Some depressing news recently prompts me to look at what parental control options we have available to us these days. Internet usage in the home as well as on mobile has changed so much in the last five years that it is worth revisiting.
It once was that implementing parental controls was quite complicated. This was when the child had access to one family computer. Now children have their own laptop, usually known as the ‘family laptop’, or tablet device that they can squirrel off with. Kids can also access internet content on their £49 pay as you go mobile while at home via your Wi-Fi; ‘Complicated’ has been on steroids over these short years.
In a nutshell, I think a good place to start is your internet router. This is the centre through which everything flows so it is no surprise to know that there are some good ones available that can monitor, blacklist and block site and web traffic. Adults could use some parental controls too, so maybe consider setting the router to internet lights out at 9 PM. Seriously, boffins tell us we are changing our sleeping patterns with our late night screen time. Serious seriously, you could always create a Netflix pass through to keep you entertained. Of course, the internet router in your home will not affect mobile data on a mobile phone; I don’t know of any minors with mobile data – I am happy to bury my head if that is a thing.
Next to look at is the device specifically. You can create user profiles to accommodate children. Google Chrome has Supervised User account options, just remove Internet Explorer too. The iPhone and iPad have restrictions under the settings menu as well as a host of Apps, most of which require that the restrictions option is checked.
The NSPCC advises – ‘Preventing your children from using the internet or mobile phones won’t keep them safe online, so it’s important to have conversations that help your child understand how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable.’ – Probably better than most tech workarounds.