They can set up your iPad, hook up your Wi-Fi, and can even touch up your smile in the family photos from your kayaking trip. Children and teens know a lot about the digital world. But they don’t know everything. And not everything out there is safe for them.
Welcome to the world of parental control apps. It’s meant to empower parents to pick and choose what their children have access to online. Most parents want their digital natives to keep learning online. They’re grateful for the devices that help their children keep in touch while discovering the world around them. Parental control apps just provide limits.
In this blog:
- Learn about what parental control apps do
- Understand why it’s essential to use them
- Know how much access parental control apps have to your child’s devices
What are Parental Control Apps?
There are three primary jobs of parental control software: monitoring, filtering, and management. Some parents even use different programs for each of the various functions. So let’s. Let’s look at what each one does.
Monitoring is all about what you’re able to see on your child’s device. It can include their texts, private messages within apps, photos, and videos they’ve played.
Is your child asking for an iPhone? You’ll have fewer monitoring options than Android users. These restrictions are due to Apple’s strict privacy regulations for apps on its store, not the software you choose.
Some apps monitor context. They send parents alerts about concerns without revealing entire conversations. Others allow parents access to texts, calls, and social media accounts. You’ll have to consider what level of monitoring you need based on what apps your child is using.
Filtering is common to parental control apps as its of the most immediate concern to many parents who want to block their children’s access to undesirable or inappropriate content on the internet.
Management is the most straightforward function of parental control apps. Most apps are comparable in their ability to manage time spent on devices. They offer highly customizable hour-by-hour and day-by-day options.
Look for software that lets you manage:
- Apps your children can download
- Permissions they need to download apps or make purchases from the app store
- In-app purchases that are allowed, disallowed, or need permission
- Time children can spend on a device, certain apps, or days of the week
- Bedtime hours when access to the phone is disabled
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How Does Parental Control Software Decide What to Block?
Some software scans for specific words, context, and AI to filter sites. Some keep large databases of objectionable content. Others use a combination of approaches. In all cases, filtering software scans every request a child makes before allowing the website to load.
All of these apps provide some starter categories parents often want to block. You’ll see 10-20 broad categories like “gambling” and “violence.” You can permanently block categories that aren’t right for your family. Better software lets you choose to block or to allow children access to that content with a parent alert.
In every app on the market today, you can block custom sites from your children’s devices. Some apps make it a breeze. You’ll see your child’s accessed sites, and you can choose to disallow access as you browse. This is a nice option for continuous filtering based on your child’s evolving needs.
How Much Access to a Child’s Device Do Parental Control Apps Provide?
The biggest differences between apps are how well they monitor a child’s device. You won’t track the same activity from each app, so you’ll need to think about what’s important to you.
Parents should know that it is possible to track:
- Direct Messages within apps like Snapchat or Instagram
- Apps children are using
- Time of day children are on their phone
- Browsing and search histories
- Drawings done on their devices
- Text threads, including alerts when someone new texts your child
- Screenshots taken by children on the device
- GPS location
While parental control apps can monitor a lot, they don’t always include monitoring texts, calls, email, and content within social media apps.
Why Are Parental Control Apps Important to Have?
With the increased use of social media, the pressures to have a smartphone at a young age, and the lasting impacts of cyberbullying, setting up parental control apps is the easiest way to monitor your child’s phone or tablet.
How you monitor your children depends on your parenting goals. Before choosing your settings, ask yourself:
- How can my family protect my children from identity theft?
- Do I value transparent parental control software?
- Am I OK missing some aspects of my child’s activity?
- Am I familiar with the apps my children use and which allow anonymity and chatting?
- Do I want to set different schedules with control over apps used during specific times?
- Am I monitoring multiple children?
In a world that’s run by tech, it’s worth considering parental control apps for your children. Parental control apps can help your child use technology safely while helping them grow into responsible users for when the parental control apps come off.
Conclusion: Parental Control Software is a Must in 2022
Technology is just one of the many hurdles of parenthood that you need to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be with parental control apps. Learn the apps your children use, learn your family’s values around monitoring, and set your parameters. If you’re ready to take the next step in keeping your family safe, check out which parental control apps are the best in 2022 and shop them on the Batten Marketplace.