New technology has arrived, and it’s here to stay. These days, we spend more and more time behind screens, especially the teenagers in the house. That’s why parental control over what our children do on the internet is more important than ever.
The internet is a double-edged sword for children and teens. It can be a powerful weapon for learning, but too much time in front of screens can be dangerous if used the wrong way.
Given the digital divide between generations, it’s essential for parents to consider the importance of staying up to date with new technology.
What will you learn in this guide?
This guide brought to you by Ertheo will teach you how to use basic, free tools to supervise and manage how your child uses the internet on different technological devices like phones, computers, and tablets.
There are many parental control applications available for purchase. In this guide, we’re just going to focus on the free parental control tools. We’ll teach you to install and configure the follow applications:
- Family Link – Parental Control for iOS or Android phones and tablets
- Parental Control for Windows 10
- Parental Control for Youtube and Youtube kids
We’ll also show you how to block credit card payments from your phone to keep our children from leaving us a little surprise on our bank statements.
What can you do with parental control apps?
With these apps, you can supervise what your child does on the internet and put limits on the content they can see and download.
- Block inapropriate content
- See what your child does on the internet
- Limit their use of electronic devices
- Authorize downloads that your child requests
- Block the use of electronic devices
- Localize your child through their phone
- And more
Having said this, let’s explain how to configure these free parental control apps:
FAMILY LINK - Free Parental Control App from Google
Family Link is an application created by Google for parents and guardians.
The app has earned a 4.3/5 based on user reviews, and more than a million people have already downloaded the app (through Google play).
With this app, you’ll be able to control how your child uses their phone and/or tablet regardless of whether the devices are Android or iOS. Your child must be younger than 13 years old because Gmail (legally) allows children 13 years and older to create their own account without parental consent.
What can you do with Family Link?
- Create Google accounts for children younger than 13 years old
- Supervise the installation of apps on the child’s device
- Manage use time
- Filtar inappropriate content for children
Watch the following video, to learn how to install and configure this parental control application:
Parental Control for Windows 10 - The best tool to control internet use at home
Windows 10 allows you to control the content your child can access on your laptop or desktop as well as how much time they can use these devices at home.
You’ll have to create an administrative account for you and user account for your child. In the video below, we present all the steps you’ll have to take to correctly configure the parental control of Windows 10.
What can you do with parental control for Windows 10?
- Control access to your devices
- Decide what games your child can play
- Set a schedule which controls when they can use the computer each day of the week
- Control which computer programs your child can use
In the following video, you’ll learn how to install and configure the parental control of Windows 10:
Parental Control for YouTube - Control the your child's access to audio visual content
The greatest platform for audiovisual content in the world also allows you to set up parental control so you can be sure that your child isn’t watching videos that are inappropriate for their age.
If you child watches videos on their phone or tablet, you can download the YouTube kids app which is available for both Android and iOS. This application allows you to:
- Control the amount of time your child spends on YouTube
- Block undesired content
- The YouTube kids app only let’s your child view videos appropriate for their age.
How do you configure YouTube kids?
This YouTube parental control application is very simple to set up and has various functions:
It allows you to create up to 8 profiles with different configuration options adapted to the age or maturity of each child. You can:
- Block videos or channels you don’t want your child to watch
- Save the viewing history of videos your child has watched
- Activate or deactivate the video search option
- Report a video that should not be accessible
- Control the time of use
Below, we’ll tell you how to configure YouTube kids parental control app, step-by-step:
Step 1: Download the YouTube kids app from the Google Play store
(If they ask you to add a bank card, you can skip it.)
Then, an interaction presentation pops up, and you can start to configure.
Step 2: Add your birthday
You must log in with your Google account because it’s already linked to your phone.
Step 3: Create a profile for your child
The app will ask for your child’s personal information: Name and date of birth
Step 4: Activate or deactivate the search bar. What does this mean?
This option allows you to decide whether or not to allow your child to do their own search in YouTube, keeping in mind that they can only access videos appropriate for their age. If you deactivate the search bar, your child will only be able to watch the videos that YouTube suggests.
If you want to change any settings later on, you’ll have to search for the security lock and answer a simple question to prove that you’re a parent. You can also access the settings to set a time limit for the device so your child can only watch videos for a limited time.
Step 5: Create a password to access the app's settings.
Now, you’ll have to set a password so that you’re the only person that can configure the application. To set a password, go to “Settings” ⇒ “Adult verification” ⇒ “Create password”.
They’ll ask you for a 4-digit code which you’ll use to change the settings from then on.
What is the time limit?
By setting a time limit, you can control the amount of time your child spends using YouTube kids. Once your child reaches the time limit that you set, the app will shut off. You can set the time limit so your child can use the app for a little as a few minutes or as long as 2 hours a day.
With these 5 simple steps, your child can start to use the app. That being said, even though this app is designed to limit access to inappropriate content, YouTube kids cannot guarantee that 100% of videos uploaded will be age appropriate. Some videos escape the algorithm, and videos that begin as cartoons end up with inappropriate videos throughout. Although YouTube kids does part of the supervising for you, it’s recommended that you also supervise your child’s activity on YouTube.
Recommendation 1: Check out your the app’s history every once in a while to review the videos your child has been watching.
Recommendation 2: Report. If you notice videos that you’d consider inappropriate, the only way to eliminate it is to report it. YouTube will revise your petition within 7 days and decide whether or not to block the video on YouTube kids.
