Parental control tools
Do you want to monitor time your child spends in the Internet? Would you like to guarantee s/he cannot access pornographic websites? Do you want to protect your child from other online threats like gambling, drugs & self-harm, racist content and violence & crime?
If yes, you should consider installing a parental control tool in your child’s computer, mobile phone or tablet.
What are parental control tools?
Parents should be aware of possibilities and threats brought by the Internet and discuss it with children. The most important aspect in protecting children from online threats is direct communication – discussing with them their online behaviours and preferences and informing about safe online behavior.
In addition to that, there are software solutions protecting children/teenagers from online threats (e.g. pornography, violence, self-harm, illicit act incitement, sexting, cyberbullying, pedophilia, etc.). These tools are known as parental control tools.
Parental control tools can be used in three ways:
- Installing on PC or downloading an app on mobile phone / tablet.
- Subscribing to an online filtering service (offered by many Internet Service Providers).
- Combining both solutions.
With these tools parents can:
- Customize Web content filtering: parents may ask the tool to block or to show content indicating the topic, a list of URLs or some specific keywords. They may also set a level of filtering (low, medium, high).
- Block the usage: parents may block the usage of some applications: for instance MSN Messenger or Peer to Peer applications.
- Monitor: parents may receive reports on the activity of children in the Internet, getting the information about the sites that have been accessed or blocked, which applications have been used, etc.
Parental controls should always be seen as an instrument to support parents in their task of education but never as a solution themselves. This was one of the results at the Youth Protection Roundtable, a thematic network co-ordinated by Stiftung Digitale Chancen from 2006 to 2009.