People continue to explore and test the limits of technology, giving birth to newer smartphone functionalities and better internet use. Unfortunately, no matter how good the intentions are, it’s how people make use of technology that affects its users. The various online dangers like cyberbullying and hacking are perfect examples of technology-gone-wrong situations.
The presence of cyber threats, however, must not outweigh the benefits and advantages of such technologies. For instance, social media platforms fostering a positive and supportive environment could significantly aid in the development of your kids’ social skills. It’s just that, to make their overall experience safe and educational, certain internet controls and phone use rules must be put in place. Together with utilizing the best app to monitor a child’s phone, parental controls can go a long way in virtually protecting your kids. For further assistance, here’s a guide for parental controls for smartphones and the internet in 2021.
Parental Controls & When To Use Them
In a nutshell, parental controls are meant to regulate the use of a device, application, web page, or any digital platform. These are sets of commands with programmed triggers, making security protocols streamlined and automated. Parental controls make use of customizable algorithms to allow parents and guardians to adjust the settings based on what they think would best suit their kids’ needs.
To enable such security settings, you could solely rely on built-in features or add an extra layer of protection by installing third-party parental monitoring software.
- Built-In Parental ControlsAs the name implies, these parental controls are built into the device or software that your kids are using. All you have to do is to activate or enable these settings. iPhones and Android phones differ in the parental controls offered as they utilize different operating systems and app stores.
On iPhones, parental controls offered include Screen Time, Content & Privacy Restrictions, App Limits, and Family Sharing. On Android phones, parental controls include the Google Play App Store Restrictions, device lock screen options, Data Usage restrictions, and more.
- Third-Party Parental ControlsAs the name implies, these are parental controls offered by third-party parental control software or applications. The best Android parental control tools, for instance, offer more extensive programs to keep your kids’ Android devices from malicious software like viruses, Trojans, and adware. Plus, the best parental control software would offer additional advanced features like text monitoring, GPS tracking, and social media regulation.
As previously mentioned, parental controls regulate access to any tech-run gadget – anything from hardware to software. So, for safer and more protected use, these must be activated at all times on:
- Personal computers
- Handheld gaming systems
- Video game consoles (like Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch)
Moreover, since the sole purpose of parental controls is to allow the use of a certain device, application, or software without compromising the user’s safety, these could be activated not only for kids, but also for employees. In fact, even if you’re a professional tech-savvy adult, per se, enabling these on your personal devices could also be beneficial in various ways.
Monitoring The Internet
Aside from regulating their social media use, gaming habits, or text messaging, monitoring your kids’ internet activities is one great feature of built-in or third-party parental control software. This is because though there are certain dangers brought by utilizing a smartphone, most threats are related to internet use. Here are some of the online dangers you must look out for:
- Mature, sensitive, or adult content.
- Age-inappropriate expressions.
- Profanity words and suggestive phrases.
- Fake profiles and misleading lifestyles.
- Life-threatening challenges or trends.
- Child grooming
So, if you decide to install an iOS or Android parental control app, for instance, see to it that it offers the best internet filter features. Then, aside from utilizing the best parental control software, here are some precautionary measures to take.
- Place computers in common areas.
- Create house rules on when and how often kids can utilize their cell phones.
- Set passwords on internet-enabled applications or regularly update your home Wi-Fi password.
- Turn off or disable your internet router if no adult is present.
- Review and enable web filtering settings on your network or devices.
- Supervise online accounts and mobile apps that have a chat feature.
- Only install kid-friendly apps or allow access to kid-friendly sites like YouTube Kids.
- Delete or uninstall any suspicious apps or software, especially those offering “private messaging” or “self-destructing content” features.
- Browse through all received or downloaded files to ensure there’s no inappropriate content.
- Review the content or genre of influencers, artists, or famous pages they follow online.
Cell Phone Parental Controls
Smartphones continue to advance with new apps and innovations. To date, some of these compact mobile devices function as full-size computers, offering similar or more advanced functionalities.
The virtual world is like a battlefield, especially for younger users. So, when you decide to give your kids their first smartphones or grant them personal access to the internet, don’t mindlessly do so. At least equip them with weapons and shields in the forms of parental controls. As parents/guardians, you can’t just let your kids enter the digital world unprepared, expecting them to figure things out on their own.
