Internet and computers are the best resources for your kids to learn new things and communicate. At the same time, it has lots of contents that you don’t want your children to see. Contents like porn, violence, rage can affect the kids in a long way. Parental controls are your way to limit the access of the internet and save your children from accessing such harmful materials.
In this article, we will see how you can enable the parental controls on different levels to ensure your children don’t slip on websites with harmful content, but let’s first see what parental control is and what are the benefits?
What are Parental Controls and its Benefits?
Parental control is your way to set some rules and regulations over the access of the internet by your kid. You can limit the internet access time and websites and can arrange to avoid certain types of content and services. The parental control is available on the different level, from the ISP level to particular services.
Below are some of the benefits of setting up parental controls-
Setting Up Parental Controls on Different Levels
Your kids can access the internet on various devices, mobile phone, tablets, laptops, PC, and gaming consoles. If you set up the parental controls only on one machine, then it doesn’t do the job. Your kids can access harmful websites on other devices. So, it is essential to set up parental controls on different devices and levels.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) Level
Almost all ISPs offer parental control with their subscription. Some of them are free of cost, and others take nominal charges. When you set the parental controls on the ISP level, it limits the access to every device that accesses the internet. Some ISPs offer setting up different profiles to let you access the internet unfiltered and restrict the access for your kids. AT&T offers such parental controls.
Contact with ISPs available in your area and know more about their parental control software. Make sure to check if their software supports the operating system you have in your house. Research a little bit about the features of different ISPs parental tools to know which one suits your need. Some ISPs also have hardware level control that limits the access from the router, and you can access the settings with your device.
Operating System Level
Parental Controls on Windows Operating System
To set up parental control on Windows 10 operating system you will need Microsoft account for you and your children. Create the accounts on the Outlook.com website. You can use your account to set up the parental controls, and the kids account to log into the Windows devices such as PC, mobile device, and Xbox gaming console. When you set up the restrictions for the child, it gets applied to all the devices with Windows services.
To set up the parental account, you need to add the kid's account as a family member at account.microsoft.com/family
First Sign-in with your account and then click on Add a Family Member
You will see a pop-up asking if you want to add a child or adult. Select the Child and enter the Outlook account ID. If you haven’t created the email ID for your kid earlier then you can click on “Create one for them” and then follow the steps to create the ID.
Now you will see the list with your children email address. From here you can directly view the activity of your kids and set up the restrictions.
On the content restriction page, you can set up if your kid can purchase apps and games on their own and if they need your permission. Here you can also set up to block the inappropriate apps, games, & media. Also, can set to allow apps and games according to the age of the kid.
On the next section, you can allow particular apps and block apps that are inappropriate for your kids.
If you scroll down more, you will see the options to allow websites and block some inappropriate addresses. If you want your kids to access some particular sites only, then tick the option Only allow these websites in the Always allowed section.
To limit the access to the Windows devices for a particular time then click on Screen time and turn on the Use one screen schedule. Then customize the usage for each day.
Parental Controls on Mac PCs
MacOS parental controls can be set locally, but it can be customized remotely from other devices also. The control lets you decide what websites and apps your kids can use and whether they can access the iTunes or App Store. It also allows you to limit the time usage of Mac.
You can access the parental control settings by visiting System Preferences. To do that, click on the Apple logo and choose System Preferences...
Now click on Parental Controls icon. If you see a message that “There are no user accounts to manage.” Then you will need to add a managed user accounts first.
To do that, go to Users & Groups in the System Preferences. Click the lock icon and enter the administrator username and password.
Now select a Standard user from the list and then choose Enable parental controls. You cannot set parental controls for administrator and sharing-only account.
Then go back and select Parental Control again and you will see a list of options.
On the Apps tab, you can set the apps that you want your kids to access. You can block the webcam so that hackers couldn’t hack it. Also, prevent the access of multi-player games. You can limit the inbuilt mail to only contacts in the address book.
On the Web tab, you can limit the access of websites for your kid. There is the option to allow all sites, restrict the access to adult websites, and can allow certain websites only.
The Stores tab gives you options to restrict the access of iTunes, iBooks, iTunes, and App Store. You get the options to control the access to content like Music with explicit content, movies with age restrictions, TV-shows with ratings, Apps with age ratings, and books with explicit sexual content.
You can limit the access of computer for a certain time on the Time tab. You can set a time limit for weekdays and weekends differently. Also, can set the bedtime so that kids don’t access the Mac at this time. It can be set separately for School nights and weekends. The log button in this tab displays the activity of your kid on the Mac.
Privacy tab gives you control to the privacy of the kids. You can block the access of contacts, calendars, Reminders, Twitter, Facebook, and Diagnostics for the apps here. It prevents the location sharing by default.
The others tab offers some additional settings for privacy. You can set the access of Siri & Dictation, editing printers and scanners, CD – DVD burning, explicit words in the dictionary, modification of dock, and use of simple finder.
