The Importance of Parental Controls in an Age of Technological Advances

Putting parental controls on teens' smartphones
Smartphones are important to everyday life, but how they’re used can make drastic differences to how they’re perceived by parents. Photo via Pexels, CC0 License.

This post is also available in: French

For a long time, parental controls have been seen as a nuisance or simply not working. They required extra setup on devices that were already difficult or frustrating to get started with and tech-savvy kids always found ways around parental controls that made them useless. However, as technology advanced, so did parental controls. Nowadays, they’re easy to setup and they’re vital in controlling how much time your child is able to spend on the internet, but there are also ways to keep an eye on how they are using technology.

If you want to ensure that your kids are kept safe on the internet, then here are a couple of reasons why parental controls are important as ever.

Limiting downloads helps to keep your computers safe

Kids are usually gullible and easily fooled and this makes them prime targets for hackers and cyber-criminals. This is because they’re more likely to download programs that look legitimate but are actually viruses designed to be as close to the original as possible.

This will fool kids into thinking they downloaded something useful, but in actual fact, it’s something that could destroy your computer. It can even lock your computers and even spread to other computers and phones in the network.

In short, parental controls that limit downloads are important not only to your children but also you. In order to keep your computers safe and your networks free of viruses and malware, you’d be wise to limit what your kids can and can’t download.

Shielding your children from content on the internet

It’s not unusual to place strict parental controls on the type of content that your children are allowed to see. For example, you might want to block certain search terms and blacklist various websites to prevent your child from accidentally stumbling on it.

This action might give them a lack of freedom (especially if the parents are a little overzealous with the websites they block), but it’s important to shield your child from certain types of content. They are better off not being influenced by at a young age.

When you remove this blacklist is entirely dependent on your personal preferences, but it’s usually a good idea to remove it sooner rather than later if you believe that your kids are ready to brave the world and the types of questionable content that we see on a regular basis online.

Parental controls keep your child from accidentally abusing your money

Many parents trust their kids with their tablets and smartphones. However, many children don’t understand just what it takes to earn money and they’ll often purchase things such as games or in-app purchases on their favorite smartphone and tablet games without any thought about the consequences.

There have been countless situations like this in the news and it’s becoming an increasing problem with parents that don’t activate the parental control settings on their devices. You’d be surprised at just how easy it is for a child to accidentally drain your entire bank account by pressing a few buttons on a device that hasn’t been set with parental control locks.

These parental controls are easy to set up and force your child to ask before they make purchases on their smartphones and tablets. This makes it a great opportunity to teach your children about money so that they have a better understanding of what it means to have more responsibility in life.

Online, the dangers for kids abound
Social media can easily be misused which is why it’s important for parents to keep track of how their kids use such a powerful platform. Pexels photo (CC0).

Monitoring your child’s usage could identify problematic areas

Whether it’s using iPhone monitoring software to track their photos and location history or tracking purchases made with their Android phone, it’s important to monitor how your child uses technology so that you have more time to identify certain problems in their behavior. For example, if you find that your child is spending far too much time on video games, then there’s an increased risk of them failing school and they need to be spoken to about priorities.

Monitoring text messages and Facebook posts can also help you identify issues such as online bullying or if your child is being threatened at school. Prevention is usually the best answer to these types of problems, hence why it’s important to play an active role in monitoring your child’s usage of these various devices and services to get a clear picture of the situation.

Parental controls can help limit the amount of time your children spend online

Parental controls can also limit how much time your children are allowed to spend on computers. It achieves this by setting times that give your child internet access, and when it passes this time it will automatically cut the internet connection so that your child can no longer access it. This ensures that you can get your children to bed and prevent them from worrying too much about internet usage.

These internet-based parental controls can either be set and installed on the individual devices themselves, but it’s much better to use hardware tools such as setting it up on your internet router. This might take a bit of setup and learning how to use the router in order to set up parental controls, but there are usually instructions included in the boxes of the devices you have or you can find them online as long as you know the specific make and model of your internet router.
h2>Final Words

As you can see, parental controls are often overlooked yet they’re still incredibly important, especially when it comes to protecting your child from the wild west that is the internet.

This post is also available in: French


  1. Great points Christy. I’m thankful my kids are grown now because the amount of scams, viruses, and suggestive sites has increased exponentially in the last few years. Luckily, we have virus and credit protection to help keep us safe.

  2. Great post .we never know enough about it.last winter I went to a tLk about internet safety and even if my girls are still young I am glad I did.actually I learned few tips for my own safety too.
    What I don’t get is those parents who complaint about their kids browsing constantly on internet or learning this and that through u tube like they are justifying the self”they didn’t get from me ,they got it from u tube.i can’t control that”,well,I might be a bit old fashion but yes you can and you have to.😉

  3. Good post Christy,
    I tried to keep my kids safe but the ex didn’t want parameters set & the older ones couldn’t do what they wanted.
    Ho hum…

  4. Excellent and very timely post Christy! I’m involved with a lovely group of parents in a family learning programme at the moment trying to understand the “how to” of the above. Two classes in and we agree Parental control and setting boundaries is key. Also fostering good communication with your children is vital. Parents have also said that knowing other parents have the same concerns has been supportive. Learning to focus on some of the positives of social media, rather than always focusing on the extreme cases has dispelled some anxiety.

    But the task is far from easy; the vast amount of devices and jargon takes time and practice to come to grips with but as a community of learners and using a discovery approach to learning we are determined to educate ourselves and find supportive solutions!

  5. My Hub and I often comment on how lucky we were to have brought our children up, more or less, prior to the internet. It’s brought a whole new set of worries and responsibilities for parents. It’s good to put the reminders out there.

  6. Thank you, Christy, for sharing this important post regarding parents taking control of their children to prevent the misuse of social media. There is potential abuse with the use of social media and the internet with inappropriate content. I know my own daughter has taken some of the steps above.

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