The main idea of child protection software is that it can block access to sites that a parent can consider to be inappropriate. Child protection software may also include other advanced features such as selecting certain time frames when your child is allowed to browse the Internet or using filters that block personal details from being shared.
Even if you have discussed with your children about device usage limits and responsible Internet behavior it’s still pretty hard to fully control what they do when you are not around, and perhaps even when you are there. Child protection software can help you in your efforts to keep your child online experiences safe, productive and fun. However, they work best when used honestly and openly in partnership with the child, not as a mere spying method.
Needless to say, nothing is completely fail-safe, and you will still want to have chats about making good decisions. The following is a summary of the multiple levels of protection available out there.
- Your device’s OS: Microsoft’s Windows, Google Chrome and Apple’s Mac OS come with strong built-in child protection controls. In order to get all the advantages, you will need to utilize the most updated version of the OS, and each and every user will have to log in using his or her profile. On the bright side, you don’t need to pay extra money for them.
- Internet browsers. Browsers like Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari are the software you use to access the Internet. They offer multiple ways of filtering out sites you prefer your kids not to visit. We browsers are free of charge, but if you have more than 1 on your device, you will need to enable filters on each of them.The downside is that older kids can easily defeat these browsers’ restrictions either by simply downloading a new browser or by figuring out your password.
- Computer software controls. Some of the most popular parental monitoring software, such as NetNanny and Qustodio, let you block certain sites, establish screen-time limits as well as monitor your kid’s Internet activity on your device. Some of these software also offer extra security against adware, viruses, and malware and will send you a summary of your child’s online activity. Even though they often require a monthly subscription fee, these software are usually good for kids of all ages, and particularly children who require a lot of support in following rules.
- Tablets and smartphones. Certain mobile devices already come with basic child protection controls, but these options may vary depending on what you have. You may also install applications like Bark, TeenSafe and Limited that include a wide range of cell phone monitoring options, such as options to track and control online activity, including social media and text messaging. This option is great if you are looking to monitor your child’s social media profiles, even though you will need their usernames and passwords.
Essential features in child protection software
Site filtering by specific category: Pretty much almost all child protection software packages are able to filter websites based on pre-defined categories such as gambling, pornography, hate speech and so on. This allows parents to clearly select the specific information they want to filter for their kid.
Blocking personal details: This advanced feature allows parents the blocking of personal details being shared with others. This is extremely useful when you wish to prevent your kid from sharing personal information such as phone numbers or addresses.
Scheduling: This feature enables a parent to choose specific times when their kid is allowed to browse the Internet or chat on instant messaging platforms.
Monitoring chat activity: Parents are able to record entire chat sessions that happen on their own device thanks to this option. Most chat software allows you to do this, but child protection software has in certain cases the ability to protect the log files from being deleted.