Parents face a challenge: weighing the pros and cons of giving their children digital freedom. Here’s how parental controls can help.
There’s a new generation of techie kids. Young children use tablets and teenagers instant message to communicate. Most educational facilities use integrated computers and tablets into the curriculum. Today, parents allow their children and teens to have a smartphone because it’s one of the best ways to stay in touch with them. It also gives parents a sense of comfort to know where their children are and what they could be up to.
As a parent you face a challenge: weighing the positive and negatives of giving your child digital freedom and setting clear boundaries of that freedom. Most parents understand that limiting children’s access to the internet could affect their ability to learn and develop. But this also means exposing children to online threats and content that may go beyond their capacity to understand.
That’s why installing reputable security software with parental control on all devices can help parents and their kids to navigate the digital world around them. Just as you teach your child to lock all doors when they are alone at home, they should also learn to use a security system that helps protect their digital life on their devices.
There are many reasons to purchase and set up parental control on all your child’s devices. Here are 10.
1. Parental control helps monitor your kids’ devices
While your children are learning to be good digital citizens and make friends online, you can do your part by keeping tabs on their iPads, iPhones and other devices. Check your trusted app store for options to better protect your child online. Parental control apps can help you monitor things like emails, social media profiles, texts, and other mobile functions.
These type of apps can help when you’re especially concerned about problematic conversations or activities. For example, some apps notify you when it detects certain words such as “drugs”. To allow your child have independence yet know there are boundries, it’s best if you let your kids know when you're monitoring their devices, especially since you'll need your things like their account information, including passwords, for some of the features.
2. Manage what your kids find on search engines
Search engines have revolutionised how you find anything these days although there is one big problem for parents - Access to infinite content that can be inappropriate for some kids, depending on their age and stage of development. Parental control such as Google's SafeSearch help you block adult content and explicit images, videos, and websites from search results.
Depending on the program, you may need to use the most up-to-date operating system and log in under customised user profiles. Let your kids know when you use these filters and use the time to talk to them about inappropriate and age-appropriate content. They should know to come talk to you or a trusted adult whenever they need to.
3. Parental control can block certain features of games your kids can access
Today’s gaming consoles come with internet access that allow your kids to surf the web, make in-app purchases, and talk with other players online. These features can make the games more fun, but you might not want your kid using credit cards connected to the account or talking with strangers.
Parental control allow you to set up user profiles where your kids can only access certain features or allow you to monitor what they're doing while using the game.
4. Parental control may allow you to track your kids’ location
GPS apps can help your whole family track each other's locations. These help indicate your kids are safe — and where they’re supposed to be — and also help you find them in emergencies.
Typically, your phones will need to be turned on for the GPS tracking or location feature to work. However, it’s still a good idea to talk with your children about safety measures. Ask them to avoid tagging or posting their location on social networks — in case strangers can access the information — and help them set up privacy settings.
5. Parental control help establish good cyber safety habits
Cybercrime is a multibillion-dollar industry, and cybercriminals often prey on people’s poor cyber habits.
A child’s brain is constantly developing and learning new things. In their quest to know more, they may inadvertently engage in risky online behavior, like disclosing too much information to a stranger, such as their school name or date of birth. This could mean compromising their own safety, as well as the safety of others.
6. Parental control can set online screen time limits
Screen time can be addictive to some . It can mesmerise an adult into spending hours glued to a device while they are mentally detached from their physical surroundings. Compared to an adult, a child may have a tougher time breaking free from their favorite show or game.
Excessive screen time for kids can result in bad posture, poor eyesight, inadequate sleep, and lack of physical activity or attention spans. Parents should consider trying to enforce a healthy lifestyle by limiting screen time for their children and themselves.
Parental control features can help set boundaries by setting time limits on the types of media children engage with and for how long. Designate a device-free time in your household and initiate activities like taking a walk, driving around, or playing a game.
7. Parental control can help defend your childs online reputation
Kids can flood the internet with social media posts and pictures from weekends and holidays. Many of these innocent posts go unnoticed. But a web search is often all it takes to make a quick assessment of a person based on what they’ve shared online in the past.
Many colleges and companies perform searches on public social media pages to find information about potential candidates online. These organisations may decide whether to accept or hire a person partially based on what is found there.
Consider monitoring social media by checking the security and privacy settings on each of your child’s accounts. Most sites will allow you to control who sees your posts, and if not, they usually have the option for you to make an account private.
8. Parental control can help teach the importance of backing up data
Kids sometimes use the internet to complete school projects and homework. It’s very important to back up their data in a safe and reliable place as a preventitve measure against data loss.
Teach children the importance of saving and storing data. Many free software programs are available online that offer storage services. But some of them could potentially be infected with malware and viruses.
Kids also have a collection of memories in the form of photos, video, texts, and emails that they want to save for the future. Creating a backup of these files is important. Smartphones break, fall in water, they get lost or stolen, or they simply die a natural death. Make sure you protect their digital memories they contain with a secure backup.
9. Parental control can teach cyber etiquette
For children, making the correct decisions is a cognitive skill that develops alongside positive parenting techniques. Help your child navigate the digital landscape with the same etiquette you would expect from them in the real world. Instill in them the value of good behavior, both offline and online.
Explain to young people the consequences of cyberbullying and unethical hacking. Let them know that there are laws that protect victims of such crimes.
10. Parental control should be customizable
Blocking content, tracking whereabouts and setting screen time limits can be great for the whole family. But not every family member needs this level of control, or at least not all of the time.
Many parental control functions allow you to set up different profiles so each family member can access online content that is a level appropriate to them.
Parental control with Norton 360
Utilising parental control software on all your internet-connected devices is a great way to help regulate your children’s online habits. For instance, security software like Norton 360 Deluxe gives you online protection for up to 5 devices – PCs, Laptops, smartphones and tablets, so your household have protection against the latest online threats to your online privacy and devices.
Norton 360 Deluxe also provides a range of parental tools‡ that make it easier for busy parents to help their kids explore, learn, and enjoy their connected world safely.
- Help your kids explore the Web more safely by keeping you informed of which sites they are visiting, and helping block harmful or inappropriate sites
- Lets you create rules to restrict access to sites and create a whitelist of preferred sites.
- Helps your kids balance time spent online by letting you schedule screen-time limits for their device usage
- Provides insights into the search terms and videos that interest your kids and flags unsafe behaviour, so you can discuss it with them
- Get detailed reports on what your kids are doing online, right in your Inbox or on the parent portal
Discover more about how Norton 360 Deluxe can help secure your family’s online activities.
‡ Norton Parental Control features are not supported on Mac.
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc.
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