If your kids are using a tablet, computer or smartphone to play games, socialize with friends, watch videos or use online services, parental controls can help you keep track of what they are doing. However, they are not a substitute for meaningful conversations about online safety and how to deal with potentially inappropriate content. You should also give your children age-appropriate strategies to cope with such content – from simply turning over their device and going to get an adult to reporting it online through official channels.
Parental control apps let you block websites, filter content, set time limits and monitor what your kids are doing on the devices they use — including their phones and tablets. Some of them are free, while others are more comprehensive and allow you to monitor multiple users at the same time. Some even provide a live map of your kid’s location through GPS tracking technology.
The best way to choose the right parental control app is to look at the features and decide what your child needs most. A good app should provide a simple, clear interface and allow you to adjust settings for each user. It should also provide a summary of the user’s activities and history, as well as allow you to view a detailed activity log.
Another important feature is the ability to set a specific curfew for each user. This lets you specify a daily and weekly time frame when the user is allowed to use the computer. When you click the Set Curfew button for a particular user, a grid with days of the week and times will appear. Click the blue boxes to block the user from logging on at those times, and click white or clear boxes to allow them to log on at these times.
If you have more than one child control to monitor, you can also select the option to apply these restrictions across multiple devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, game consoles and smart TVs. This allows you to manage the use of these devices more effectively, while also ensuring consistency in your children’s digital experiences.
One of the most significant drawbacks to using parental control software is that it can be difficult to prevent children from circumventing the restrictions put in place by parents. They may find ways to circumvent the filters and access content that is inappropriate or illegal. They may also use tools to delete their activity history or hide their tracks. In addition, many children are able to use illegal file-sharing programs to download movies, music and other content without paying for it. Some even use social network sites to post personal information that could be used by predators.
The most effective solution is a balance between parental controls and empowering your kids with the tools they need to make safe choices online. Instead of using parental mediation or parental control, consider a full-featured third-party monitoring service like Bark, Qustodio or NetNanny that offers constant device monitoring and offers the flexibility to customize settings to your family’s unique needs.