In today’s generation, kids have become smarter than most of their parents. Technology-wise, parents sometimes turn to their children to assess them in using various apps. This sometimes poses a question - Is too much knowledge a good thing? When children get busy online, it is a sure thing for them to come across various elements which can be harmful to them. This can get worrisome for the parents and serve as a threat for the children.
In order to ensure their safety, it becomes essential for parents to set up the best parental control software programs or apps. This way, they can keep an eye on their kids’ activity while also limiting their usage. However, the question remains as to whether these apps are reliable enough or not. Read on to know more about the best parental control software apps and how efficient they are in delivering security.
1. Functions of Parental Control apps
- Parental control apps (family safety apps), which are available in plenty, structures how a parent can manage the amount of time spent by their kids on the internet and even block certain websites. These apps are available on smartphones as well as on computers.
- These apps are mostly installed by those parents who want to keep their children away from any harm online, whether it is protection from cyber bullies or sexual offenders.
2. Features of Parental Control apps
2.1 Individual logged accounts
The parental control app has options to set up individual accounts on the device. Reporting and supervising become easier as the user accounts are logged in.
Ensure that the usernames and passwords are easy to remember while also avoiding the trouble!
2.2 Usage Controls
With this feature, one can limit the amount of time spent online by their kids. What one has to do is simply set up a window for the desired app - maybe a specific online game or Netflix. Once the time limit is up, the window will automatically close on its own.
One needs to make sure to use the right account while setting the time limit and certain other restrictions. If not, one's user account will be denied access, hampering their ‘Netflix and Chill' time!
2.3 Content filters
It becomes a matter of concern when one thinks about the various things that children will encounter online. For this reason, using content filters becomes necessary to block certain advertisements or websites.
What one needs to note is that filtering content or blocking websites may come at a risk. For example, if stores that list goods fall under the filtered web content, it will automatically block the page which lists the goods.
2.4 Reporting and monitoring
The reporting and monitoring feature helps parents keep a watchful eye on their children when it comes to their daily online activities.
This feature gives a variety of options, depending on which parental control app one uses. Nearly all apps send emails along with a weekly rundown of the child's online activities. Upon installation, one can lower the level of accessing data by choosing the most suitable option.
3. Which is the best parental control software?
Now that the assessment of the functions of parental control apps is over, one may wonder on which is the best parental control software for maximum security. Worry not, because some computers already have the feature built-in on the system!
3.1 Windows 10
For Windows 10 users, the feature is already available on the device because of the in-built Windows Family Safety tool. To start using, navigate the mouse to ‘Settings,’ click on ‘Accounts,’ then click on ‘Family and other uses.’ From there, one can add the user accounts for their kids and adults alike.
In Windows 10, one will also have the option of checking the previously visited sites, and can also opt out of it manually. For those who don’t have the latest version of Windows, one must download Windows Live Family Safety on their devices to enjoy the benefit of the parental control app.
3.2 MAC OS X
Mac OS X also has built-in parental control software. Go to ‘System Preferences’ and then click on ‘Accounts.’ The ‘Managed with Parental Controls’ option will give the user the option to unlock the settings while entering new accounts. With this, one can control several accounts and set limits on various websites and games that their kids have access to.
Android also has built-in parental control software after its updated version Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This makes it useful for parents who have kids always glued to the screen of their smartphones. To get started, one will have to open one's notification from the top of their smartphone screen, choose the ‘User' option and after that, add the user account.
The settings of this software on Android will give the option to allow or disallow the user from making phone calls or sending text messages.
iPads and iPhones also have in-built parental control software in them. To get it working, go to ‘Settings,’ then tap on ‘General.’ From there, choose the option ‘Enable Restrictions’ which will then give the option to set a passcode. After setting the code, one will have the option to enable or disable apps content and apps according to one's choice.
4. Third-party safety apps
There is also various other third-party parental control software available where one may find them quite useful and easy to navigate. Some of the best third-party safety apps are listed below.
4.1 Windows and Mac for desktop
While there are many available options for users of Windows and Mac, some of the software programs that are usable across multiple computers are K9 Web Protection, Avira Parental Control, and Qustodio.
K9 Web Protection app gives the user the option to filter the web and also limit the online activity to a set time.
Avira Parental Control for Social Media comes along with Avira Free Antivirus. This program will help examine the behavior of one's child on various social media platforms. Although this may seem as going a little too far for the child’s protection, it gives useful data and also brings to light those scammers or other such offenders who may try to misdirect the kids.
Qustodio program also gives the option to filter the web and also provide data on time spent online as well as the number of apps previously accessed.
For those who use Linux, there are not many options when it comes to parental control software. However, if one uses Ubuntu or other distributions of Linux, one may opt for the Web Content Control feature available on Ubuntu.
4.3 Smartphones (iOS and Android)
- iOS and Android smartphones come with MM Guardian Parental Control software. This helps in permanently blocking apps and configuring the content of the web.
- The Screen Time Parental Control feature helps in limiting screen time on the phone and is considerably less intrusive.
It has become essential in the truest sense for families to set up the best parental control software to keep their children out of harm. Setting up the best parental control software has a lot of benefits and will keep the family safe from all kinds of harmful elements.