Talking to your kid about responsible Internet surfing and limiting their screen time is paramount for raising tech-savvy kids who can use the Internet and all the accompanying stuff properly. But if you want to be sure kids are actually following your recommendations and behave while you are not watching over their shoulder, you should consider parental controls.
Parental supervision tools are easy and efficient to ensure your child’s Internet surfing is safe and secure. But it only works the right way if both you and your kid are open and fair about it. Spying will not get you anywhere, but the honest partnership will help your little ones understand why you are always watching over them. Here are the methods and tools you might consider using – choose one or couple of them if you want to ensure the best result. But keep in mind – nothing is absolutely perfect, and you will still have to talk to your kid about the right choices online.
- Home network.
This is probably one of the most global ways of managing all the information accessed in your home. In order to block the websites you are worried about, set up your home router the right way. Programs like Open DNS would give you extended options here. This method is perfect for kids of any age, though a bit robust.
- Mobile devices.
Any mobile device restrictions are effective for younger kids – once they grow older, they start resisting any limitations. And given tech-savvy kid will find the way to overcome them.
Anyway, most mobile devices have some rudimentary parental controls – without downloading additional software you would be able to restrict the content download and prevent any unwanted purchases. To have more parental options you might consider disabling the current browser and install the kids’ one with built-in filtering.
- Kids browsers.
These are somewhere between the safe browser and operating system. Designed as the sort of walled playpen, this type of browser fills the screen preventing kids from clicking out of it. It works perfectly for games and pre-approved websites. Good kids’ browser costs a dime – usually, you pay for monthly subscription. The free ones are likely to show ads and sponsored content.
- Web browsers.
Standard web browsers also have built-in restrictions you might use. Most restrictions aim at blocking websites (mostly porn) and only work for specific browser. So you will either have to disable other browsers on your computer or switch filters for them as well.
Browser filters would work for younger kids – but it is way too easy for determined older children to remove the filtering or simply install another browser.
- Operating systems.
Both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS have built-in parental control features, but to use them ensure you have the latest version available. You can set up a separate profile for each family member and limit the access when needed, and also apply browser filters for each user. It works just fine for any age, and the limitations are applied to everything accessed from the computer.
- Computer-software apps.
If the options mentioned above are not enough for you, try computer software programs. They broaden the options you already have and allow you to monitor the online activity of your kids. They also might have built-in malware protection features and screen-time limitation options. But keep in mind – with all the functions offered by such programs they are quite costly. Be sure to buy them only when you are 100% sure you actually need this much control.
Here you have it – the wide range of parental control options to consider. Choose wisely and remember that you will still have to talk to your kid on the regular basis about online safety and security.