can access online, and both Google and Apple are prepared with parental controls.
Google offers a free app called ‘Family Link’ which provides parents with the ability to manage the apps their children can use, as well as their screen time. You can install it on all devices that use Google.
Meanwhile, Apple has ‘Screen Time’ that allows you to limit iTunes and iStore purchases, prevent explicit and certain web content, set restrictions, and restrict certain games. This is available for iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Both of these helpful tools allow tech-savvy parents to ensure that their kids are spending time on appropriate activities while they browse the web.
2. Additional parental controls
Bark - The best parental control app
Bark is our favorite parental control app, perfect for keeping tabs on your little ones while they navigate their digital world. Using their Content Monitoring tool, Bark can track your kiddo’s social activity and alert you in case of any dangers, like cyberbullying. Additionally, it’s great to block websites and set up screen time.
The app offers a wealth of innovative features that make parenting more effective: customizable alerts and rich insights; advanced search capabilities; and multilingual support.
What we love the most about Bark is that you can set up which words and phrases you want to receive alerts for, giving your kids some privacy.
Net Nanny is the perfect all-in-one parental control app for any parent looking to manage and keep up with their child's online activity. The app provides a simple setup process, so users don't have to be tech whizzes to know how to use it.
With features like websites, apps, pornography blocking, parenting insights, real-time alerts, and screen time management, Net Nanny gives parents the flexibility to customize their protection settings according to the age of their children.
Plus, it's compatible with a variety of different devices including Apple phones, Android phones, and Windows PCs—so you can be sure your kids will stay safe no matter what gadget they're using!
Canopy is revolutionizing the way parents think of parental control apps. It makes the process of keeping tabs on digital activities simple and intuitive, while also providing comprehensive protection to help children be safe online.
What is good about Canopy is that, more than blocking websites and apps, it also allows you to block certain URLs and categories like “gambling” or “porn”. If that wasn’t enough, this software has special sexting prevention and location alerts.
If you want to keep learning about this topic, we’ve created a downloadable and FREE cheat sheet where talk further down into parental controls for kids. Download it here