Again, online dangers are as real as those we encounter in the real world. Good thing is, as experts create new devices or software, they also design programs that protect their devices and their users. The best parental control app for iPhones and Androids, for example, is specifically developed to ensure the safe use of these electronic devices. Such parental control software provides real-time remote access to activities initiated within the target phone. Hence, through the help of these parental control programs, it’s easier to identify, isolate, and address certain issues.
Before you resort to installing third-party parental control software, be sure to enable and maximize the built-in iOS or Android parental controls first. Readily available parental controls and security settings provide a first line of defense against cell phone dangers.
Depending on which best parental control app you avail of, you’ll gain access to a wide array of parental controls, including:
- Screen time limit
- Block phone numbers
- Filter inappropriate content on apps and search engines.
- Block mature sites
- Restrict access to certain applications
- Disable in-app purchases
- Track real-time locations
- Text messages monitoring
- Files scanning
Education is Key
The thing is, like in most parenthood aspects, proper education is the key. Equipping your kids’ devices with parental controls or buying them parental control software can surely aid in protecting them. However, by teaching them phone and online etiquette and nurturing them to become responsible cybercitizens, you’re better helping them.
Through proper education, you’re not merely protecting them; rather, you’re making them capable of protecting themselves. Hence, the proper knowledge and up-to-date information you’re imparting them would work better than built-in parental controls and best parental control software features combined.
Instead of suppressing their curiosity about the digital world, let them take on virtual adventures without worrying so much. Easily achieve this with proper education, the best free internet filters, and paid parental control Android/iOS apps.
Here are some important things to cover with your kids.
- Present all online and phone dangers and their consequences.
- Discuss what internet parental controls or safety nets can accomplish.
- Remind them not everything they see/read/hear online is real.
- Establish an open two-way communication, making it easier for them to reach out to you for help.
- Encourage them to approach you first before doing anything huge or bold.
- Train them to keep confidential information secure and limit the personal details they share online.
- Instruct them to only engage with people they or you personally know.
- Make conversations about cyberbullying, online dating, or sexual preferences casual and normal.
- Initiate talks about their online activities and be more involved with their virtual life.
- Cell Phone Parental Control Tips for Parents:Aside from utilizing built-in parental controls and installing third-party security apps, creating a cell phone contract with your child could go a long way.
- The Importance of Parental Involvement in Digital Literacy:Parents are as important as education when it comes to helping children become effective and responsible cybercitizens.
- For Parents: Steps to Keep Your Child Safe Online:Never underestimate the harm an internet predator can bring to your child’s life; equip your kids with proper knowledge.
- The Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Parental Controls On Samsung Devices:Maximize Google Family Link to make your kids’ Samsung tablets and Chromebooks safer to utilize.
- iPhone Parental Controls All Parents Need To Know About:Though iPhones have strict safety and security protocols, there’s no harm in seeking help from third-party apps.
- Kids and Mobile Phones:More than their age, take into consideration your child’s personality, maturity, level of understanding, and various other factors before buying them their first mobile phone.
- Cyber Safety:1 in 3 young people are exposed to inappropriate unwanted content so take necessary measures to ensure your children’s safety online.
- Guide To Texting Etiquette:Is your child utilizing their cell phone to message and text others? Teach them the proper etiquette when texting.
- Tips To Find The Best Computer Parental Monitoring Software:Interested in keeping your child safe online on their computer? Find the best Parental monitoring software.
- Stop. Think. Connect.™:This national public awareness campaign aims to help users keep the Internet safe; after all, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.
- Youth and smartphones: Important tips for safety:While technology access offers possibilities and opportunities, it could also leave users – especially the young and/or not properly tech-educated ones – vulnerable.
- Just How Bad Is Kids’ Smartphone Addiction?:Be wary of smartphone addiction as much as how you protect your kids from cyberbullying and child grooming.
- Keeping Your Child Safe Online During the Pandemic:The longer your children spend online, the higher their risk of falling victims to online predators is. Learn how to protect them during this pandemic when almost everything has gone digital.
- How To Reduce Screen Time:Concerned your child will overuse their cell phone or other devices? Make sure to practice these tips to reduce their screen time use.