What is parental control when it comes to your children's online and mobile safety? One thing it's not is a substitute for strong parenting and communicating with your children. But for families where there is mutual respect and concern for kids' safety, parental control software can offer tremendous peace of mind.
Good software and good parenting work together to keep kids safe online.
Parental control for the smart digital parent has many touchpoints. Physically securing hardware is part of it, and so is discussing rules with kids, along with discussing the consequences for breaking them. Additionally, you want your children to have a secure browsing experience where they're not exposed to adult content, and you want to stay informed about who is communicating with your child on their mobile devices.
Following are some of your options for keeping your kids safe online and when they're on the go.
Whether you use a Mac or a Windows machine, you have access to parental controls built into these operating systems. By creating user accounts, you can choose different protection levels for different users. On mobile devices, the Android operating system doesn't have controls programmed in, but there are a number of parental control software apps available. The good thing about operating system controls is that they apply to everything the particular computer is used for, including browsing. The main drawback is that they have to be done individually on each machine.
All major internet browsers - Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox - have controls you can use to block websites you don't want your children to visit. Firefox does it a little differently, though. Its "Prefer:Safe" feature picks up parental controls enabled by your operating system and uses it to restrict browsing content. But while these controls are useful, it's impossible to know the web address of every site you wouldn't want your kids to access. And downloading another browser program is easy, even for kids. Browser restrictions may be fine for younger kids, but as they get older, you'll need something stronger.
Do you know all the people your child exchanges text messages with?
The parental controls on mobile devices vary widely. Usually, however, you can restrict things like in-app purchases and restrict what types of apps can be downloaded. Kindle Fire tablets now include parental controls called "FreeTime," and Apple mobile devices have parental controls you can set. You'll also need to disable the device's built-in browser and add a content filtering app or child-friendly browser. But these don't protect your kids from people contacting them via text message. Most parents want to monitor text messages, and this requires specific applications.
Third Party Parental Control Software
Third party parental control software is a popular option. But what is parental control? Your answer may be different from another parent's answer. Maybe you have the parental controls you want on your home computer, but what about when grandparents give your child a tablet for Christmas? And when your child starts carrying a mobile phone, how can you ensure strangers won't attempt calling or texting? Third party parental control software can do a lot, but it's easy for things to slip through the cracks when you upgrade your operating system, replace hardware, or add new devices.
Familoop Safeguard is parental control software that protects your children's internet browsing, social, and mobile activities across all devices. What's more, it analyzes your child's online activities and allows parents to review information from a convenient dashboard at any time. You can enable Internet filter that will automatically block inappropriate content, and set time limits for online activity with exceptions for homework activities. If your child carries a phone, Familoop Safeguard analyzes social profiles, calls, text messages, and social media activity to notify you automatically if signs of online predators or cyberbullying arise.
Parental control software can't take the place of good parenting, but when used as part of an overall family online and mobile safety plan, it can offer significant protection, particularly if it syncs across devices as Familoop Safeguard does.
Now you have a good idea of what parental control is for your family and can feel confident when protecting your kids online and on the mobile phones.
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