The internet and technology have greatly revolutionized the way we do things in our lives. Be it at our workplace, school, church, home, the internet is literally everywhere. It’s quite informative, entertaining and a great resource point for children to say the least. Everything nowadays is just a click of a button away. Unfortunately, these benefits have come with a price and it’s our children getting the shorter hand of the stick. This is because children are gullible, often too trusting to ‘friends’ they make online and cannot ascertain what to take in and most importantly from whom.
The upbringing of children and teenagers differs from family to family. There are those parents who will introduce the internet to their children at an early age and those that may choose to wait it out till they are at a consenting age. Regardless of the choice, it goes without saying, parental control is essential for all families with children in the 21st century. Parental control is a feature that can be found in most smart devices such as phones, computers, smart TVs and the likes. It helps parents control what is accessible to their children and what activities they engage in online.
A few of the parental control softwares are absolutely free while others need to be purchased online. The controls are quite versatile to suit different parent’s needs. For instance, FamiSafe offers parents quite a number of safety options for the children such as location tracking, content filtering, screen time control, and site blocking. Parents need to conduct proper research on parental control software to narrow in on what best profits their child as there are several categories of parental control that a parent can choose over the others depending on what they want to be accessible to their children.
Some popular parental control categories are highlighted as below;
- Content filters: allows the parent to limit age-inappropriate content to their children.
- Site blocking: blocks inappropriate sites from popping up on the screen while the children are online.
- Time allowance: restricts the amount of time a child uses the internet on a particular day
- Logging access: parents can use passwords and usernames to restrict children from accessing restricted smart devices
- Monitoring software: this parental control monitors the exact location and all the log-in activities of your child.
- Physical involvement: this category is not a software per se, but it’s an essential tool in parental control. Physical involvement is where a parent is themselves the parental control. They sit with their children and teach them of the do’s and don’ts of the internet.
Essential benefits of parental control to the children
Keep cyber-bullies at bay
Cyber-bullying is when a child becomes a target of actions from others while on the internet. The bullies use online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap chat among many others to harass, threaten and abuse people. Cyber-bullying doesn’t discriminate the gender, race or even age. Traditional bullying, especially in school, is something frowned upon and many serious measures such as expulsion and suspension are taken against the perpetrators.
Traditional bullying has now taken as a new face as the modern-day cyber-bullying. Cyberbullying is a growing problem that has demanded the attention of the world at large. It has greatly affected schools, churches, homes, offices and there has been a lot of research done on this issue to try to get a global resolve. Sad to say, cyber-bullying is proving to be a hard nut to crack.
There are plenty of depression and suicide cases reported every year as a result of cyberbullying. Children are often not quick to speak out and parents only discover when it’s too late. A simple bullying comment that a child could easily ignore might cost a life. Parental control software can notify the parent of any cyber-bullies for them to address promptly.
Prevent internet addiction
Children are always eager to learn and be entertained, be it with their toys, other children or the internet. A child can easily go hours on end playing video games or watching cartoons on the net with no lunch break. If the hours spent online aren’t closely supervised, children may neglect other aspects of their lives such as homework, sports and physical socialization with their peers. This has made some children anti-social, lag behind when it comes to social events and deteriorating grades. Parental control normally helps parents limit the time spent on the internet for the health and safety of their children.
Limit access to adult content
Pornography, drug use, violence, and gambling are some of the social vices that children are exposed to on the internet either intentionally or not. Even if your child is not outrightly looking for these sites, there are promotional links that pop onto the screen that children can accidentally click and voila! Parental control blocks child access and limits any unauthorized popups.
Catch child predators
The online world can be a dangerous place for a child. Predators always target children and solicit sexual favors. This is a serious concern to parents as some children have fallen prey. There are many reports of defilement and rape all emanating from the internet. Programs such as ‘how to catch a predator’ for instance, highlight the ranging numbers of adults prying on children while they are on the internet. Priests, members of parliament, teachers, just to name but a few are who have been caught by the show. The predators canvas their information and lie about their ages to initiate contact with the children and later on manipulate. Parents who use parental control software are able to closely monitor social interaction and advise their children accordingly.
Tracking your child’s location
This has got to be the best feature of parental control. Truth be told, parents cannot always be physically with their children every day due to different life hustles. With parental control, parents are informed of the whereabouts of their children at all times. If a child is trapped in a dire situation, the parent can easily tract the last location they were at and reach him or her before something drastic happens.