Dec 23, 2019
You’re not alone if it feels like every week you’re reading more in the news about parental controls and screen time. Parental control software allows parents to manage and have visibility into what their kids are doing online. As children and teens spend more time online, better ways to keep track of your kids’ digital lives are becoming an indispensable tool.
If you’re wondering if it might be time to invest in parental control software for your child’s Internet-enabled devices, the short answer is yes. The fact that installing parental control software has even crossed your mind is an indicator that you’re ready for the additional security software provides, if only for peace of mind.
Are you worried your kids are addicted to their screens? Learn more about tech addiction.
Why Parental Control Software is a Necessity
There are many types of parental control apps and software on the market, managing everything from filtering the sites your child visits to sending you alerts and reports regarding what your child is doing and more. Think of parental control software as your right-hand man, an extra set of eyes helping monitor your child’s online activity, keeping them safe and secure.
Most devices come with native parental controls, but these can easily be disabled or worked around. They often lack many capabilities and customizable features that a parent will be looking for when setting up limits for their child.
Not only does parental control software keep your family safe and keep you alert of any dangerous activity, but this software can also help you find a balance when it comes to the amount of screen time your child is getting by allowing you to set limits.
According to a JAMA Pediatrics 2019 study, too much screen time can lead to negative impacts on development including with memory, attention, and language skills. Even more, from that same study, excessive screen time is also affecting the amount of quality sleep and physical activity kids are getting, leading to obesity, poor academic performance, mental health issues and more.
Check out these 8 reasons why you should consider using a parental control software:
- You need support or backup for keeping your children’s Internet experiences safe.
The Internet is a great place where we can learn and find endless entertainment, but there are a lot of online predators and inappropriate content. You can have many conversations with your children about Internet safety and they still might make mistakes or venture into risky situations. Educating them on how to use the Internet in a safe way is important, but it’s just as important to make sure you have a system in place to act as a second set of eyes.
- Your child is using multiple devices and/or browsers to access the Internet.
Monitoring your child’s Internet usage used to be as easy as keeping the family PC in a centralized location in the house. These days, children are issued tablets for school, have their own smartphones, and are able to take their laptops anywhere with them. It’s going to be difficult for parents to manage all of these devices and keep track of which browser their child is using on any of them.
Managing the settings on multiple browsers can be tricky and if you have an older child, odds are that they already know how to bypass or disable those settings. A parental control software can eliminate this issue as it will apply settings to all devices and browsers, controlled by the parent.
- You’re unable to continually monitor your child’s activity.
No matter how diligent you are, there will be times when your child has access to the Internet in your absence. Whether it’s the time between school and when you return from work or the hour you’re occupied making dinner, you can’t be everywhere at once. Parental control software is especially helpful for those with multiple children as they can monitor your child’s Internet activity and browsing as well as alert you when restricted sites are accessed.
- You’re afraid of a virus or malware attack.
As much as you communicate with your children and have great security on your computer, there is always the chance that your child may stumble into malware. If you have a younger child, the chances are greater that they may happen upon a warning page, yet continue to click through. Parental control software helps filter out sites that are inappropriate and often have malware attached, ready to attack.
- You have an older child who is able to navigate device and browser settings.
Older children frequently will become increasingly tech savvy, often surpassing your own knowledge. Parental control software can step in, when your child has discovered how to get around device and browser settings, by continuing to filter out content you consider inappropriate for your child’s age.
- You need greater control over your child’s mobile devices.
Keeping up with what your child is doing on their mobile devices all the time is nearly impossible on your own. After-school activities, sleepovers, and school trips are all times when you want your child to have their cell phone with them for safety and security but that also means they are free to do whatever they want with their phones during this time. Even at home, parents cannot look over their child’s shoulder at all times. A parental control software will be on the lookout for your child when you can’t be.
- Your family’s schedule makes it difficult to have regular check-in chats on Internet usage rules and expectations.
It’s incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day stresses of life and put off an Internet usage check-in chat with your children. Parental control software allows you to easily take a look at the sites your child is frequenting and provides you with reports showing what web pages were blocked. Better still, the best parental control softwares are designed to issue a real-time alert, so parents can take action immediately.
- You want to set time limits for devices, but aren’t always there to enforce them.
The beauty of parental control software is that you can remotely manage as much or as little of your child’s devices as is suitable for your family. Routine is healthy and helpful for children and this software can help you schedule times for Internet usage or allow you to allot a specific number of hours of usage per day. When time is up, Internet access stops.
Parents have a huge job of trying to keep their children safe while simultaneously giving them space to grow. As technology advances and we all spend more time on our devices, customizable parental control software is a great tool for parents to add to their arsenal.
Finding the best parental control software for your family can be an added layer of protection and alleviate some of the worries that parents have while their children are online. Parental control software like Net Nanny offer many features that work to keep your kids safe on all their devices. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not your family needs a parental control software, consider these reasons and just how much time your kids spend online.
Lauren B. Stevens
Lauren B. Stevens
Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer and influential blogger. She is passionate about social media and literature.