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Posted in Online Savvy | September 2013

Online security: parental controls

Before the age of home computers, portable devices and WiFi, it was much easier to keep an eye on the kind of information to which your child was exposed. These days it can be a lot more challenging. Kids are incredibly computer savvy and portable devices like smartphones and tablets mean children can access the Internet away from home—and your watchful eyes.

Parental controls are one way to help manage what your children view and do online. So, what are they and how can they help keep your kids safer online?

Depending upon the type of computer system you have, parental controls allow you to do things like set limits on your child’s access to websites, limit the hours that they can log onto the computer, and limit which games they can play and which programs they can run.1 In some cases you can even limit whom your child can exchange messages and email with, and which apps they can use. You can even limit in-app purchases, preventing your kids from buying tokens for games they might be playing, for example.2

In addition to using parental controls, it’s important to talk to your children about what kind of content you feel is inappropriate. This will enable them to understand what your family values are and how to conduct themselves accordingly if and when they find themselves in a situation where they have complete online access. Don’t forget to discuss the presence of online predators and potential online dangers with your children so they understand that they can’t always believe everything or everyone they encounter online. Microsoft has a list of valuable tips and suggestions for discussing online predators with your children and minimizing the risk of your child becoming a victim.

While you can’t rely solely on parental controls—because you aren’t with your children 24/7 and can’t always know where else they may be accessing the Internet—having them on your computers and devices at home can reduce the exposure your children have to content you deem inappropriate. To set up parental controls on your Mac, visit Apple Support. For information on setting up parental controls on the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, visit Internet/Network Security or Apple Support.





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