The Internet has made the world a very small place. Everything is at your fingertips and a click away. From your favorite TV shows to news around the world, you can find everything on the Internet.
In addition, due to the entertaining and engaging content, you can find on the Internet, people can be addicted to it. Nowadays, kids have access to multiple devices and the Internet. They are available on different social media platforms. Explore different sites.
The Internet is full of different sites which can be very helpful to your kids, and some may be inappropriate for them.
For instance, sites related to pornography and other violent activities may put a negative impact on your child’s head. So parental controls can help you keep track of your kids’ Internet activities and reduce the risk of them accessing sites that are not appropriate for them.
This article will talk about what parental controls are, how to use them, and how they will make your life easier.
What is a Parental Control and What can it Do?
Parental controls are software and applications that assist parents in limiting their children’s internet activity. It is a great way to keep track of your child’s activities like what they consume from the Internet, who they are talking to, and many more.
There are different controls available that will allow you to do various things.
- Filter and block websites that are not suitable for your kids. For instance, porn and violent content-containing sites.
- Restrictions on information sharing.
- Set different profiles for each member and different levels of accessing sites.
- Limiting screen time and Internet usage.
- Controlling the time of the day where kids can access the Internet.
Effects of Inappropriate Websites on Kids
Before starting anything about parental controls, let’s see the effects of adult content on your kids, which can hurt your kids in the long run.
We cannot blame our kids for Internet addiction as even we adults are obsessed with the Internet. In this digital age, everything we do is connected to smart devices and the Internet.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t control our kids. We should always keep in mind that controlling screen time, blocking inappropriate sites, and limiting Internet usage are important.
During teenagers’ age, kids cannot think as we adults think. They are unaware of the dangers and repercussions of excessive Internet use and exposure to dangerous information.
So as a parent, you are responsible for these kinds of limitations, which will keep your kids on the safe side. Some of the effects that inappropriate websites can cause are:
● Reduces focus and concentration.
When kids are exposed to adult content, there is a high chance of reducing focus and concentration. When they view these sites, they might watch those contents next time and can be addicted to those sites.
As porn and adult sites are very common on the Internet, your kids can easily be exposed to those sites. When kids watch these kinds of sites, Dopamine is released, which is responsible for mood and pleasure, resulting in a reduction in focus and concentration.
● Reduces memory power
Apart from addiction, adult content can affect kids’ memory power too. In the long term, it may be harmful to them. It will affect their studies where they cannot focus and remember things no matter what they do.
When the kids watch adult content in high amounts, the mind will redirect anything they think into those adult contents, so this might be the reason they cannot remember the things properly.
Adult content can cause depression among kids. When they watch these contents frequently, those inappropriate images are stored in their mind, which they cannot get rid of easily.
Evidently, these images keep them distracted, play with their mind, which can cause anxiety and other health issues because anxiety can affect their relationships, interactions with other people, studies, and many more.
According to the studies, out of 582 males who watch adult or porn content more than three times a day, they are likely to be victims of depression. 14.6% of males were found watching adult content more than three times.
The main reason that might put kids depressed regarding adult content is that they know that watching porn is morally wrong. So they may be in a dilemma if they should watch or not.
● Eating Disorder
Exposure to adult content can cause hormonal changes in kids and teenagers. Due to these changes, their eating habits can change. Some might feel hungry all the time, and some may stop eating.
In addition, in the adult content, the people they see are well-toned, so as an inspiration, they might stop eating and try to do things they do. It might result in serious problems like Anorexia and Bulimia.
Starting Conversations with your Kids
So your kids are getting big, and they have started to use the Internet. Before applying parental controls on them, you should talk to them about how they should use the Internet and the consequences of not playing by the rules.
● Explain to them about age limits
Almost all sites have age limits. For instance, popular sites like Facebook and Youtube have an age limit of 13.
So if your kid is starting to access the Internet, then talk about the age limits and let them know that these limits are there to help them protect themselves from inappropriate content and other unsuitable content.
● Talk to other parents
Every child is different, and the steps you take to control them might be fruitful for them, and some may not.
So talking to other parents about what rules and techniques they apply to keep their child safe from this inappropriate content might help you a lot.
