Parental Controls Settings for Smartphones and Devices

Parental controls settings for smartphones and devices

Using parental control settings is a great way to prevent your children from accessing unsuitable and dangerous content online.

Children nowadays are using technology and devices starting at a young age. They are always playing games, watching viral videos, or chatting with friends.

But do you know what risks your children are exposed to when they are connected to the internet? And more importantly, how do you keep your children safe online and prevent them from being victims of hackers and cyberbullying?

Fortunately, there are ways to control your children's access to certain content, limit their screen time and purchases, and monitor their online activities. These features are called parental controls.

It's important for parents to use parental controls on the smartphones and devices they allow their children to use because the internet is not always a nice and safe place for kids.

But how do you get access to these features?

If you're looking to take control over what your kids can and cannot do while using a device connected to the internet, we put together a guide which goes over the parental controls you can set up on your devices, along with some parental control apps you will find highly useful.


Why you should use parental control settings?

With the rise of technology, the risks of becoming a victim of cyber abuse are increasing also. And the weakest targets for cyber crimes are children who have access to anything and everything online.

Here are a couple of examples of risks your children might be subjected to online:

In-app purchases - You're probably aware that most games offer special items in exchange for real money. It's normal for kids to want their game characters to look as they wish, and because they don't have the same understanding over money as adults do, it's common for kids to make in-app purchasing without realizing their parents will have to pay for it.

Games chats - Children are weak targets when it comes to cyber crimes. And where do you find most kids if not playing different games? There are lots of mal-intended people crawling games chats in the seek of finding kids to trick them into giving them money or personal information.

Cyberbullying - The most common places where cyberbullying occur are social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), SMS, instant messages, emails, and gaming platforms. Cyberbullying includes posting, sharing, or sending harmful or mean content about someone else with the purpose of causing humiliation and embarrassment. Cyberbullying is not something to overlook as kids are most likely to become victims and it can cause serious psychological trauma.

Besides the above dangers, the online world is also full of other threats such as different types of malware. Hackers use various techniques to infect one's device with malware to get access to the device and steal private data and money. Your children might install such malware by mistake as they are well hidden on various websites, advertisements, and pop-ups.

Knowing what the risks are when surfing the internet, especially for children, should make you want to do all that's in your power to keep your kid safe online.

For your kids' online safety, using parental controls settings is the first step. You should also encourage responsible online behavior on your kids and make use of the parental controls apps out there. We'll talk about all of these in the following chapters.


What are parental controls settings?

Parental controls are a type of software that allows you to set up controls on your children's online behavior. They give you the opportunity to personalize what websites your kids can access and how they use the apps on the devices.

  • You can block and filter what type o content you don't want your children to see
  • You can restrict the information that's being shared
  • You can control when your children can use the internet
  • You can track how much time your children spend online
  • You can set up multiple profiles for each family member based on the content that's appropriate to them

Using parental control settings is a great way to prevent your children from accessing unsuitable and dangerous content online.

The first steps to protecting your children online

1. Know what they do online

Knowing what your kids are up to when they surf the internet is one of the most important steps to keeping them safe online. Regularly check your children online activity logs and take protection measures accordingly.

2. Teach them about online security

We talked about the risks your children are exposed to in the online world. Besides being aware of these risks yourself, you should also teach your children about social engineering techniques, ransomware, and the other tactics people use maliciously. Knowing about the dangers of the internet will make your children be more cautious about what places they visit online and who they talk to.

3. Make use of apps and add-ons

To better protect your children online privacy and security, there are dedicated apps and browser add-ons that allow you to control what places your kids can access online, track their online activity and phone location. I'll give you the best parental control apps in the following chapters.

4. Block unwanted websites

Another important step to protecting your children online is to block their access to unwanted websites. There are tools that allow you to easily do this. think about websites you don't want your children to visit and set them up. Keep on checking your kids' browser history to spot if they access websites you don't want them to and keep on adding more unwanted websites as you go.

5. Limit their time spent online

It's best to accustom your children to a regular schedule on when they can use the internet. Creating a routine will help you avoid the stress of not knowing when your children are online and what they do and will make it easier for you to track their actions.

These are the most important guidelines when it comes to protecting your children against the risks of the online world. Now let's go over more in-depth parental controls settings which you'll find highly useful to keep your kids away from online threats.


Types of parental controls

You want to make sure your children are using the internet safely and securely. Parental controls come to rescue and make it easy for parents to keep track of their children online activities. There are different types of parental controls as it follows.

Filtering and blocking - These types of parental controls allow you to restrict access to specific websites, images or words.

Blocking outgoing content - By obstructing outgoing content from your device to the internet you will prevent your children to send private information online or through emails.

Limiting time - You can set up for how long your children are allowed to use the internet along with the time of the day.

Monitoring tools - This type of parental controls allow you to track which websites your children visit online so you can better customize what they are allowed to see in the future. Some apps even have a feature to warn you when your children visit certain websites.


