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Setting Up Parental Controls on Digital Devices

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As parents, we want to make sure that our kids are always safe. The more we allow our kids to use our devices and access the internet, the more necessary it becomes to protect them from the vastness and unpredictability of its content. As much as we’d like to be there for our children 24/7, we simply can’t. So how do we keep them safe from the unsafe corners of the web? We place parental controls on our devices.

Parental controls are pieces of software that allow parents to place blocks and modifications on the internet usage of their children. This gives parents the ability to regulate the content their kids have access to.

There are many different types of parental control software available on the market today. They make it possible to control the sites that are visible to kid’s as well as the amount of time they spend online.

Most devices already come with built-in parental controls and the purchase of control software is unnecessary. In this guide, we have compiled a set of instructions for setting up parental controls on your devices.

Setting Up Parental Controls on Your Internet Browser

Google Chrome

The Chrome browser actually lacks inherent parental control tools. You can, however, play around with some user-friendly and customizable features to limit how much your kids can see on the internet.

For instance, you can manage the amount of content shown. Go to “Content Settings” in the advanced settings area of Chrome and manage whether images are shown, cookies are saved or enable/disable plugins in order to make certain sites unusable.

You can also make sure Google’s safe search is always on. Just go to Google’s search engine results page (SERP) and click on “Settings.” Under SafeSearch Filters, click on “Lock SafeSearch.”

Additionally, you can also use Chrome-based parental control extensions such as “Nanny for Google Chrome” to blacklist certain sites, block URLs, and set time limits on usage.

Mozilla Firefox

Just like Chrome, this browser from Mozilla also struggles with the availability of built-in parental controls. But like Chrome, Firefox has a variety of settings that you can use to limit your child’s access to certain sites and enhance their online safety. For instance, you can disable the browser’s ability to store passwords and remove your children’s access to password-protected sites.

Additionally, there are a variety of parental control add-ons available on Firefox such as “Blocksite” and “FoxFilter.” These powerful add-ons do an impressive job of blocking unwanted content such as adult content, violence, profanity, and anything deemed inappropriate for children.

A close up of a computer keyboard being a metaphor for internet safety and child blocks.

Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge

Despite its infamy and notoriety, these browsers from Microsoft still remain the undisputed king in parental controls. For instance, by going to “Internet Options” and selecting the “Content” tab, you will find the “Content Advisor.” From here, a variety of parental controls will be made available to you.

Under the “Ratings” tab, you can select from dozens of categories that will block content that creates fear, depicts alcohol use, set a bad example for children, or contains sexual material. You can also adjust sliders to various limitation settings under this area from “everything is allowed” to “everything is blocked.”

Create a list of sites that are accessible to your kids under the “Approved Sites” tab. This will allow you to create a list of approved and disapproved sites.

Setting Up Parental Controls on Your Television

Unlike those big, bulky televisions sets of years past, smart TVs actually have built-in parental controls. Depending on the brand of television you own, you can actually block access to certain channels or have TV shut itself off after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

  1. When your TV is turned on, press “Menu” on your remote control.
  2. Scroll through the options available. Depending on the model of your TV, you may either have a “Lock” option or “Parental Controls.” If both are unavailable go to “Settings” for a list of additional options.
  3. Select the “Lock” or “Parental Controls” option. You will be asked to enter a password. For first-time users, you will be asked to enter a default password found on your manual.
  4. Set the locking features you want to use or according to your needs.
  5. Select the “Save” button to save your settings.

Setting Up Parental Controls on Your Mobile Device

No other device has much need for parental controls than our smartphones and tablets. That is because it has become incredibly easy for children to open certain apps and order certain items using your credit card.

Android Devices

Android has made it easier to limit access for your kids while allowing greater access for yourself by creating separate accounts for you and your kids. To do this:

  1. Go to “Settings” and find the “Users” option. Create various profiles depending on how many profiles you need.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.
  3. Go to your kids’ profile. There will be an option available for setting up parental controls.

To set up parental controls for the Play Store:

  1. Open the Play Store app.
  2. Tap “Menu” on the top-left portion of the screen. Go to “Settings” and tap on “Parental Controls.”
  3. Turn on parental controls.
  4. Create a PIN. Choose a PIN that is only known to you and not your kids.
  5. Choose the type of content you want to filter. Select how you want these content filtered.

To provide greater protection outside the Play Store, there are also certain parental control apps available for download. These apps will monitor the activity of the user outside the Play Store such as texting, calling, browsing, and app usage.

iPhone and iPad

Apple has certainly made it easier to control the content available to children. This is through their introduction of Screen Time. The Content & Privacy Restrictions option in Screen Time allows you to block or limit certain apps and features that are on your child’s device.

  1. Go to “Settings” and tap “Screen Time.”Depending on who will be using the device, select either “This is My Device” or “This is My Child’s Device.” Either way, you will be prompted to enter a passcode that will be used for greater access to the device’s features.
  2. Tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.” Enter the passcode when asked and then turn on “Content & Privacy.”
  3. To prevent purchases in iTunes and the App Store, tap “iTunes & App Store Purchases” and select “Don’t Allow.”
  4. To filter viewable store content, go to “Allowed Store Content” and select the type of content on which you want to set limits such as books, music, and movies.
  5. To prevent Siri web search, go back to “Content Restrictions” and look for Siri. Choose the settings that you want to set.
  6. Under the same category, proceed to “Game Center” to place restrictions on the gaming. Select your own settings.
  7. To prevent explicit content, go back to “Content Restrictions” and tap “Web Content.” You can either choose “Unrestricted Access,” “Limit Adult Websites,” or “Allowed Websites Only.”

By understanding how to set up various parental control measures for your devices, you’ll be more able to provide your children with protection against inappropriate content available on the internet today. This gives children the opportunity to enjoy healthy usage of electronic devices and gives you peace of mind.

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