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Parental Control: What does it mean? Why is it needed? How it works?

Updated: Jan 19


The ease of internet access exposes our kids to malicious content, inappropriate content, cyberbullying, cyber theft, and social media scams. So, it’s now more critical than ever before to protect them from these dangers.

As a parent in this digital age, you understand how hard it is to watch over your kids when they start getting online. The good news is that the same technologies have provided us with unique ways to keep our children safe. Depending on the extent of controls and devices, you can choose from a plethora of tools, software apps, or settings.


WHAT ARE PARENTAL CONTROLS?

These are features or settings that allow parents to block unwanted web content, limit screen time, restrict the use of risky applications, and more on electronic devices like:

  • mobile devices,

  • computer,

  • software,

  • digital television, and

  • video games

Do you feel specific content is for the mature audience or deemed inappropriate for your kids’ maturity level and age? There are ways to restrict their curious eyes.

We suggest that you talk to your children before implementing any of these options, as it is important that they feel that you respect their opinion and privacy. And explain then it is your duty to keep them safe.


WHY SHOULD YOU IMPEMENT PARENTAL CONTROLS?

As a loving parent, you need to watch what your little ones are consuming from their devices. This act will help in:


1. Fighting cyberbullying

Cyberbullies use text messages, social media platforms, dating sites, and the whole internet to abuse kids and other vulnerable people. For example, a cyber-criminal in a dating site may threaten your teen to send them money, failure to which they’ll post their conversations to their friends. Some of these cases have led to drastic outcomes.


2. Keep kids safe from objectionable content

The internet is awash with objectionable content. With proper parental control, the administration of your kids’ digital devices becomes effortless.

The controls allow you to refrain your kids from accessing inappropriate content. Features like age restriction settings prevent websites from showing adult content to the young ones.


3. Keeping your data safe

Hackers usually target kids and people that don’t understand the underlying cyber-threats. They may entice them to download programs and apps laden with viruses and malware.

Once these viruses get into your home network system and devices, these bad players can do whatever they wish. For example, they may steal your details and data and use it to milk your bank accounts dry.


4. Boost your familiarity with Technology

New apps, social platforms, and gadgets are cropping up each day. While adults tend to stick with the devices and technologies for several years before changing, children are so curious that they want to try anything that promises more adventure.

Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by kids. That way, you’ll not be clueless about how to set a limit on the new gadgets.


HOW CAN YOU EASILY IMPLEMENT PARENTAL CONTROLS?

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, setting appropriate controls on electronic devices is not rocket science. Let’s see some of the ways you can easily employ:


1. Block websites

As soon as your children begin to explore the world of the internet, take steps to ensure they don’t stumble across something yucky.

We recommend Google SafeSearch to limit what your kids can search in any browser. Here are the steps:

  • Set Google as the default search engine on the devices

  • Turn on the Google SafeSearch


2. Filter inappropriate content and impose screen time

The primary operating systems (Microsoft’s Windows, Amazon’s Fire, and Apple’s Mac OS) come with robust parental control settings to limit your kid’s curious eyes from inappropriate content.

Ensure you’ve:

  • updated the OS to the latest version

  • set profiles for each user- they should only log into their profiles

  • researched on the particular operating system’s parental control settings so that you don’t miss anything

The operating systems also allow you to limit screen time.


3. Use a third-party service to see what they might be up to

If you’re looking to exercise more parental control over your home’s devices, we suggest you go for a robust third-party service.

I get it- you may have to dig deeper in your pockets. But you get 24/7 visibility into your kid’s interactions with the devices. Isn’t it worth the cost?

However, it’s worth noting that these services can only monitor those browsers that you know your kids use. So if they borrow their friend’s gadget, it’s hard to keep tabs on your teen’s online activity unless you team up with the friend’s parents.


4. Monitor your kids' device

Do you suspect that small humans might be engaging in iffy topics or potentially risky conversations? You can download a robust parental control app to monitor their:

  • Social networks

  • Text messages

  • Emails

  • Apps

  • Browsing history

  • And other mobile functions

Some of these apps will alert you when they detect words like drugs. You’ll need your kid’s social media account’s password and email address or username to monitor them.

An easy way to do this is to follow or friend your child on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.


5. You may consider tracking your child's location for their safety

Sometimes kids’ curiosity may take them to unsafe locations. Install GPS trackers like Find My Friends on their mobile devices to track their whereabouts.

However, the trackers may not work if your kids' device goes off. But they can pin down the last location before the phone went offline.


6. Access control

The market is awash with software and hardware solutions that can help you limit the use of your home Wi-Fi and networks. The working of each solution may vary, but here are how the popular ones can serve you:

  • Filter online content by working with your router

  • Pause internet access

  • Create time limits

  • Define content filter parameters to Wi-Fi devices and other home gadgets

  • Manage devices outside the home

You can define different parental controls for different ages. However, mucking around in these Wi-Fi parental controls may prove to be a headache. Be sure to hire professionals for the job.


7. Change your router or kids' devices DNS to 1.1.1.3

Go to the DNS settings of your kids’ devices or router to 1.1.1.3. This action offers an extra protection layer against access to adult content sites and malicious software.


8. Educate your children

Education doesn’t happen only in schools. We also need to educate our children when it comes to the hazardous effects of uncontrolled internet usage. They’ll appreciate your efforts in trying to keep them safe. The following cybersecurity educational websites are some of the great resources


WRAPPING UP

Parental control is gaining more importance due to the increasing availability of the internet. The adverse effects of unrestricted access can be severe. So employ these methods to keep your home network, devices, and young ones safe while you enjoy being online.

Top 3 picks for parental control software, according to PCMag, are Qustodia, Kaspersky and NortonLifeLock.

Experts at techieriends.com can help you walk thru with or setting up any of the Parental control setting on your devices / computer or internet router.


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