● Agree on Ground Rules
Talk to your child and know about the things your kids love to do online. It should include search engines where they can search for different important stuff, video streaming sites where they can see different videos all around the globe.
Moreover, you can switch on the SafeSearch features on search engines, and you can set Youtube to safe mode to be on the safe side.
● Be calm and comfortable
As a parent, you should create a suitable environment for your kids to feel comfortable and secure.
In addition, let your kids know that they can come to you and talk about what might make them uncomfortable and upset.
● Talk to them about the real and fake things
Show them everything on the Internet is not real and tell them to check different legit sources if something they find is improper or fishy.
Equally important, you should also make them understand how to use the Internet properly and how the Internet impacts our lives.
Tips to Apply Parental Controls
So if you have thought of using parental controls, here are some of the tips we have gathered that can help you control your kids’ online activities.
1. Router Accessories
There are different sites on the Internet, and each has age restrictions. Some may be for adults, and some may be for kids. So to keep your kids away from these kinds of adult sites, parents can use parental controls.
Using router accessories like Pro Mesh Network, Circle Home Plus, Gryphon, etc., is one of the easy ways to control your kids’ online activities. You can find these accessories on Amazon or Walmart.
These accessories filter and restrict sites themselves, lets you view your kid’s web histories, and track all the other online activities. In addition, it lets you limit screen time and allows you to stop the Internet anytime you want.
It only works if the kids’ device is connected to the specific router. But if your kids use mobile data or connect to another router to view those contents, this tip is useless.
2. Third-party Parental Apps
The use of third-party parental apps can be very effective and is very easy to use. If you are a working parent, this tip is best for you. Since you won’t have time to look after your kids all the time, you can take help from these apps.
You can find various third-party parental apps in the market. It lets you control all the online activities and device activities like viewing phone logs, SMS, etc.
Some of the popular parental apps that you can use are:
● MobileSpy App
MobileSpy App is one of the most effective and popular spying apps you can find on the market. Full of features that help you track your kids’ online activities, it is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones.
It works in stealth mode, so there are fewer chances your kids will find out about you spying on them. In addition, to start tracking with this app, you must get physical access to your kids’ device and root the target unit.
Rooting is very important if you want to use all the features that Mobile Spy App offers you. Besides, all the features like tracking call logs, SMS, web histories, social media platform hacking, location tracking are available at an affordable price.
MobileSpy App has many different subscription plans which come at different prices and with different spying features. Equally important, the app provides 24/7 customer support and proper data backup options.
Fenced.ai is another very popular third-party spying app. As the Internet is everywhere and your child can access it anywhere, fenced.ai has three solution packages: school, home, and businesses.
You can use the app’s free version, which has limited features, and if you find it helpful, you can pay for these kinds of subscription plans. On the contrary, you can block inappropriate content from home to school.
Fenced.ai offers you services like viewing call logs, web histories, blocking adult and inappropriate sites, date and time when your kids surf the Internet and frequency, etc.
● Kaspersky Kids
It is a little expensive, but it is a very good option for tracking your kids’ online activities. It has an unlimited number of devices it can track.
Kaspersky Kids comes with a dashboard that is fully customizable and fully featured. From the dashboard, you can start tracking your kids’ online behaviors.
It comes with features like location tracking, extensive alert systems, phone messages and calls tracking, social media tracking, and many more.
3. Screen Time
This tip is for iOS device users only. It is an in-built software that you can find in Apple devices that helps you view screen activities. It helps you track the screen time of each app that is available on the smartphone.
For instance, if your kid is playing Candy Crush for more than 4 hours, with screen time, you can know the exact time that has been spent on that particular app. After knowing the screen time, you can take action accordingly.
To enable screen time on the iOS smartphone. Follow these steps:
- Go to the settings.
- Click on Screen Time.
- Tap on the Toggle button and turn it on.
- You can share the settings with other devices, too—for instance, your kids’ phone. Go to the Share across devices option and choose your kids’ phone.
- Go to Content and Privacy Restriction.
- Turn on the Toggle Button.
Adding passcodes and passwords can help you keep the settings safe, and your kids won’t be able to change the settings. As a result, screen time won’t let your kids access mature and adult content.
4. Block Websites using Browser Extensions
Different extensions like Freedom, Leechblock, Pause can be used to block inappropriate websites. You have to install these extensions on the browser which your kid uses.
