Children spend a lot of time online these days, and with the many dangers lurking on the net its important to be aware of and implement measures for their safety.
Let's consider what Parental Controls entail, where they can be found, and how to implement them effectively...
Firstly, "Parental Controls" is a term used for applications or operating system features designed to keep the parents in control of the amount of screen time a child is allowed, the sites they visit, and to stop children from accessing paid apps or services. It can also protect children from age-inappropriate or explicit web content.
Protect the Whole Home
When at home you can protect all members by using a DNS service. This filters content to block requests to sites flagged as malicious and/or inappropriate content.
Configuring a DNS service on your household router will ensure any device connected to the network will use that DNS service. The nice thing about this approach is that the DNS service is free. There are paid services which may offer advanced features, but for basic protection there is no cost.
It's good to keep in mind that the above mentioned DNS protection will only work on the network on which it has been configured, i.e. the home network. To protect devices that can join an alternate network (such as a mobile network or devices that leave the house to join an external Wi-Fi network), you need to configure protection software on the device itself.
You could configure a DNS in the individual device’s settings, but since your child might easily discover how to turn this off it is not 100% effective. One step up is a password protected app that forces the device to use a safe DNS.
Tip: For Malware and Adult content blocking, we suggest changing your router DNS to 126.96.36.199; 188.8.131.52
Third Party Apps. Each has different features. Some allow you to monitor screen time, the use of inappropriate language, or alert you to language that would indicate possible cyber-bullying. Others focus on checking that applications can only be installed by the parent, that malicious sites cannot be accessed, and that inappropriate content can’t be searched for or navigated to.
Since each household uses a variety of devices, it is good to choose an application that includes the features you need and that supports multiple operating systems (ex. Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS). Ensuring it will work on all of your family’s devices will add to your peace-of-mind.
Tip: Many Antivirus providers (such as Bitdefender) now bundle Parental Control features with their “family” versions of their Antivirus software. Another highly rated app is Mobicep.
Operating Systems Have Built-in Parental Controls.
For instance, iOS lets a parent restrict certain apps, content types and ratings, device functions (like deleting apps), privacy settings, cellular data usage, and more.
Windows 10 allows parents to create separate accounts for kids & monitor their usage activity, internet activity and browsing history, and set time limits for accessing the system. You can also set it to block any website or app you specify, purchase and spending limits, and give them selected privileges to access the system. You can also access your child’s email account and add it to the parental control settings.