Parental control is the act of monitoring, influencing, or regulating the behavior of a child to ensure that they do not engage in activities that are potentially dangerous or harmful. Control your child’s Internet usage is a responsible way for parents to protect their children from potentially harmful material, which is easily accessible via the Internet.
The special protection that must be maintained over the use of electronic devices and Internet access by minors falls under the parameters of the so-called parental control.
Parental control tools can be combined with operating systems’ own parental control tools, installed in specific apps or available from content providers and social networks
Referred terminologically to parents (as derived from “parens, parentis“, to give birth in Latin) extends its application both to other relatives with minors in their care (grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, aunts and uncles…. Also to tutors or teachers who must also maintain control over the content accessed by minors or the use they make of these tools.
By means of this control, support is offered in the digital learning of minors, but limiting the functions and scope of their devices when they connect to the Internet as well as other issues such as. the time they spend on their use.
Parental control functions
Thus a first classification of the functions to be applied to this parental control must be established according to the need:
-Content filtering: Blocks the minor’s access to inappropriate content, especially those that include aspects with sexual or violent connotations.
-Time control: Displays warnings or blocks navigation upon reaching a certain time or time limit for using the device, Internet connection or certain applications or programs.
-Activity monitoring: Reports are created with the browsing history, search history or multimedia content playback history. These reports can be consulted later by the adult in charge of supervising the minor.
-Geolocation: Detects the current position and path of the device.
-Setup protection: Prevents modifications of parental control settings.
To implement these parental controls there are four different strands that can be complementary to each other depending on the origin of these controls:
-Operating system: The main desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac) and for mobile devices (iOS, Android) have different parental control settings in their configuration menus. These programs do not require installation as they are built into the operating systems themselves.
-Parental control applications: There are different applications or specific programs that expand the possibilities to limit or control the functions available in the use of mobile devices or computers.
-Content providers: Websites, search engines, social networks and streaming platforms themselves offer options that allow them to be configured so as not to display content that is not appropriate for minors. In some cases, access to minors is prohibited, the age at which a profile can be opened is limited or, as in the case of Facebook, privacy protection for minors is reinforced.
The best parental control apps
Finally there are different apps that allow you to set and manage parental control over different devices.
-Family Time: Available for iOS, Android and Kindle. It allows you to set content filtering, restrict apps (approving or blocking those that can be downloaded from app stores) and regulate the maximum time for each app or game. It also includes monitoring functions, collecting information on installed apps, contacts, messages, Internet browsing and phone calls.
-Qustodio: Its content filtering allows you to restrict access to certain categories of websites, sending alerts if you try to access unauthorized pages. It can block the device completely or only certain applications. All this according to a previously established schedule and collects information on usage and applications and the time spent on each of them.
-Norton Family: It is capable of filtering content on web pages according to an organization through categories or lists of both authorized and blocked pages. It is also possible to restrict the use of the web browser or different apps. Its time control allows you to set usage by hours, days or time slots. Different levels of supervision can be set.
-Screen Time: Includes the ability to restrict access to applications, time control both for the entire device and for specific applications.
-Locategy: Its content filtering allows disabling the use of applications and access to web content not suitable for minors. Its time control function allows setting maximum time slots for device use.
It can also block access to certain apps. In the same way, it includes alerts and notifications in case a specific location of the device is detected. For this purpose, geolocation is used or in situations of potential risk for the child. Its monitoring section collects information on the apps installed, the content of the web pages accessed and the time of use.