Parental controls settings for iPhone

You can manage which features, content and apps your kids can access on an iPhone or iPad directly from the device's settings.

The first step is to access Restrictions in Settings and set up a passcode to prevent your kid to turn everything back on again.

From the Restrictions settings, you have the possibility to

  • restrict certain apps
  • restrict specific content types
  • manage the device functions you children are allowed to use (such as deleting apps)
  • manage privacy settings
  • manage data usage

To enable restrictions on iPhone

  1. Access the Settings
  2. Go to Screen Time
  3. Turn On the Screen Time
  4. Go to Content & Privacy Restrictions
  5. Create a four-digit passcode
  6. Choose what type of content you want to block including websites, in-app purchases, location sharing, and much more.

Parental control settings on Android devices

If you let your children use your Android device, then you should be aware that you have the possibility of controlling some of the content your kids can access from the Play Store App.

To restrict content in the Play Store App

  1. Lunch the Play Store App
  2. Tap the hamburger button in the upper left corner
  3. Access the Settings
  4. Access the Parental Controls section under User controls
  5. Tap to turn on the Parental controls. You'll be required to create a four-digit passcode so your children won't be allowed to turn the settings back off again.
  6. Tap on each category and choose how restrictive you want it to be for each based on your children's age.
  7. Make sure you tap the Save button for the changes to take place

To restrict your children from making in-app purchases

  1. Lunch the Play Store App
  2. Tap the hamburger button in the upper left corner
  3. Access the Settings
  4. Tap on Require authentication for purchases
  5. Make sure the requiring for all purchases is enabled
  6. If your children try to download something that costs money, they will be required to enter a PIN that only you know

Parental controls apps

Devices have some built-in features that allow you to restrict your children's access to online content and apps. But they only go so far.

Fortunately, you can find lots of parental controls apps out there that give you the chance of controlling your children's online activity to higher extents so you can lay back and make sure your kids are safe online.

Here are some of the best parental controls apps to choose from based on your children's age and on the features you want to manage.

Zift Parental Control

Zift provides a free parental control app that has many features you'll find helpful to manage what your children dows online. with the Premium app, you also get the Net Nanny Smart Filter technology which analyzes the individual web page content your kids' access and decides real time if it is safe for them.

Features

  • Awesome app design
  • Limits your children screen time activity
  • Instant update n online searches
  • Alerts on porn, drugs, suicide, and weapons content
  • Remotely turn off the internet on your children's devices
  • View the children's location
  • Many more features with the Premium app

Norton Family Premier

From the provider of one of the best antivirus software, we also have Norton Family Premier which is a great tool for keeping your children safe online. Although it is not the cheapest option out there, the features it provides makes every penny spent worth it.

Features

  • Block specific websites and track the websites your children visit online
  • Track your children active screen time and set up specific times when your children are allowed to use the internet
  • Track your children's search terms to protect them from malicious content
  • Track your children's social media usage and the personal information they share online
  • Protects against your children sharing private information online such as phone numbers, addresses, or emails
  • See what videos your children watch on YouTube so you know if they are watching inappropriate content
  • Track what apps your children use on their devices
  • Remotely block your children access to the device

Kaspersky Safe Kids

The Kaspersky Safe Kids (https://usa.kaspersky.com/safe-kids) is a parental control app designed to look out for your kids online and beyond. It lets you see reports of your children's online activity and customize settings. With the free version, you get the online content filter, apps usage control, and screen time management features while the Premium version offers you more features.

Features

  • Manage their screen time
  • View their location and battery level
  • Monitor their public Facebook activity
  • Block access to websites and adult content
  • Manage the apps they use by time, age restrictions or category
  • Set a safe area for your kids and get alerted if they step beyond it

Qustodio

Qustodio is a parental control app that makes it easy for parents to supervise their children's online activities. The app gives you the necessary information about your kids so you can protect them against cyber threats.

Features

  • Block inappropriate content
  • Limit your children's screen time
  • Set limits for apps and games or block them altogether
  • Monitor your children's time spent on social media platforms
  • Track your children's location
  • Monitor your children's calls and SMS and set a list of blocked contacts

Conclusion

Keeping an eye on your children online activities is a must if you want to make sure you prevent your kids from becoming victims of cyber threats.

To keep your children safe online

  • Track the websites they visit on the internet so you know if they are seeing any inappropriate content
  • Teach your children about the dangers of the online world so they are more cautious about the places they visit online and the people they talk to
  • Use the parental control settings built-in our devices to limit your children access to unwanted content
  • Choose one of the best parental control apps to get more features for managing what your children can and cannot do while browsing the internet

Finally, you should also keep yourself informed about the online privacy and security measures you can take to make sure your online journey is secure.

Keep in mind that kids are not the only ones at risk when surfing the internet, we can all become victims of cyber attacks.

Diana Soare