As a parent, you are always going to worry about your child. However, somehow over the last decade or so, parents seem to have decided that it’s not too necessary to worry about your children and what they are doing on the internet.
The internet is a safe place, right? Wrong. The internet is full of bad people, websites that are not suitable for children and so much more, and it’s your job as a parent to protect your children from this whether they appreciate it or not. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at what parental controls are and how they help children to stay safe online. Keep reading if you would like to find out more.
What does Parental Control do?
Parental Controls allow the parent or guardian of a child to restrict access to certain sites that they deem unfit for the child to be on. There are a number of ways to do this and it entirely depends on what device and operating system is being used as to how this should be completed. Parental controls are there to protect children from accessing things that they should not be allowed on, or that are dangerous for them.
This gives parents peace of mind that their children are safe when they are using the internet, meaning that you don’t feel the need to check their internet history every five minutes. Not only this, but you don’t have to be concerned that your child is doing anything that they shouldn’t be.
The point of parental controls is to keep the child safe. They might not understand this at the time, but keeping your child safe should always be a number one priority. Understanding parental controls, the different types and how they work is going to be important to using them correctly, and without going too far. We recommend doing your research before you start trying to use them so that you can ensure you are using the most appropriate control, at the right time.
What are the types of parental controls?
There are different types of parental controls, each important in their own right. The first is content filters. This allows parents to filter out any unsavory, adult websites that their children should not be looking at. It essentially is an age filter. Another is IM, Chat and Email logging which saves both sides of the conversations that your child has so that you can look through them later and ensure that nothing inappropriate is being said.
Time allowance is another common parental control that is used. This limits the amount of time that is allowed to be spent on the device, so that after a certain period of time, their device is no longer useful to them. It also controls the time of day that the device can be used, so if you don’t want your kids on their devices at bedtime, you can stop this from occurring
There are also web based services which monitor the activity of your child online. This then delivers you regular reports so you can keep up to date with what is going on with your children online. If there is a threat or it picks up something dangerous, you will be alerted immediately.
Can parental controls see messages?
Specific parental controls can allow parents to see messages. This is for the safety of the child, and we talked a little above about how you can save the chat from both sides if you know how to. Your child will not be alerted that you can read their conversations online and on their phone unless you tell them. This will help to keep them safe as if you see something that isn’t appropriate, or is dangerous, you will be able to step in and stop it from happening.
Of course, a lot of children don’t like it when they know that their parents can read their messages and will start telling you that it is an invasion of their privacy. Try to remember that it isn’t. You are doing what you can to keep your child safe, and in the world that we live in right now, this is a necessary step that they are just going to have to get used to.
There are some exceptions to this where you won’t be able to see messages, but again, it depends on the operating system and software that is being used. There is always a way, but there might not be a way to do it undetected.
At what age does parental control end?
There is no age in which parental controls end in terms of, there is no final age that you can use them for. However, having said that, most parents stop using their parental controls when their child is between the ages of 16-18. It’s true that the young people in this age bracket aren’t entirely safe online, but parents are severely limited in what they can do at this point, especially when they turn 18.
At some point, you have got to let go and let your children make their own choices and mistakes. It’s going to be difficult, and old habits die hard, but that doesn’t mean that you can continue to read your child’s messages when they get older. They are capable of making choices and experiencing life by this point, and you have to let them do this. Plus, if you think about it, you don’t really want to know what your children are looking at when they start getting into their late teenage years.
We hope that now you understand a little more about parental controls, and how they can help children to stay safe online. Staying safe should be your number one priority as a parent when your kids are online, as the last thing that you want is for anything bad or hurtful to happen to them. Ensure you have the safe online usage talk with them, and monitor them if you feel you need to. Get in touch with us today and we are more than happy to help you sort this out.