Parental controls are features on digital devices which prevent children from accessing unsuitable and inappropriate content. These controls are most commonly found on TVs, laptops, mobile phones and video game consoles and provide parents with the reassurance that their children cannot stumble across anything they shouldn’t.
Despite the Pediatrics’ recommendation to select and view online content together with your children, the explosion of internet-connected devices has made it a challenge to monitor and limit screen-time habits. Kids ages 9 and younger spend 3.6 hours a day using a screen, according to a survey of 500 moms by Parents and Asurion, a cell-phone-insurance provider that also offers tech expertise.
With all that screen time, three out of five parents worry about exposure or access to inappropriate content, and 40 percent fear that strangers might contact their kids online. Still, most haven’t set up Wi-Fi parental controls or time limits on their kids’ devices, maybe because the process is so daunting. Here is how you can put in place controls;
Your internet at home
Parental controls can be set up through your internet service provider to protect your children when they use the internet at home. Normally, at the point of purchase, you can inform the provider that you would like restrictions placed on the internet activity. These restrictions could be limited internet access at certain times of the day or to age-restricted websites. Similarly, you will find that you can turn the parental controls off and on again manually. Simply login to your account through your provider’s website and select which controls you would like to put in place. Or, you can always telephone your provider and ask for controls to be added to your account.
However, if you require another layer of security, you can set up parental controls at the router point. This can be done by opening up a web browser and entering your router’s IP address (often found on the underside and looks like this “192.168.1.1”). Once you have entered the address, you will be asked for a username and password. From here you can create rules to block domain names for websites you do not want your child to be visiting
It should not matter whether your laptop runs Windows, iOS or another operating system, parental controls can be set up. Simply click the ‘start’ menu or onto the search tab on the dashboard. Next, click through to either ‘control panel’ or if you’re using a newer model, start typing ‘parental controls’ and click the option once it appears. By clicking onto parental controls, you will be given the option to add an account, allowing you to set up a separate account for your child with the necessary restrictions.
As mobile phones do not have to be connected to Wi-Fi, you will need to follow different steps to set up parental controls. On iPhones they can be found by following Settings > General > Restrictions. You will need to create a restrictions passcode to stop any unauthorized changes. Once you’ve done this, you can select which apps, features and content can be restricted. This includes internet services, TV shows, movies and in-app purchases.
On Android-powered phones, drag down from the top of the screen and select the settings app and then click ‘Users’. By adding an additional account here, you can set up any necessary restrictions. If you wanted to set up parental controls on Google Play, tap the Family Link app and select your child’s account. Follow settings > manage settings > controls on Google Play. This will allow you to choose the type of content you’d like to filter and restrict access to certain apps or games.
Please bear in mind that setting up parental controls can differ depending on the model of the device. So, if you become stuck, it’s always worthwhile to contact the manufacturer.