Parental Controls to Keep Children Safe Online
The Internet is part of many children’s daily lives, and because of COVID-19, their time spent online may be increasing. Kids are:
- Streaming TV and movies
- Using social media sites
- Communicating through cell phones and computers
- Accessing other entertaining and educational content
Risks: While the Internet provides a lot of benefits for children, it also contains content inappropriate for minors. Additionally, it can give children the ability to buy content, products, or apps without a parent or guardian’s permission. Worst of all, is the risk that children will be exposed to cyberbullying or contacted by harmful predators.
Tools to Protect: Fortunately, tech companies have responded to these dangers by providing parental control tools which allow parents and guardians to set appropriate limitations on their children’s online activities. Parents are also encouraged to speak with their children to discuss issues of concern.
The NAGTRI Center for Consumer Protection has published a series of tips for parents to access parental controls regarding the following:
- Streaming services (Released August 7, 2020): Including Amazon Prime, AppleTV, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.
- Social media (Released September 15, 2020): Including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Tumblr, and Twitter
- Mobile devices (Released November 9, 2020): Including iPhone, Android, AT&T, TMobile, and Verizon
- Video game consoles (Released December 21, 2020): Including Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
- Desktop and laptop computers (Released March 22, 2021): Including Apple computers, Microsoft computers, and Google Chromebook
The NAGTRI Center for Consumer Protection does not endorse the use of any of the products, platforms, or services highlighted in this series. If you decide to allow your children to be online and choose to use parental controls, talk to your kids about why you are using them—to keep them safe online and help them establish reasonable usage limits. Be aware that the parental control tips provided herein are not 100% foolproof. Kids can undo parental controls and directions on how to get around them can easily be found on the Internet. We recommend you monitor your kids’ Internet usage, look for signs that they may be bypassing controls you have set up, and research parental controls to stay current on how they may be disabled or avoided.
We hope this series helps you keep your kids safe online!