Parental controls are an important part of any household internet safety policy. They will allow you to set up user accounts, restrict access to certain websites and downloads, filter inappropriate content and monitor user activity. Use the information below to learn how to make use of parental controls on your child’s cell phone, tablet or computer.
Apple devices using iOS come with built in parental controls, known as Restrictions. See how you can configure these options below.
Android devices offer parental controls on all of their operating systems. Follow the points below to set up parental controls on your device.
Depending on which version of Mac OS you have, there are a number of settings available for you to activate content restrictions and parental controls (please refer to iOS devices above if you have an iPhone or iPod touch you wish to apply parental control settings to).
Follow the instructions below to get started. Please note, this applies for users on MacOS Sierra only. For earlier versions of Apple’s operating systems, please log on to the Apple website here and search for ‘Parental Controls’ and your Mac OS version to get the correct settings as menus and options can be slightly different.
Getting started with parental control features
Setting up restrictions
Once an option is selected you can set restrictions and prevent certain functions from being used by default for that user.
Desktop and PC users using Microsoft Windows 10 can access Parental Controls but in order to do so, you must first create a Microsoft account. Follow the steps below to get started:
Creating your Microsoft account and your child’s
Adjusting Parent Control Settings
With your account and your child’s account active you can now begin to adjust the level of access your child has. To do this, head over to Accounts in the menu and under the Family & Other People tab you’ll be able to find your child’s account and then Manage Family Settings Online:
As a default, Windows does not allow children to use their Microsoft account to download any adult games or movies, however you may wish to restrict certain apps and content for extra protection.
Depending on which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you have, there are additional parental control settings that you can configure when first connecting your devices to the internet. Keep in mind that should you wish to include parental controls from your ISP, these will only apply to devices connected to the same network (in your home or office). Therefore you may want to consider additional steps for individual devices such as phones or laptops in the points mentioned above. For example, you may wish to restrict content your child can access when using their device in different places – such as at school, in a library or at a shopping mall.
Most internet service providers will offer basic configuration options for your home router which you can then adjust when you begin the process of connecting your devices to the internet. Instructions for these parental control settings are normally found either within the instruction manual of the router from its original packaging, or on the configuration window when you setup your device for the first time. Sometimes there is no configuration window and your device simply connects with the router password you have been given.
Accessing your router’s settings may require advanced technical knowledge if it doesn’t come with pre-built software where you can simply select options in the menu. In this use case, it is advisable to implement parental controls at a device level, for example using the Microsoft Windows Family settings, or via Apple’s in-built parental control features.