How to set up YouTube on your computer to block inappropriate content
YouTube kids is great for your phone or your child’s phone or tablet to control what videos your child is watching. But, what kind of options of parental control exist for YouTube on a laptop or computer?
YouTube has various options in their settings that allow you to set up parental control. You can control these settings from the administrative account or the account you have linked to your navigator. Then, you must log out of the administrative account so your children can start to use YouTube according to the restrictions we set in the main account.
Follow these steps to set up parental control in YouTube:
Step 1: Visit YouTube by typing www.youtube.com in your navigator.
Step 2: Click the start button in the upper right of the screen.
Step 3: Log in to your Google account and you’ll be redirected to your Google account.
Step 4: Once logged in, look for the settings button on the left.
In settings, click History and Privacy.
In History and Privacy, you’ll be able to adjust the privacy of your account to your liking. For example, you can decide to keep your subcriptions, reproduction list, or watched videos private.
You’ll find the most important section of your history and privacy settings at the bottom of the page. Click the restricted use mode and save your settings. That way, you keep your child from reverting the privacy settings that you set.
Once you’ve made this change, YouTube restricts the content that’s not appropriate for your child. Just make sure you log out of your administrative account in the upper right of your screen.
Anyone else who uses YouTube without a user account won’t be able to see content marked as inappropriate for children.
How to block a credit card payment on your phone so your child can't buy toys online
Every little precaution is necessary when we let our children use our phones to play games. Many games, in spite of being free, offer extra features at an extra cost.
An excited child in the middle of a game with their parent’s credit card within reach can be a dangerous situation for our bank accounts. Often times, children aren’t even conscious of the fact that they’re spending their parents’ money without their permission.
To avoid these situations, the best thing to do is block credit card payments on your phone so your child won’t be able to make payments.
On Android devices
Step 1: Access the Google Play store on your phone.
Step 2: Then, go to the menu and click Settings.
Scroll down until you see Require authentication for purchases. Turn on this option for all purchases.
You’ll be asked to enter your password for your Google account linked to your phone. Enter your password, and you’ll be all set.
Once you’ve updated this setting, each time you try to make a purchase, you’ll be asked to enter a password. Don’t click “Don’t ask me again,” or you’ll undo what you just set up in your settings, and your child will be able to make purchases again without your permission.
On IOS Apple devices
Step 1: Enter the Apple App store and click settings.
Once in settings, click General and then Restrictions.
A window will pop up with a list of options. Select “Enable restrictions”. Then, you’ll be asked to set a 4-digit passcode.
From then on, each time you want to download an app, you’ll be asked for this code.
What if my child has purchased something without my permission? Is there something I can do to get my money back?
If you notice that your child has made a purchase from your phone without your permission, whether from Google Play, the Apple App store, or on Facebook, don’t worry. Not all hope is lost. If you catch it in time, you can make a claim for a refund.
Read about the many different ways to make a claim below:
For purchases through Google Play
Google Play allows you to ask for a refund for an unauthorized purchased through their application. Click HERE and follow the steps indicated.
For purchases through the Apple store
In the event that your child makes a purchase at the Apple App store, you’ll have to visit
THIS LINK: ( https://appleid.apple.com ) and enter your Apple ID. Then, click See your purchase history to find the unauthorized purchase. Mark the purchase and select I didn’t mean to purchase this item. Then, Apple will decide whether or not to give you a refund.
For purchased made through Facebook
Fill out THIS FORM to let Facebook know that you’ve detected an authorized payment.
Set up parental control on your Smart TV
In this guide, we’ve given you all the tools you need to control the use of your smart devices at home. But, what about the TV? Maybe you’ve forgotten, but if you have a Smart TV (a TV connected to the internet), your child can access all internet content through the TV.
Fortunately, Smart TVs also offer parental control options to block channels, access, and limit usage time. In THIS LINK, you’ll learn how to set up parental control on your Smart TV.
If you don’t plan to block internet usage on your TV, we recommend at least deactivating voice searches. Children have an incredible ability to figure out how to use voice commands when their parents often don’t even realize that the option exists.
Depending on the brand of Smart TV that you have, setting up parental control for voice search will be a little different. That being said, most of the steps are quite similar. Below, you’ll find the steps for voice search configuration of the most popular Smart TV brands.
Parental control for voice search on a Samsung Smart TV
If your Smart TV is a Samsung, setting up parental control will be simple. You’ll have to go to the Settings menu and select Smart Features. Then, scroll down until you see Voice recognition. Set it to Off.
Parental control for voice search on a Sony Smart TV
If you have a Sony Bravia Smart TV, these are the steps you’ll have to follow to deactivate the voice search feature:
First, you’ll have to click the Home button on the TV remote. Then, go to Settings and search for the Speech option (look for a microphone icon). Set it to Off.
The best parental control apps available for purchase
Along with the free methods of parental control we’ve mentioned above, for more advanced methods of supervision, there are also parental control apps available for purchase.
With these apps, you’ll be able to control your child’s cell phone use from a distance. You can even track their phone’s location.
These are some of the best parental control apps available for purchase:
This application is very complete and one of the most well-known. It allows you to monitor phone calls, social media, and even track your child’s location, among other things. There is also a panic button for your child’s phone in case they need to send you an alert in the event of an emergency.
This application not only allows you to locate your children, but it also tells you all the places they have been. And, you can set limits. For example, you can set the app to alert you if your child has gone farther than 2 kilometers from your house.
This is another one of the most popular applications for advanced parental control. It allows you to block calls, limit usage time, see what pages your child has searched online, control their use of applications, etc.