These days, our kids are more tech-savvy than we are. While you’d love to trust that your children are following the rules for responsible surfing and TV watching, they will test their limits.
Fortunately, knowing that curious minds will stray from acceptable websites and programs puts you one step ahead, so you can stop the problem before it starts. Parental controls are available for everything from digital TV services, computers and video games to smartphones and tablets. Here’s a breakdown on parental controls for various media.
If your children are using a service like Dish to watch TV and movies online on a smartphone or tablet, parental controls will ensure they don’t stumble upon adult content. You can also stop accidental purchases by setting up parental controls that require a pin or password to purchase media.
IPhone/iPad: Settings> General > Restrictions. Here you will Enable Restrictions and type in the required four-digit passcode that is specific to you alone. Here, you can also:
- Disable apps like Safari, YouTube and iTunes (which will completely be removed from view on the screen)
- Set age restrictions
- Block any specific movie ratings (you can leave PG-13 and block R and NC-17 if you want)
- Block any specific TV shows (including TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA, etc.)
- Block books with explicit sexual content
- Allow for only age appropriate apps
- Limit adult content websites, block specific sites or block all websites
- Activate location services so you always know where your child is
- Lock purchase power
When you want to open certain access, you can simply visit the Restrictions tab again and Disable Restrictions.
Android: Download the Android Parental Control app to control access to apps with ratings. Check the Settings menu for further restrictions and setting.
PS3/PSP: Settings > Security Settings. Choose restrictions based on a level from 1-11. Enable parental controls to restrict games, DVD and Blu-Ray playback, web browsing and access to the store. You will have a four-digit code to enable and disable.
Xbox 360: Settings > Family icon. With a four-digit code, you can block specific ratings, timers and online access. The Ratings and Content tabs let you set exceptions so you can allow access to places you've already approved him or her to visit.
Parental controls are built into modern set top boxes and TVs. Check the Settings menu and use a four-digit code to restrict rated shows and movies. MPAA is the movie rating and TV Parent Guidelines for television.
Netflix: Log into account. Your Account > Help > Change parental control settings. There’s no passcode to disable, so be sure you want these restrictions enforced on yourself, as well.
Apple: System Preferences > Parental Controls. Create account with parental control settings. Use the Automatic setting to block adult content through filters provided.
You can also set up a list that allows access only to sites you approve. You have the capability to block mail, chat, apps and utilities and you can set time limits.
Windows: Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Set up. Parental controls are set up similar to Apple. You can set restrictions for any user.
Firefox: Utilize the add-ons FixFilter and brOOzi to block web content.
Internet Explorer: Tools > Internet Options > Content. Filter for offensive content under the Content Advisor menu.
Find a balance between censoring everything and allowing kids to enjoy using the Internet and game consoles. It is possible to properly monitor media use without hurting them with too much censorship. Restrict time spent on devices and always be one step ahead of them when enabling parental controls so they don’t find a workaround.