What are parental control apps?
Understanding the scenario
The fact that we are living in the age of technology, changes our milieu and lifestyle than what it used to be. Most of our essential activities around us have taken a digital path. Constantly surrounded by smart technology like touchscreen phones, digital locks, tablets, etc. All your questions can be easily answered on the Internet just with the help of a single click on your smartphone. Children are being exposed to devices like tablets, smartphones, and game consoles from the beginning of their lives. Every teen today demands to have their personal mobile phone. While on the one hand, a mobile phone in today’s digital age is necessary, but it also has its own side effects. Teenagers have unmonitored direct access to the Internet, and that is why it is most likely to invite all the troubles with it. Online scams and cyberbullies are waiting just around the corner.
Setting the Context
To save many parents from these added tension and stress, parental control apps are here. Parental Control apps help the parents to keep a close eye on their children while giving them enough privacy too. Parental control apps have gained immense popularity because they help monitor the children’s online activity on their smartphones and laptops. With the help of parental control apps, teenagers are safe from online dangers and can experience a hassle-free digital ride.
Parental control features can be included in computers and video games, digital television services, smartphones, laptops, etc. It enables parents to easily restrict access to various kinds of content for their teenagers. These controls are created to assist parents in their ability to control the content viewed by their children. This is because certain content that their child may see or stumble upon may be highly inappropriate for their age. Also, a certain type of content is meant only for an adult audience
Classification of Parental Control Apps
There are broadly four categories in Parental Control.
Monitoring controls – These can track the child’s activity and location when using the devices.
Computer Usage controls – These are management tools which enforce the consumption of certain software
Content filters controls – This is to restrict the access and consumption to age-inappropriate content.
Usage controls – This constrains the usage of these devices by placing time-limits on usage or restricting certain types of usage.
Understanding the Filters
Content filters were the first type of parental controls that gained popularity and limited access to the content on the Internet. Television stations also followed suit and introduced the V-Chip technology and set bounds on access to television content. Contemporary usage controls enable an individual to restrict a wide range of explicit content like explicit songs/music and movies. They also have the capability to switch devices off during specific times of the day. This helps to cut down the volume output of all devices. As GPS technology has become affordable, now it is also possible to easily locate gadgets like smartphones.
Needless to say, parents, today are raising a generation of techies. Toddlers can be seen using smartphones and tablets, and teenagers are mostly busy on social media. Also, most educational institutions have integrated computers and tablets into their curriculum. Parents are forced to allow their children and teenagers to have a personal smartphone. Most parents are constantly faced with the challenge of evaluating the pros and cons of providing their children with digital freedom.
This calls for clearly defining the boundaries of such freedom, which is mostly not an easy task. Modern parents feel that restraining a child’s access to the Internet could also keep him/her away from learning skills. But this also automatically means that the child is exposed to the dangers and threats of the online world. Sometimes, the content consumed is beyond their level of comprehension and accurate judgment. That is why installing a robust security system with parental controls on all electronic devices is important. This will help the child to surf through the digital world safely.
Importance of Parental Control Apps
Parental control apps help to monitor your kids’ electronic gadgets.
You can play your part to ensure that your child is safe by monitoring their electronic devices. While your children are learning to be tech savvy and making friends through social media, they mustn’t get astray in the virtual world, as kids are gullible. Parental controls will also help you to monitor social media profiles, emails, texts, and other mobile operations. Parental controls come to the rescue when you are especially anxious about tricky activities or conversations. For example, some apps will notify you when it detects specific words like “drugs.”
Parental control apps will allow you to limit what your child can search on search engines
Search can answer any of your questions these days. The worry here is the unlimited access to content which may be inappropriate for most of the kids. Many factors come into play in deciding what is good or bad for your child. Parental controls such as Google’s SafeSearch can help the parents wedge out adult content, and explicit videos, in search feeds. The best way, though is to talk to your child about inappropriate and age-appropriate content. They should have the comfort-zone to approach you or a trusted adult whenever the need arises.
Parental controls apps block specific features of games that your kids play online
Gaming consoles have internet access that allows your child to browse the web, undertake inn-app purchases etc. Kids can be fooled easily, and this makes them the prime targets for hackers/ cyber-criminals. These features are targeted at making the game more fun, but for parents, it can be a cause for concern. No parent would want their kid to spend money on anything random without asking for permission. Parental controls will enable you to set up user profiles through which kids can only access certain features. Thus, you will be able to monitor their activities better.
