It’s hard to keep an eye on your child’s internet usage 24/7, especially when every device they use is connected to the web. Whether they’re researching for homework, posting on social media or watching videos of fails or hauls, kids and teens have become more and more reliant on their devices and keeping them safe is no longer about peering at the family desktop screen. With internet accessibility at an all-time high, here are some apps to help you create boundaries and keep your child safe online, even when they’re on their mobiles or tablets!
If you want to keep tabs on how long or often your child is online using their mobile, Qustodio is the app for you. Not only does this app break down how your child uses the internet (e.g. browsing or chat), it tells you which channels they’re using, like Facebook or YouTube. Qustodio breaks down their online activity to show you search terms your child has used and who they’ve spent time speaking to. It’s like having a parent within their phone, even allowing you to block certain apps and websites.
If you feel like your child is glued to their phone and needs to prop their head up a little more, you’ll appreciate the organisational control you’ll get with ScreenLimit. This app gives you total control over your family’s screen time from the comfort of your own mobile devices. Introducing boundaries as soon as your child starts browsing online is thought to help them maximise the time they are allowed, and ScreenLimit does as its name suggests and incorporates daily allowances. You can set time limits on specific apps so any educational ones can be used throughout the day, whereas games can be limited to a shorter time. Parents can even send messages using the app to prompt their kid to log off and get on with their homework!
Net Nanny is a great option for comprehensive parental control over your child’s internet use. The app offers a custom browser that your child uses to search online. With this personalised browser, you can create settings to ensure your child stays safe by building a profile that sets limits and blocks content. This can be a profile made from scratch or you can select from a number of predetermined profiles that the app includes with the initial download. With features such as profanity masking and multiple filtering options, Net Nanny is the go-to reporting app for hundreds of thousands of parents.
Funamo allows you to enforce safe search on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and even YouTube so you can make sure they’re not stumbling across inappropriate material. You can also set up keyword or phrase filters so you can ban specific topics that search engines might deem safe. To cover all bases, this app also allows you to set time limits on apps and logs contacts, calls, SMS, websites, as well as location data so you can get full peace of mind.
Norton Family Premier Parental Control
Norton’s ethos in creating this feature-filled app is to help ‘teach kids safe habits online’. Parents can set limits on internet usage across multiple devices with controls such as location-tracking and filtering the web. Setting up different profiles across different mobiles enables you to create specific rules based on the varying ages of your kids. Track searches and visited websites as well as monitoring texts and being able to instantly lock apps. You can even get full reports on how each of your children is using the web so you can edit restrictions as time goes on.
Remember that many devices come preloaded with inbuilt parental control apps and safety features, so it’s worth seeing how much control you already have before downloading a new app!