Modern kids have never known a time when they couldn't connect to the entire world via the internet. In fact, they probably spend more time online than anyone else—certainly more than their parents. If you are a parent, this presents a problem, as there are explicit, disturbing, and illegal sites on the web that you don't want your kids to encounter. Furthermore, with the ever-increasing number of devices that kids use to connect, you simply can't supervise every moment they're online on your own. That's where parental control services can help. This software gives you the ability to block unwanted web content, limit screen time, restrict the use of risky applications, and more. Basically, these services are a way to help keep your kids safer on their computers and mobile devices.

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Most manufacturers offer free built-in parental controls on commonly used devices.  Below are some links on how to enable these controls.  If you are looking for directions on a specific mobile device do a google search for “Parental controls on (device name/model)”, most likely you will find instructions within the first few hits. 

 

Most Apple Devices

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304

 

Most Android Devices

https://www.wikihow.tech/Set-Up-Parental-Controls-in-Android

 

Xbox Devices

Xbox 360 https://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/security/xbox-live-parental-control

Xbox One

Setting Age Limits - https://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/security/set-age-limit

Blocking Inappropriate website - https://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/security/block-inappropriate-content

 

Playstation Devices

https://support.playstation.com/s/article/PS4-Parental-Controls?language=en_US

 

If you would like to further control, monitor, limit and track your child’s online activity in and out of the home, there are a variety of 3rd Party applications available for purchase.  Here are just a few of them below.  For more information, google search “Parental Controls at Home”

 

  1. Net Nanny – Blocks Apps, filters websites, history and monitoring (www.netnanny.com)
  2. Qustodio -  Web filtering, time limits, games and app blocking, call tracking, read and block text messages (www.qustodio.com)
  3. Circle – Time Limits, filters, bedtime, usage, off time, rewards, pause, and history (https://meetcircle.com)

Dangerous Internet Challenges

There has been an alarming increase in internet challenges that can put your children at risk.   Some of these so called challenges are cleverly disguised ways, hackers use to try to get information out of people, such as telephone numbers, home addresses, credit card information, etc…  Other challenges are aimed to make your kids perform physical tasks that may put them and others in your household or neighborhood at serious risk.  For example turn on the gas on a stove, disappear for a few days, cut themselves, etc...  It is important to monitor your children while they are online and to teach them about the dangers of the internet and these challenges.  It might seem like a simple game at first but they gradually progress into dangerous territory the longer they play or interact with these types of things.  They are now embedding these challenges into innocent videos.  For example a YouTube video containing a Fortnite tutorial or cartoon like Peppa Pig might start off innocent with the correct safe video, then about midway into the video the challenge will show up, scaring or coercing your children to start cooperating.  Here are some of the latest challenges going viral that we should all be aware of.  For more information you can do a google search about these challenges.

 Momo Challenge - https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/what-is-momo-challenge-800470/

Momo Challenge - https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/momo-suicide-challenge-youtube-kids/

48 hour challenge - https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/48-hour-challenge-encourages-teens-to-go-missing/5257507/

Bluewhale Challenge - https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewrossow/2018/02/28/cyberbullying-taken-to-a-whole-new-level-enter-the-blue-whale-challenge/#6d8a42e2673e