Once upon a time, there were only a few channels to choose from, and there was no need for parental controls.

For one, programming on TV was mostly family oriented.

Secondly, most of the time, families watched TV together.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of channels, depending on your service provider, plus Netflix, Hulu, and HBO.

Families don’t have to watch programs together because almost everything is available on demand. And on top of it all, there are smart phones and computers that parents and grandparents can attempt to monitor.

There are a lot of options to choose from for secure parental controls for various technologies.

Read here to discover your options and find out how setting up parental control works.


Parental Control on TV

TV parental controls are perhaps the easiest to set up. They are more standardized than other options, being built into the TV.

Since January 1st, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required all TVs to be built with a V chip, which allows parental controls to work.

Though all TVs are different, the general set up for parental controls is at least similar in most TVs.

Typically, you will use your remote to access the setting or main menu for your TV.

Then, look for prompts like “parental controls” or “V chip,” which will lead you to a screen where you can set up parental controls. You can block programming based on TV rating, times, or even specific shows.


Smart Phone Parental Controls

Parental controls exist for smart phones in the form of apps. This means that the parental control you use will depend on what kind of phone your child has.

Most of these apps work by filtering out inappropriate content, and some of them even require that a special browser is used – instead of the browser that comes on your child’s phone.

For Android users, two of the top parental control apps take both of these precautions.

Qustodio Parental Control is one of the top Android parental control apps because it can be used for call blocking, app management for social media use, and internet filtering. These three fronts of parental control are all covered by Qustodio for a relatively low yearly price.

Mobicip is another app that is used to manage app usage and prevent kids from viewing explicit material online.

Users of iPhones have fewer options, but the iOS 10 itself has parental control settings that you can put in place. Under the Settings app, you can set controls to monitor children’s access to certain apps and usage.

There are some apps recommended for iPhone use, including the Norton Family Premier app, which has web content filters, but it can’t monitor app usage.

Another effective option is Lock2Learn, which restricts app access and challenges kids with English and Math questions so their phone time has educational value too.


Parental Control on Computers

Of course, if TVs and smart phones need parental controls, you can bet your home computer will need some too. Content available on computers is both easier to find than on smart phones and allows access to TV shows now as well. Both Windows and Apple computers have options for parental controls on desktops or laptops.

Windows computers have the Google Play store, which allows you to restrict content based on maturity level associated with certain apps. You can set up controls for family members under the age of 13 and over 13.

As for apps, movies, and TV shows, you set the highest content rating you want to allow downloads or rentals for, and then your children are unable to download that content.

However, these content ratings don’t prevent items from showing up in searches, so it is best to have some sort of computer control like Norton in addition to the Google Play restrictions.

Apple computers allow parental control preferences to monitor how much time children spend on computers, as well as the websites they visit and who they talk to online. You can even set Apple’s controls up to prevent camera usage, disable access to the iTunes or App stores, and prevent modifications on the computer.


Don’t Fear the Web

Safety on the web is important.

In addition to having parental controls in place, make sure to have conversations about web safety with kids. Let them know why those controls are in place, and teach them how to keep themselves safe too.

With these parental control options, you are ready to let the children in your life online without fear of what content they will encounter.

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