Tech Talk: Parental Controls and Your Kids

Published on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in Internet

Dad blocking son's eyes from TV

Parenting is a beautiful and rewarding experience, but is also just plain hard. Navigating parenthood in a connected world presents challenges that didn't previously exist. How do you keep your children safe online? How do you make sure they aren't watching shows that don't meet parental approval? Here are a few helpful tips for finding good parental controls:

On the Internet: There are many different ways to block access to different sites. Let's take a look at a few:

  1. Services you can subscribe to: These include Net Nanny, Qustodio, and Norton's Family Premier. Each of these starts around $50 per year, and offers full control across multiple computers.
  2. Operating system built-ins: Windows and Mac OS come with parental control features. These let you set up separate user profiles for your kids that limit the websites they can visit, the times they can use the internet, and the media they can access.
  3. DIY control: If your family shares one user profile on your computer, you can also restrict the whole computer with a password, or set your browser so it won't open certain websites.

On the TV: Internet controls are important, but what about the TV? Here are some ways you can control the content kids watch:

  1. V-Chip technology: Every TV larger than 13” and manufactured since the year 2000 includes a V-Chip that lets you block inappropriate content. Use your remote to access your TV's setup menu to control the V-Chip.
  2. Smart TV controls: Almost all Smart TVs offer parental control options. If you're not sure how to access those controls, Manuals Online can help you find the instructions for your make and model.
  3. Streaming services: If you use a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, make sure your kids' accounts are set up with the limits you desire.

Parental controls can't keep your kids away from everything you don't want them to see, but they're an important start. Best of luck with the delightful, scary, joyful, nerve-wracking ride that is modern parenthood.