Top 10 Helpful Parental Control Tools
Raising children is all about setting boundaries, until they are responsible enough to make informed choices, and providing the right example of what is good and what is bad. Until recently, there was a problem with boundaries within the digital realm. The most popular answer was to take that darn phone away. However, today it is already obvious that digital presence is essential to modern kids, so depriving them of it is a drastic measure. Luckily, now parents have a wide array of digital tools and gadgets to create safe digital space for children to explore and learn to live in. Here are some of them.
Filip is a wearable device for young kids that is essentially a no-nonsense smartwatch: it can make and receive calls from 5 numbers, receive one-way texts, and of course it serves as a beacon to help you track the location of your child via the app on your own Android or iOS operated smartphone. Filip informs you when your child leaves or enters a preset safe zone (home, school, kids club, etc.), so you will always be sure he or she is where they should be.
Let’s be honest, a moderation in screen time is an issue to most of us, but when it comes to kids, they simply have no concept of “enough”. They can play their favorite games for hours as if their life depends on the highest score in the table. This is why apps like DinnerTime are as much life saviors as they are time saviors. Parents can put time limits on particular apps and on the device entirely, switching it off for night hours, exams and, of course, family dinners.
We’ve all been there, on one side of the conflict, or the other. An exasperated parent, a sassy, nonchalant teen, giving them the cold shoulder, slamming the door, leaving in the middle of a conversation, ignoring all the calls. However, now parents have an ace up in their sleeve: one little app will render young rebel’s phone useless, living only one function operable, that is to call back their parents to discuss the situation. And we sure know, that a teen can stand to be without a smartphone for, like, 10 minutes tops?
7. Pumpic App
This app can do app blocking, GPS-tracking and content filtering on both Android and iOS devices, but there is more to it. Pumpic provides full-scale monitoring of device usage and online activity: if the child shares some sensitive information in the private messages, bullies someone or is being bullied, snaps risky selfies or flirts with strangers – the parent will know. An excellent incentive to behave online, don’t you agree? In addition, a good way to teach that digital always has real-life consequences.
This is the best solution for families that share the tablet with toddlers and young kids – it allows creating multiple user profiles within the single device and customize settings for each of them. Parents can create a safe kid launcher, limit the time their children spend with the tablet, block ads, objectionable apps, and online purchases. Kids Place has all the necessary basics for trouble-free digital entertainment, personalized to be age-appropriate for each child in the family.
This app is very thorough in blocking inappropriate content and apps that parents disapprove. It goes further – blocks them in bulks (categories) and even hides new apps in the App Store, so they become invisible from the child’s device. The parents may also limit the internet access during study hours or bedtime. Of course, blocking the iPhone remotely as a stimulus to get the attention of the wayward teen is also available.
4. Parent Kit
The “kit” stands in the title for a reason – one parental device becomes a remote control to all of the kid’s iOS devices and has the power to set up schedules and limit the content within Safari browser, block purchases, and control media on each of them individually. Parents can also block the selection of apps for specified periods, so now getting children to do their homework or sending them to their beds becomes tenfold easier.
TimeWize teaches children to use their devices responsibly and wisely. With the help of this app, parents can lock and unlock particular apps remotely, ban inappropriate apps completely, set schedules and track the location of their child. There is even a silver lining for the kids: they have a possibility to send requests, asking to allow them using a particular blocked app just this once (because this is not a school night or a lesson was canceled) – it is up to the parent whether to grant such permission.
This free parental dashboard will monitor child’s Facebook and Twitter activities and alert parents in case something suspicious is going on. This service was specifically designed to ensure children’s safety on Facebook, protect them from online predators and prevent cyberbullying. The nicest thing about it is that there is no software download is required. The drawback, however, is that you should get Facebook credentials from your child in the first place.
1. Mobile Fence
This popular app for Android operated devices, apart from blocking and scheduling, offers parents to take a peek on what activities their children perform most often on their smartphone and how much screen time do they have daily. Such insight will help to set limits, which are more appropriate and effective: for example, if the teen is keen on selfies and cannot get enough of them even during the classes, parents can block the smartphone’s camera for school hours. Geofencing and tracking of the lost device are also available.