For most parents, the internet has become a fundamental part of how they raise their children. Kids are getting their hands onto cellphones, tablets, and other internet-ready devices earlier and earlier; schools are integrating laptops into their curricula, while parents are allowing their children to have cell phones so they can stay in touch with them. But while giving them early access to the internet has certainly made kids more tech-savvy, it’s hard to deny that it has also opened them up a number of potential risks.
From cyberbullying to pornography, the internet is full of content that parents are eager to shield their children from. This isn’t always easy, but these days most devices have some form of parental controls built into the operating system that allow parents to restrict usage and access. Additionally, there are third-party parental control apps (like Clean Internet!), which provide even more in-depth controls to keep kids safe online.
But if you’ve never used a parental control app, you might be wondering about the benefits. So here are eight reasons to start using parental controls!
1. Parental Controls Allow You To Monitor Your Kid’s Devices
Most kids are still learning to be good internet citizens, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Many of us are working at home right now, but you still can’t always be there in-person to check up on your child’s online activity. Parental control apps can help you monitor things like emails, social media profiles, texts, and other mobile functions.
2. Parental Controls Limit The Results on Search Engines
Search engines are a stable of the online experience and have changed how we find information online, but they can easily send children to inappropriate and even pornographic material if they aren’t careful. Parental controls like Google’s SafeSearch help block adult content and explicit content from search results, while other applications can filter out specific terms as needed.
3. Parental Control Can Set Clear Screen Time Limits
Kids are spending more and more time in front of screens, and while sometimes this is unavoidable (i.e., online learning programs), it is usually best to put a hard limit on your child’s screen time. Thankfully, many parental control apps allow you establish boundaries by setting time limits on certain apps or media types.
4. Parental Controls Can Protect Children From Cybercriminals
While we usually think of cybercrimes like identity theft or fraud as being adult problems, the truth is that there around a million child victims of such crimes every year, with most victims being age 7 or younger. With children unable to tell the difference between a real website and fake set-up by a scammer, it is important to add an additional layer of protection to keep their information out of criminal’s hands.
5. Parental Controls Can Prevent Unwanted Online Transactions
Whether on a game consoles or their mobile devices, many children love to play online games. These games often include paid online services or online transactions for various content, and if a child already has credit card information on-hand, they can make purchases without the parent’s knowledge. By setting up parental controls, you can prevent your children from making such purchases without your consent.
6. Parental Controls Allow You To Keep Track of Your Kid’s Location
If your child is using their smartphone or another mobile device to study or browse social media, you can actually keep an eye on where they are heading by using GPS-enabled apps. These help to ensure that your kids are safe — and where they’re supposed to be, not to mention helping you find them in case of emergencies.
7. Parental Controls Keep Kids Away From Online Pornography
The internet provides access to a wide range of educational and entertaining content for children, but it also makes it easy to find pornography and other inappropriate content. Porn consumption is becoming increasingly high, especially among teenagers, and with research showing that porn usage can negatively shape children’s personal development, it is important to make to keep it out of sight.
8. Parental Controls Can Help Teach Good Cyber Etiquette
Becoming a good online citizen takes time, and children while children often know more about technology then their parents, they still tend to lack strong decision-making and the other cognitive skills needed to be a good online citizen. Parental control can serve as an opportunity to model good behavior and talk about the consequences of things like cyberbullying, identity theft, and pornographic material.
Guarding What’s Important
Parental control software is a great way to regulate your child’s online habits and keep them safe from the many dangers of the internet. Granted, you should always let them know you are using these types of apps to avoid any confusion or conflict, but so long as you respect their privacy, parental controls can be a valuable tool for protecting those who are most important to you!