Modern kids are always connected. They probably spend more time online than anyone else in the household. The internet can be a good thing, as it allows them to stay connected and learn from the world around them. But, explicit and disturbing websites and potential dangers lurk in the background. How can we protect them?
One of the biggest concerns as a parent is monitoring the content they view. To help protect your child, you can use parental controls on their devices. These allow you to restrict what your child can see and do online. You can also set limits on how long they can spend online and who they can talk to.
Our step-by-step guide will give kids a safer online experience by teaching you to enable parental controls and privacy settings on:
Parental controls are software or settings that allow you to monitor and restrict what your child does online. Combined with privacy settings, these will help you protect your children from sites they shouldn't view online.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends selecting and watching content with your child. However, this isn't always possible with the explosion of internet-enabled devices. This is where parental controls come in. They help keep an eye on your kids when you can't physically supervise them online.
As parents, we face a challenge: giving our children digital freedom and defining those boundaries. Figuring out what kind of parental control is best will depend on your own family's needs. The level of control required depends on their:
Before you start imposing limits and restrictions, you should talk with your children about online dangers, including:
Encourage your child to talk with you about anything they find upsetting online. Let them know that before they have email or social media accounts, a phone, or devices, you reserve the right to check how they use them. It doesn't mean you don't trust them, but you want to ensure they're safe online. Children should understand the reasons for using parental controls and agree to the rules. Otherwise, they may find a way around any cyber protections.
Once you have discussed parental controls with your child, it is time to get started. The days of one parental control software protecting your home PC are long gone. Kids now use internet-connected devices, so the software you choose should support all your household's device types.
Windows 10 offers parental controls to ensure children are protected online, including:
The first step is to create an account for your child to enable parental controls:
Remember that the web and search filters only work with Microsoft Edge. If you turn on Filter inappropriate websites, it will block all other browsers.
Also, if you want to filter search, remember to add the URLs for search engines in the Blocked Sites section:
Microsoft Family Safety allows you to limit screen time. You can set time limits for using specific apps and websites and the amount spent on their device. Plus, set limits based on a daily or weekly schedule.
Enable Ask to Buy to prevent your child from making unauthorized purchases.
To simplify the experience and monitor your child's activity on your phone, download the Microsoft Family Safety app on:
Learn more at Microsoft Family Safety.
In many households, gaming is a popular choice for kids. It's often even more popular than online activity, so ensuring your parental controls are secure is critical.
All parental controls are identical across the Xbox family of consoles. The Xbox parental controls that you set allow your children to have appropriate video game experiences that include:
An Xbox family group allows you to set parental controls for your kids. Adults set up an organizer account to manage family members. Kids have a member account that has limited permissions that organizers set.
You should create unique Microsoft accounts for every family member, making it easier to protect your:
You can set parental controls for your Xbox via:
The Xbox Family Settings app (iOS and Android) allows you to manage your children's console gaming activities via mobile. In real-time, you can:
Learn more about parental controls at Xbox Family Settings.
With parenting, one size doesn't fit all. Each family has unique goals. Parental controls and privacy settings help minimize the risks your kids face online. But, teaching your child about online safety and encouraging them to talk to you about anything they find upsetting online is crucial. Teaching critical thinking, resilience, and media literacy will help your children make good decisions and hopefully develop their own set of parental controls.