A Guide to Parental Controls

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Kids these days are growing up in an age when PCs, tablets, game systems and smartphones are commonplace in most homes and many will have access to these from an early age. While this has plenty of advantages when it comes to a child’s education and leisure time, there are also downsides. This is especially so when it comes to internet-enabled devices. Most parents will likely have some concerns about the safety and security of their child when it comes to their online activities and parental controls are an option that can help to give them some peace of mind.

Basics

Parental controls are an option on most devices that can be connected to the internet. They are essentially tools which allow an adult to control and monitor the activities of a child as they spend time on the internet. They can either be built in to a device and ready for use as soon as it is bought. Alternatively there is plenty of parental control software available on the market that can be purchased and installed at a later date. Either way, it can be a sensible idea for any parent to have the controls available to help ensure their child uses the internet safely and responsibly.

Different Types

There are a few different tools available that parents can use to control their child’s online activities, with the most common including the following.

  • Content Filters: These can be used to limit or deny access to websites that an adult deems are not appropriate for a child. This can be in terms of inappropriate words, phrases or images. In some cases the websites to be filtered are built into the software while other applications allow the parent to choose what should and should not be allowed.
  • Outgoing Content Blocking: Kids may not realize the dangers involved in revealing personal information online. This type of parental control is designed to block them from sharing their details in communications, chat rooms and other websites where they may be in contact with others.
  • Time Limit: This style of control can be used by a parent to limit the amount of time their child spends on the internet. Start and end times can be set to ensure that a kid only has access for a limited period.
  • Monitoring Tools: Rather than limiting or blocking a child’s internet activities, this type of control monitors what they are doing when they are online. It can do this in a few ways, such as logging the addresses of the websites they use or providing alerts when a child accesses a site that a parent deems inappropriate. Monitoring software can be installed so that a child is aware it is there and keeping an eye on what they are doing. Alternatively parents can use it without their kid’s knowledge.

Who are Controls Appropriate For?

Parental controls can be used for children of any age although typically work best for younger children. Most teenagers will generally have access to more computers than those in their own home and most are tech-savvy and smart enough to work around controls if they really want to. A simple parental control for teens and younger kids is to talk to them and try to make sure they understand the potential dangers associated with being online so that they know how best to avoid these.

The internet is a great tool for kids to learn and have fun, but it needs to be used responsibly. Parental controls are a common sense option for any adult to keep a check on their children’s online activities and ensure they remain safe and secure as they enjoy the wonders that the World Wide Web can provide.

 

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