These extensions will allow you to block sites’ domains, protect data from leakage, redirect websites, close the browser tabs after the specified time, and many more.
In brief, after you install the extensions on the browser, you are just a click away from blocking the sites that you think are not appropriate for your child.
5. Enable Google Safe Search
Google is the world’s most popular search engine. From kids to adults, everyone uses Google when they need some information. There are chances your kid can search for inappropriate content on Google.
So to block these inappropriate search contents and block their access, Google Safe Search can be a very helpful tip. Enabling Safe Search can hide explicit images, videos, and other mature content. In addition, it will increase the security level against unwanted content.
To enable the Google SafeSearch Setting:
- Go to Google Search.
- Select the search setting, which you can find in the bottom right corner.
- Click on the Save Search Setting.
- Tap on hiding explicit results.
After these steps, Google Safesearch is activated.
6. Ask Internet Service Providers to Block Websites
You can get help from your ISPs to block some specific sites which you think are not appropriate for your child. With the help of ISP, you can view your child’s web histories, time spent on the Internet or a specific site, devices they are connecting from, etc.
The best part is that if your other devices like TV are connected to the same router, the change applies to every device. But, you may have to pay extra fees to your ISPs.
7. Turn on Google Play Restriction Mode
Turning on the Google Play Restriction Mode prevents your kids from downloading unnecessary and inappropriate apps and games. The Google Play app on your child’s smartphone allows you to restrict applications, games, and other activities based on their age.
To turn on the Google Play Restriction Mode:
- Go to Google Play’s settings.
- Click on the Parental Control option from the User Control section.
- Enable Parental Control
- After enabling, a pop-up will appear, which lets you create a new PIN.
- Create a new pin, and you are ready.
Start blocking the download of the apps you feel are not suitable for your child, which is found in the Google Play Store.
8. Use DNS Server for PC
Every device needs DNS if they want to access the Internet. When a device is linked to a router, the ISP assigns a default DNS address to each device. Yet, it is considered one of the best ways to prevent your child from watching adult or porn content.
You can replace the original DNS with another DNS which allows you to filter contents before they reach your child’s device. Follow the steps:
- Go to the mobile settings.
- Click on wi-fi settings.
- Choose Configure DNS option.
- Click on the manual settings.
- Add a DNS server with 18.104.22.168 or replace your DNS.
This IP address will block inappropriate and adult content and also set the search engine to safe mode.
Some of the best DNS servers for blocking contents are CleanBrowsing, SafeDNS, OpenDNS, etc.
9. Use DNS Server for Android Smartphones
Most teenagers misuse their Android smartphones and can access adult content through a smartphone too. You can block these inappropriate contents through a DNS server.
To block contents with a DNS server:
- Go to Wi-fi settings.
- Select the network you want to set DNS on and choose a modified network.
- Choose Show Advanced Option from the list and then select static from IPv4 settings.
- At last, enter DNS in both DNS1 and DNS2 fields and save the changes.
10. Family Options
If you want to block inappropriate content on Windows, this tip is for you. Windows has an in-built setting called family options which lets parents block contents that can safeguard their kids.
You must add your kids’ Microsoft account. If not available, then create one. It lets you filter contents and sites that are not appropriate.
To enable Windows settings:
- Go to the Windows settings.
- Go to Accounts and then click on Family & other users.
- Choose Add a family member and add your kids’ account. Accept the invitation, and then tap on manage family settings online.
- Go to your child’s account, then click content restriction.
- Enable the web browser settings.
To sum up
The Internet is full of adult and inappropriate content, so every parent should be careful about kids going online. They might get exposed to mature content and also can get addicted. However, it would be best if you took action before it’s too late and caused severe damage to them.
Parents should talk to their kids about netiquette and use the above tips to safeguard their kids from inappropriate content. You should make sure that your kid is using the Internet for educational or entertainment purposes only.
You can block the sites and apps that you may feel are inappropriate for your kids. It also includes some popular apps like Facebook, Youtube, Tiktok, where you can find plenty of adult content.
You can use the in-built parental controls found in the system or use a third-party parental app like MobileSpy App, which lets you track your kids’ online activities and take actions accordingly.