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What are Parental Controls?

parental controlsWe live in a time where all of our information and identities exist online. We post pictures of our friends and ourselves, and at times forget that we are exposing ourselves. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m an adult, I can take care of myself.”

Sure! But what about your little ones?

Children born after 1995 grew up in a world connected by the internet and mobile phones. They start using mobile technology from the time that they are 3 or 4 years old. This means that they will be able to learn how to use the internet and mobile phones much faster than us adults.

By four or five years of age, they will know how to navigate all kinds of phone apps and software. Imagine what they’ll know how to do by the time they are eight or ten years old.

Perhaps even before they reach eight or nine, they will have learned how to take selfies, make videos, browse the web, type on a keyboard, send emails and messages over communication apps. Having these skills enables our youngsters to use all kinds of amazing web services and platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube.

Basically, given their early start, everything that you and I can do, your children can probably do better.

Does this mean that you ought to restrict their access to technology? No, of course not. Our entire future will most likely require tech-savvy youth. However, there is another option that you should consider: parental controls.

What are Parental Controls Used For?

Instead of depriving your children of all of the wonders of the tech universe, just restrict access to specific websites, certain mobile phone functions, or specific types of content. This is exactly what parental controls do. On the one hand, your child will still get the tech experience they need to survive the modern world. However, on the other hand, they won’t be exposed to the many dangers present in the cyber world.

Protect Your Children from These Dangers

It would be impossible to list all of the unfortunate problems and scoundrels that hinder internet safety for children, but here are a few big ones to consider:

  • Sexual Extortion
  • Online Predators
  • Cyberbullying
  • Identity Fraud

Don’t worry! Continue reading for suggestions on how to use the best parental control software to protect your children from such dangers.

What Can Parental Controls Do?

The following are functions typically offered by parental control software:

  • Filters can block specific types of content such as pornography
  • Profiles created for each individual family can give everyone different levels of access to the internet or applications
  • User controls can restrict website or application access to mobile functions such as sharing documents, photos, videos, etc
  • Set limits on time to make sure your children don’t spend all of their time on the internet
  • Real-time analysis of website content and instant alerts in case your child is trying to access certain websites

Parental Control software would normally provide all of these functions. However, it’s also true that you’re not going to invest more time in learning how to use such complex software.

Where to Find Such Parental Control Functions?

You can find such parental control functions in many different places. Try tinkering with the following to find such controls:

  • Mobile phones and tablet computer settings
    • Usually, you can also create profiles with different levels of access
  • Broadband/ ISP settings
    • These settings would impact all of the computers and devices connected to this broadband/wifi/router
  • Computer profile settings
    • Will affect individual accounts on a phone or computer
  • Internet service account settings
    • Youtube and facebook settings can also give parents greater control over what types of content their children are accessing on these platforms

Which Functions Should I Block or Limit?

The number of functions available can definitely be overwhelming to learn. However, if you follow these steps you should easily be able to determine what to do:

  1. What specifically are you trying to protect your child from?
  2. Ask yourself if you can trust your children to protect themselves from such dangers.
  3. Make a list of device functions, websites, and platforms you think will be impacted by your efforts to protect your child from such dangers?
  4. Going through each item on the list and determine what type of control you’ll need to impose:
    • Filter
    • Time restriction
    • Device functions
    • Application access to device functions
    • Control access to specific websites
  5. Also, determine if you want to monitor or limit their activity

About Us

KidGuard's sole mission is to protect your children online. Our team spends every waking hour thinking about how to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. KidGuard employs a team of researchers and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems and also runs a popular child cell phone monitoring software to allow parents to stay involved in their child's life online.
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