Activate Parental Controls on Android Devices
Children love the smartphone, and they spend lots of time on it. It is essential for us that we set parental controls on the mobile phones also. To set up parental control on Android devices, follow the instruction below.
- Android Tablet
- Android Smartphones
To set up parental controls on the android tablet, you need to create a restricted account profile. Visit Settings and tap to Users.
Now Tap on Add user or profile and then tap on the Restricted profile.
If you haven’t set a screen lock PIN, password, or pattern, then the device will ask you to do so.
Next, you will see a screen with all installed applications and toggle buttons beside them to disable the app for the new profile. You can also set the location services on/off here.
You can tap on the profile to rename it with your child’s name.
Next time when you use the device, it will ask the PIN to access the device while your kid can instantly access the tablet by tapping on their profile. They will only have access to the apps that you allowed.
Parental control is only available for Android Tablets, and it is not on the smartphones. However, you can use app lock tools to achieve the goal. Also, you can enable safe search on the Google search engine and parental controls on YouTube & Play Store. Instructions are in the next section.
Activate Google Search Engine Parental Control
You can enable Google safe search options to avoid explicit content like images, videos, and websites from the search results.
- iPhone & iPad
Go to Google Search Preferences.
Click on the checkbox of Turn on SafeSearch.
Scroll down to the page and click on Save button.
Open Google App, Tap three horizontal lines of menu located bottom right.
Than tap Settings and Accounts & Privacy
Use Toggle Switch next to SafeSearch Filter to turn it on.
At the home screen of the Android TV, scroll down and select Settings.
Under the Preferences section select Search and then SafeSearch Filter. Then select on.
Open Google App, then tap the gear icon of Settings
Then Search Settings
Locate SafeSearch filters section
Tap Filter explicit results to turn the SafeSearch on.
Then Tap Save.
Activate Parental Controls on Google Play Store
Play Store offers to set the parental control so that your kids don’t get to use apps not meant for them. The parental controls in the play store don’t get applied to all devices if you apply it to one. You need to enable it on all the devices separately.
You can set the PIN that will be used to change the parental control settings and turn it off.
Open Google Play Store. Tap three horizontal lines to open the menu.Tap the Settings and then tap Parental Controls.
Now use the toggle switch to turn it on. The app will ask you to set a 4 digit PIN for controls. Play Store parental controls offer Apps & games, Films, and Music restrictions.
In the App & games, you can restrict the app according to the age of your child and tap Save. In Films section you can restrict the movies based on the ratings as U, UA, A, and S, tap Save. The Music section helps you to block the music from the marked explicit content providers. Tap the checkbox to turn it on and then tap Save.
Set Parental Controls on iPhone & iPad
To turn on the parental controls on iOS devices open the Settings app.
Then open the General menu. Now tap Restrictions.
Now tap on Enable Restrictions options.
You will be asked to set a passcode to use later in case you want to change some settings or turn off the restrictions.
Now you will see the list of Apps and Features that can be turned off. Use the toggle switch next to the apps and features to turn them on or off. If you turn on an app or feature, you can access it in the phone.
Set Parental Controls on iTunes & App Store
You can control the iTunes and App Store from the Restriction mode explained in the above section. You can restrict the purchase in App Store and iTunes. You can set it to turn off or can set to ask for the password before making a purchase. You can also restrict the in-app purchases or installing a new app.
Activate Parental Controls on YouTube
YouTube offers parental control within its restricted mode. It uses video title, metadata, description, age-restrictions, and community guidelines to avoid the explicit content for the kids. YouTube also tells that the filter is not 100% accurate and some content with explicit material may slip. So you need to monitor your kids when they are using YouTube.
The restricted mode of YouTube works on device and browser level. So, it needs to be turned on for each browser and device. Also, if your browser offers multiple profiles, then you need to activate it for each profile. If you want it enabled for all people who use that browser, then you can lock it with the password.
- iPhone & iPad
Click on the Account icon with your picture. Click on Restricted Mode.
Now use the Toggle button next to Activate Restricted Mode to turn it on.
To lock it for the browser click again on Account icon and then click on Restricted Mode. Then click on Lock Restricted Mode on this browser.
Then enter your Google password to confirm the change. To unlock it, follow the same process and enter your password.
Tap the three dots icon to open the menu.
Then tap on Settings.
Now tap on General
Scroll Down and use the toggle switch next to Restricted Mode to turn it on.
Tap the menu button and tap Settings.
Then tap Restricted Mode to turn it on.
Open the YouTube on Android TV.
Scroll down and select the Settings
Now select the Restricted Mode or Safety Mode.
Then select Enable to turn it on.
Open the App and tap account icon with your picture.
Now tap Restricted Mode Filtering.
Choose Strict to turn on restricted mode.