Have more control of what your kids see and do on the internet. Taking time to speak to your children is still on the best ways to keep them safe. Take time and get familiar with the parental controls available for online games, browsers, your computers hardware & software plus the social media networks.

Stopping your child from using the internet won’t keep them save, taking control and talking to your child will. Let them know what to do if the fee threatened, hurt or scared with someone they see online.

Set the rules and boundaries together:

  • How to respect people online and not to post anything they wouldn’t want anyone to say about them.
  • Check the age rating of any games they play online or with their Apps
  • Make sure they know that there may be adults playing and you need to check if anyone messages them through a game and what they are saying.
  • What information can they share on any games they’re playing? This may be totally different than what they can share on Facebook as an example.
  • How much time can they spend playing a game? Is this the same amount on a school night as the weekend?
  • Which websites they can visit and which ones they can’t. Youtube for example does have a Youtube kids. This Youtube is kid friendly content only.
  • What time of day they can go online.
  • What images or videos they’re allowed to share online (if any)

You can set a password for your Wifi and logout of your Wifi after you’ve gone to bed.

Use Parent controls to filter, restrict and monitor content:

After all of the talking to your kids it’s really hard to determine and manage when and what they do online when you’re not around. Using the different parental controls available will at least give you some peace of mind. Remember though, nothing is 100%, all you can do is do your best.  Be honest with your kids though. They need to understand the rules and why they are in place.  You are preventing strangers from entering their lives online no different than preventing strangers from coming into your home.  Parental controls works the same as home security protection.

Your device’s operating system. Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OS, and Google Chrome come with parent controls built right into them. Make sure your operating system is up to date in order to get the latest parent controls they offer. This feature does change as the internet changes.

Web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari are software programs that give you the access you have to the internet. Each one also has ways to filter out particular websites. Go to your browsers help area to search how to do this.  If you use more than one browser on your device you will have set the filters for each one.

Browsers for Kids:  There are more browsers available that are geared just for kids. This means that they have set the restrictions for you and will only show websites that are kid friendly.  A few examples of these are ZoodlesKido’z, and Tweens Browser. Most of these browsers offer a free version, but you may have to upgrade to get rid of any ads. These browsers are too restrictive for older kids.

Software such as NetNanny and Qustodio are available that gives you more control over your parent controls. These types of software lets you set screen-time, block websites, and monitor online activity on your computer or laptop. Some of this software will give you the option of more security against malware and viruses and will send you a summary of what your kid does online. This is a good solution when your child isn’t respecting the rules of the house.

Tablets and mobile phones have limited parental controls-the options vary a lot depending on the device.  There are some apps available such as BarkLimitly, and TeenSafe to track and control online activity, including text messaging and social media.

If you want to monitor your kids on Facebook, you will need their username and password to do this.
Home networking. There are both hardware and software solutions to control your home network and your home WiFi. You could download OpenDNS which works with your existing router (the device that brings the Internet into your home) that will filter internet content. Circle Home and Torch have WiFi router controls that are designed to be easy for parents to use.  They allow you to turn off the internet with just one click.

It’s our job as parents to keep our kids as safe as possible. If you have any great apps or software you’ve used to take control of the internet in your home, please share it with us.

This article has more ideas, too.

You may also like to read our blog post on Apps that will help organize your life.