What is the best way for parents to use parental controls and privacy settings to keep kids safe online?
If parents are having regular conversations with their children about their use of the internet, technology and social media, it is much easier to demonstrate the benefits of parental controls and privacy settings. Parents can explain that they want their children to be able to explore and learn online, but that there must be balance and boundaries.
Parental controls may be useful in helping parents – and their children – find that balance.
Parental control software and apps are a technical support with functionalities ranging from time, activity and content restrictions to monitoring and tracking tools. Depending on the age and maturity of a child, certain parental controls may be more appropriate than others.
Parental controls can be very useful for some parents, but they should be considered as just one measure of prevention and protection. Children still need to be able to explore the internet, technology and social media in order to take advantage of online opportunities, encounter risks and build resilience.
Parental control tips
Parents can introduce parental controls into their everyday family life by involving children in their application and use.
Parents can show what the control will limit and block and explain why it is important.
Consider first, how you can be the ‘parental control’ with regular involvement in your child’s digital life.
Ask “how was your day today,” followed by “how was your online day” today, or some similar variation.
Remember that many technical parental controls can be circumvented by a simple online search for “how to disable parental controls”.
Parental controls can be appropriate at different times of a child’s development – and especially as parents’ guide their children in the development of executive functioning and self-regulation skills.
Remember that parental controls are only good on your child’s device and will not restrict content viewed from a classmates’ device.