Techie- Tech: Direction for Parents to Parental Controls

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Direction for Parents to Parental Controls


Direction for Parents to Parental Controls


Even though you've already talked to your kids about screen time limits and responsible behavior online , it's still very difficult to monitor what they're doing when you're not around (and even when you are). Parental controls can help you keep your children's Internet experiences safe, fun, and productive. Parental controls work best when used in conjunction with open communication and passing on your family's values, so keep that in mind no matter which parental control you choose.  

To determine what type of parental control is best, you need to think about the needs of your family. Some families just need to change their browser settings to filter inappropriate content, which is free. Other families need help reducing screen time for children. Other parents are comfortable just checking their children's cell phone or tablet from time to time. No matter what your need is, this guide can help you understand the wide range of options you have for monitoring your family's devices. Read below for answers to the most frequently asked questions from parents about parental controls.

What are the best parental controls if I want to:

Block websites. If all you want is to limit what your children can search, your best option is to activate Google SafeSearch in all the browsers you use. First, make sure your browsers have Google as their default search engine, and then turn on SafeSearch . It's good to take this precaution as soon as your kids start connecting to make sure they don't accidentally stumble upon something unpleasant or inappropriate. 

Block websites and filter content. If you want to prevent access to specific websites and limit your children's contact with inappropriate content such as adult games or pornography, you can use the parental controls that are built into your device's operating system. All major operating systems - Microsoft's Windows, Apple's Mac OS, and even Amazon's Fire - offer settings to prevent kids from accessing things you don't want them to see. To get the maximum benefits from these controls, you must be using the most up-to-date version of the operating system, and each user must log in with their own profile. The settings apply universally to all content accessed through the computer. Each of these operating systems works differently and has its own pros and cons. This is the best solution if you have young children who primarily use a device at home. Take a look at the characteristics of each: Microsoft, Apple,  

Block websites, filter content, impose time limits, watch what my kids are up to. A full-featured external parental control service, like Qustodio or NetNanny, will give you a lot of control over all of your children's devices (the ones they use at home and their phones). These services can be expensive (especially if you have multiple children to monitor), but the cost includes constant device monitoring, allowing you to see the ways children are using their devices. These parental controls can only keep track of accounts that your child knows about, and in some apps, you will need their password to monitor activity. For example, if the child creates a completely new profile on Instagram using a friend's computer without warning you, these parental controls will not track that account. 

Monitor my child's phone. To monitor your preteen or teen's phone, it's best to download an app like Bark, KidBridge (formerly known as TeenSafe), or Web-Watcher, which monitors text messages, social media, emails, and other mobile phone functions. These apps are especially useful if you are concerned about potentially risky conversations or questionable topics your child might be into. Bark, for example, notifies you when it detects words that generate an alert, such as "drugs." To monitor social media, you will need your child's account information, including passwords.

See my child's location. You can use GPS trackers like Find My Friends and FamiSafe to know where your kids are. However, they must have the phone on for this to work.

Monitor all devices on the network, limit screen time, filter content, turn off Wi-Fi. There are hardware and software solutions to control your network and your home Wi-Fi. To name just a few of the most popular: OpenDNS is a downloadable application that works with your router (the device that brings the Internet to your home) to filter Internet content. Circle Home Plus is a subscription service that syncs with your router and it lets you stop Internet access, create time limits, and add content filters to all devices on your home network (including Wi-Fi devices), as well as monitoring phones and tablets outside the home. Some Internet Service Providers, such as Comcast and Verizon in the United States, also offer parental controls features that apply to all devices on the network. Network solutions can be useful for families with children of different ages; however, Wi-Fi and network setup can be tricky and the controls may not work when children are on a different network. 

What are the best parental control options for iOS phones and tablets?

If you have an iPhone or iPad, Apple's Screen Time (or Time of use in Spanish) settings allow you to manage almost every aspect of your child's iOS device, including how much time children spend on each application and game and what downloaded. You can even turn off the phone at specific times, like bedtime. There are two ways to activate Screen Time, either by changing the setting on your child's device and password-protecting the setting or by activating the Family Sharing function that allows you to manage the functions from your phone. 

What are the best parental control options for Android devices?

Android devices can vary greatly in what they offer, so check your device's settings to see what options you have. If your child is under 13, you can download Family Link from Google to track and control their internet activity, including texting and social media, using your own phone. You can also use Android's Digital Wellbeing setting, which is built into the latest version of the operating system. This can help kids be more aware of their time online and hopefully help them reduce usage. It is important that you help your child to activate this setting, which will help him learn to control himself. 

Can I set parental controls on specific apps, like Snapchat ?

In addition to blocking specific people, most apps allow you to disable features that could pose some risks to children. For example, you can deactivate chat, set limits so that they can only chat with friends, and hide the profile so that it does not appear in search results. Some applications go a step further by allowing users to control their own use of the application. TikTok's Digital Wellbeing features help reduce the time you spend in the app and limit the appearance of inappropriate videos. Youtube allows you to set a reminder to take a break. To find out if your kids' favourite apps offer any kind of restrictions, go to the app's settings (usually a gear icon). Unless an app offers password protection for the settings (and most don't), your child can easily change them. 

Do I have to worry about my child turning off parental controls?

Yes, children can reverse parental controls. In fact, they can easily find the instructions on the Internet. Depending on the software you use, you may receive a notification that parental control has been changed ... or you may not receive it. Kids can discover all sorts of ingenious methods to keep doing what they want to do: talking to friends, staying up late playing Fortnight and watch videos that you don't want them to see. If you notice anything suspicious, such as a sharp drop in your parental controls, Wi-Fi, or data activity notifications after you've shut down the network, or anything else that indicates that parental controls aren't working the way it's supposed to should do so, your child may have discovered a method to avoid it. However, there could be another reason, as parental controls can be affected by system updates, power outages, and other technical issues. 

Will my child know that I am using parental controls?

It depends on the type of controls you install and the devices you have. You can install some parental controls without your children knowing, but Common Sense Media does not recommend doing so (unless you have a really serious problem with your child and need to monitor them discreetly). In fact, beware of companies offering covert monitoring services, as they tend to prey on parental fears. On the other hand, parental control companies that encourage open dialogue between parents and children are more useful, because at some point you will have to talk to him or her about what you find and it will be easier if your child already knows that. you are monitoring. If you decide to use parental controls, talk to your children and explain why you use them (to help them keep them safe);


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