Parental control apps enable you to track your child’s location
With the help of GPS apps, you can track your entire family locations. These features guarantee that your child is safe, and they are exactly where they are supposed to be. In case of emergencies, GPS is the best solution. However, for this feature to work, your phone’s GPS needs to be turned on. It is also a good idea to instruct your child not to share their location on social media.
Parental control apps will establish good cyber safety practices
It is a known fact that cybercrime is a multibillion-dollar industry,. The cybercriminals prey on people’s poor safety knowledge and habits.
A teenager is constantly learning and processing new things. Young minds are curious, and their curiosity may lead them to involuntarily engage in risky behavior online. They may disclose too much information, such as their date of birth, school name, and address. This leads to compromising the safety of everyone involved.
Parental control apps also set screen time limits
Long hours of screen time are extremely harmful to eyesight and brain functioning. Also, it is highly addictive. In comparison to an adult, children may find it tougher to break free from their favorite game or show online. Prolonged screen time can also result in bad posture and a lack of physical activity. Parents have to incorporate a healthy lifestyle amongst their children by restricting screen time. Parental controls also help set strict boundaries by putting time limits on the various types of media children consume. Designated gadget-free time and activities like taking a walk, playing an outdoor game, can drastically change your child’s outlook.
Parental control apps also defend the online reputation
Kids today are addicted to making posts on social media and flood the internet pictures from occasions and vacations. Many of these social media posts may go unnoticed. But all it takes is a Google search to make a quick judgement of a person based on the information they shared online. Monitoring social media of your kids by checking the security and privacy settings can keep many troubles at bay. Most social media sites have options for controlling the privacy of your information. Educate your child to make him/her better aware of things.
Cons of Parental Control Apps
Parents at all times need to be aware of their kid’s intelligence. If a child has high intelligence, he/she may outsmart the parents and uninstall monitoring systems from the devices without parents getting a hint about it. Sometimes, the parental control of software or mobile apps can incur high costs. Some mobile apps have highly advanced features, so the price for them is huge too. But this is an issue that can be tackled easily as there are many options for parental control software in the market.
Scope of Parental Control Apps
Parental control apps are the perfect solutions that block undesirable web content and restrict the consumption/use of risky, disturbing content. Basically, these mobile apps are a measure to help keep your kids safer on their mobile devices and computers. Globally, the parental control app industry is expected to expand to $223 million by the year 2028. Studies show that 39% of parents with kids between the age of 4-16 set access controls on their Internet and mobile network. Around 35% of parents set controls on devices that their kids usually use at home. Also, 45% of parents of teenage children implement privacy settings to their kid’s social media profiles.
Popular Parental Control Apps in the US and Australian Markets
Kaspersky Safe Kids
It is a well-featured and affordable parental control app that can be used for both mobile and desktop platforms. The Kaspersky safe Kids app does not have any limits on the number of devices that can be connected to it. It has robust Geofencing and web filtering features. That doesn’t have restrictions on the number of devices you can use it on. However, it has some operating system limitations. Content filtering can be applied to only limited browser options. If you are a fan of a premium interface, then this app might disappoint you.
Norton Family’s Premier
It is easy to set up and a smooth configuration. It comprises a well-designed dashboard and has no cap on the number of devices connected. The downside is that this app does not work on Macs and has some time-limits on per-device usage. Also, unlike Kaspersky Safe Kids, this app has no geofencing.
It is a parental control app that boasts features and controls for a wide range of platforms, making it a very popular free parental control app. It is also available for iOS, Mac, Android, Kindle, and Nook. The free version of this app provides you options such as setting rules and time plans and blocks unsuitable content on the Internet. If you, however, choose to use the paid version, you get extensive controls like SMS monitoring and social media tracking. Net Nanny is considered to be one of the best parental control apps. It has a powerful web-filtering feature and a contemporary and easy to use interface. Net Nanny can help you track your child’s location along with their location history. It is devised for both ios and android operating systems.
In an ideal world, parents should not have to monitor their children on such an extensive level. But that can be moral for an “ideal world,” and we all know the world today is a very unfair and tough place to live in. The web is not a safe place, and children are not mature enough to make the right decisions. This is why parental control apps are the need of the hour. It is an industry with huge potential and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming days.