The internet is full of countless pictures, videos, blogs, movies, and more. With just a quick Google search, you’re able to find just about anything you desire. However, no matter how useful this may be, it can also mean that your children stumble across content they shouldn’t or don’t need to see. This article outlines whether or not you should monitor internet usage, and the best internet filters for families.
Should Parents Monitor Their Kid’s Internet Usage?
Internet parental controls are a way for you as a parent to guarantee that your children aren’t viewing content that isn’t appropriate for them to see. With parental monitoring, you’re able to select what is and isn’t age-appropriate and restrict access accordingly. There are some pros and cons to restricting internet usage.
- You’re able to protect your kid’s personal information. Personal information is easy to compromise, especially with young children who don’t necessarily understand what is meant to be protected. With parental controls, you’re able to guarantee your kid’s information is safe.
- You can avoid pesky viruses. Accessing unstable or unprotected sites or even downloading apps may result in viruses on your devices. You’re able to prevent this with parental controls.
- You’re able to limit screen time. Limiting screen time is important for a young one’s development. Encouraging less device usage and more development activities is good for your child. Additionally, limiting screen time can help make sure you don’t run out of data!
- You can block inappropriate content. Inappropriate content is very easily accessed in today’s internet era. You can avoid your child being exposed to something that isn’t age appropriate with parental monitoring.
- You can stop inappropriate messages. For a child, it’s very easy to be confused, manipulated, or exposed to inappropriate content by online predators. With your parental controls, you can help your child avoid these interactions.
- Your child may feel not trusted. Children often express discomfort or annoyance with parental controls, as it does limit their freedom and may make them feel as if you don’t fully trust them. This is especially true for older children.
- It may cost money. Some internet control programs cost money monthly or yearly. This can add up. The free versions don’t always offer everything you need, either, so you need to consider cost when deciding on parental controls.
- It may be time consuming. Some parental control programs require you to look through everything that has been accessed. Additionally, you may desire to go through all internet access or content access to see exactly what has been viewed. This could take quite a bit of time.
How Do You Set Up Parental Controls?
There are multiple methods to setting up parental controls. Choosing the best internet filters for families may be difficult, so it is important to look through each method and decide which will be best for your family.
- With your browser or account. Your internet browser will most often have an option to set up parental controls. Using Chrome, have your child create a child’s Google Account. Using Family Link, you are able to navigate through selecting websites that should be blocked as well as choosing the option “Try to Block Mature Sites”. This eliminates access to most inappropriate sites, eliminates the ability to use Incognito mode, and allows you to select websites and content that should be restricted. You are also able to view all activity. Windows is similar, in that you are able to create a child’s account and block mature content and restrict other content.
- With your router. Some routers grant you the ability through the router itself to set up and activate parental controls. However, depending on the router, you will have to use a different platform in order to create this ability on the router itself. Programs such as OpenDNS allow you to create parental controls through your router. This prevents your child from bypassing any of your parental controls, as the router is more restrictive with access.
- With a third-party program. Third-party software is often preferred. Third-party software is downloaded onto your computer, and is generally able to monitor internet access from all devices. However, these can be difficult, and sometimes limited depending on the software.
Best Internet Filters for Families
Paid Internet Filters
- McAfee Safe Family. For $7.99 a month, you are able to limit usage, monitor inappropriate content on any number of devices, and provide internet security. However, it can make your internet speed run slow, and more tech-savvy children may understand how to get around the program.
- Norton Family Premier. For $49.99 a month, you are able to monitor content, limit usage, and block inappropriate content on any number of devices. However, if you have a Mac, this program is not compatible, and there is very limited social media monitoring.
- Qustodio. For $39.95 a month, you can block apps and content on any platform, including mobile devices, limit usage, and monitor content. It’s also easy to navigate. However, tech-savvy users may understand how to get around this platform as well (a simple VPN does so), and there is not much social media monitoring.
Free Internet Filters
- OpenDNS. OpenDNS works directly with your router, and the free version will give you just about everything you need for internet parental controls. With this choice, you can monitor any device, even mobile devices, limit usage, block websites and content, and receive reports of accessed content. However, it’s more time consuming, as the reports received include all accessed content, and it is not user-specific; meaning you won’t be able to tell who exactly accessed the content.
- Kaspersky Safe Kids. Kaspersky Safe Kids is another great free method. This version allows for extensive website and content monitoring and restriction, as well as limiting usage, and alerts for inappropriate content access. However, it’s not very compatible with iOS devices or social media monitoring.
Choose the Best Internet Filter for You!
The best internet filters for families are not always simple to choose. A lot must be considered when deciding on the best internet parental controls, but our guide should help you choose what is best. For best internet access, contact Nomad Internet and guarantee that your family will never have to be without internet access, no matter where you are!
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