Updated: Feb 1
Episode #16: What is a Parental Control?
The more connected kid's are, the more likely they are to experience harm online. Having parental controls in place can help to protect your young ones from bullying and profanity while building trust that they will come to you with things that they find confusing.
Episode #16: What is a Parental Control?
What is a Parental Control?
Parental controls refer to a set of software or hardware tools that are designed to help parents or guardians monitor and restrict access to certain types of content or activities on electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. These controls can include features such as web filtering, time limits, and app blocking, among others. The main goal of parental controls is to help parents protect their children from inappropriate content, prevent them from accessing websites or apps that may be harmful, and monitor their online activities to ensure their safety.
Examples of parental controls include:
Setting time limits on device usage
Blocking access to specific websites or apps
Setting up content filters to block access to inappropriate content
Viewing browsing history and activity logs
Remotely monitoring and controlling access to devices
Parental controls can be set up on the device itself, or through a separate app or software. Some internet service providers and mobile carriers also offer parental control options.
I'm worried about strangers talking to my children online. Can you create a plan of attack to help me protect my children?
Sure, here's a general plan of attack to help protect your children from strangers online:
Educate yourself and your children about online safety: Make sure you and your children are aware of the potential dangers of the internet, such as online predators, cyberbullying, and scams. Teach your children about the importance of keeping personal information private and not sharing it with strangers.
Use parental controls: Set up parental controls on all devices your children use, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. These controls can include features such as web filtering, time limits, and app blocking.
Monitor your children's online activity: Regularly check your children's browsing history and activity logs to see what websites and apps they are using. This will give you a better understanding of their online habits and help you identify any potential risks.
Communicate with your children: Make sure you have open and honest conversations with your children about their online activities. Let them know that they can come to you if they ever feel uncomfortable or have a problem online.
Set rules and boundaries: Set clear rules and boundaries for your children's online behavior, such as not talking to strangers or not sharing personal information. Make sure they understand the consequences if they break these rules.
Use a VPN: Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your children's internet connection, especially if they're using public Wi-Fi. This will help protect their personal information and browsing activity from hackers.
Keep devices in common areas: Encourage your children to use devices in common areas of your home so that you can monitor their online activity more easily.
Use tracking software: You can use software that allows you to track your children's location and monitor their online activity. This can give you peace of mind and allow you to act quickly if you suspect any danger.
Keep software updated: Keep your devices and parental control software up to date. This will help ensure that the latest security features and bug fixes are in place to protect your children.
Be a good role model: Show your children how to use the internet responsibly by being a good role model yourself.
It's important to remember that no single solution will completely protect your children from strangers online. It's a combination of educating yourself and your children, setting rules and boundaries, monitoring their activity, and having open communication with them. Additionally, it's important to keep in mind that this is an ongoing process and you should periodically review the situation and make adjustments as needed.
I'm not a computer whiz - Is there a simple and easy to use piece of software that you would recommend I install that would help me monitor my kids online activity, easily block content that is not suited for young ones, and limit connectivity to specific times of day?
There are several simple and easy-to-use pieces of software that you can use to monitor your kids' online activity, block inappropriate content, and limit connectivity to specific times of day. Some popular options include:
Norton Family Premier: This software allows you to monitor your kids' online activity, set time limits for internet use, and block inappropriate websites and apps. It also has a feature that sends you alerts when your kids try to access blocked content.
Kaspersky Safe Kids: This software allows you to monitor your kids' online activity, set time limits for internet use, and block inappropriate websites and apps. It also includes a feature that sends you alerts when your kids try to access blocked content.
Qustodio: This software allows you to monitor your kids' online activity, set time limits for internet use, and block inappropriate websites and apps. It also has a feature that sends you alerts when your kids try to access blocked content.
OpenDNS Home: This software allows you to monitor your kids' online activity, set time limits for internet use, and block inappropriate websites and apps. It also has a feature that sends you alerts when your kids try to access blocked content.
Net Nanny: This software allows you to monitor your kids' online activity, set time limits for internet use, and block inappropriate websites and apps. It also has a feature that sends you alerts when your kids try to access blocked content.
It's important to note that while these software can help you to keep your kids safe online, they are not a substitute for active parenting and communication with your children.
Can you help me explain to my children why it is important for parents to have parental controls like this in place?
Sure, here is a simple explanation that you can give to your children:
"As parents, it is our job to keep you safe, just like how we keep you safe when you're crossing the street or playing sports. The internet is a big place with a lot of information and people, and just like in the real world, there are some things on the internet that are not safe for children. So, we use parental controls to help protect you from any unwanted or harmful things you might come across online. It's like a safety guard for the internet.
This doesn't mean that we don't trust you or that we don't want you to have fun online. We just want to make sure that you have a safe and positive experience while you're using the internet. And, just like how we have rules for when you can go outside and play, we also have rules for when and how you can use the internet. This is because we care about you and want to make sure you're safe.
It's also important to remember that it's not just strangers that can be dangerous online, sometimes friends and even people you know can be harmful too. By having parental controls in place, we can help keep you safe from all kinds of potential dangers."
Can you come up with a rule setting activity where my children feel like they contributed to the development of our family parental controls?
Sure, here's an idea for a rule-setting activity you can do with your children to involve them in the development of your family's parental controls:
Start by having a family discussion about internet safety. You can use the explanation I provided earlier, or come up with your own, but the goal is to make sure that everyone understands why parental controls are important and what they're designed to protect against.
Next, give each child a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Ask them to write down a list of the websites, apps, and online activities they use most often.
Once they've finished, go over their lists together and talk about any concerns you have about certain websites, apps, or activities. For example, if they've listed a social media app that you're not comfortable with them using, discuss why and come up with a rule around it.
After discussing each item, have your children write down a rule for each one. For example, if they've listed a gaming website, the rule might be that they can only play for an hour a day.
Once you've finished creating rules for each website, app, or activity, have your children write down the rules on a large piece of poster board or whiteboard so that everyone can see them.
Finally, have a family meeting to review the rules and make sure everyone understands them. Encourage your children to ask questions and give feedback on the rules.
By involving your children in the rule-setting process, they will feel like they had a say in the development of the parental controls and will be more likely to follow them. It's also important to remember that these rules should be flexible, as your children's needs and interests will change over time, so you may need to revisit and update them.
Can you write an inspiring family motto that captures the essence of online safety for our children, and that we can all agree to live by as a family?
Sure, here's a sample family motto that captures the essence of online safety for children:
"Our family values respect and responsibility online, protecting ourselves and others through safe and smart choices"
This motto emphasizes the importance of being respectful and responsible online, which includes protecting oneself and others from harm. It also encourages the use of smart choices when it comes to online activities. This motto can serve as a reminder of the importance of online safety and a guide for making good decisions when navigating the online world. It can also be displayed in a prominent place in your home as a reminder of the family's commitment to online safety.