Parental controls are an important way of keeping your children safe online and because the internet is such a huge part of our everyday life, it’s now more important than ever. Unfortunately, there are a large number of threats online that can endanger your child, and parents can’t monitor their children all the time, especially not when every device in the house can be connected to the internet. So, parental control tools aim to constantly help parents protect their children from online perils.
What Threats Exist?
There are numerous threats to children online that require protection. Of course, the internet is filled with content that is inappropriate for kids that they can easily stumble upon by mistake. Parental control software filters and blocks websites that aren’t suitable, so you no longer have to worry about your children seeing the pornography, violence, or hateful content, and filters can be altered for parents to change what is acceptable or not.
Screen addiction is a problem that affects many children, and it can have a negative impact on their education as well as their social lives and concentration levels. Often parental control software is able to set screen time limits that will lock a device if a child has gone over an allotted amount of time or lay out a schedule for when a device can be used.
Social media can turn children’s online threats into real-life ones with cyber bullying and online predators a serious risk for parents to consider. Some parental control tools are able to monitor social networks, so parents are able to see who their children are communicating with, what new friends they make, and even read private messages.
These are just a handful of the huge amount of threats that exist for children online, not to mention worries like malware, scams, and giving away personal information. This is why parental control software has become such a big industry with millions of customers worldwide.
Do I Need to Download Specialist Software?
Most desktop and mobile operating systems nowadays come with some form of basic parental control software already installed. Although these have improved in recent times, they are still incredibly basic compared to the professional products.
For example, Windows desktops have Microsoft Family Safety, an app which has a selection of the features you often see in commercial parental control software. Family Safety can monitor history, block websites and apps, as well as setting time limits and spending limits, this perhaps the best of a built-in OS but it hasn’t nearly as much flexibility as the professional software. Meanwhile, the protection you receive on Android is very limited; Google Play has age restrictions on apps but for full protection it’s highly recommended to download a specialist parental control app.
Apple has the most robust default parental controls since they’re more protective over their own operating systems. When using macOS you can manage applications, filters, prevent modification, and even block access to the built-in camera. iOS meanwhile has the ability restrict apps as well as a few privacy settings.
As you can see these all differ with each setup and none of them are fully realized parental control solutions. We’d recommend using specialist software because not only do they have a more complete list of features, but they’re made especially for parents. This means they are able to provide more feedback to parents including monitoring reports and notifications about their children’s activity. Dedicated parental control software is also more difficult for tech-savvy children to circumvent, designed knowing full well that kids today are often more knowledgeable than their parents about how computers work.