Today, the internet is all around us. And while, as parents, we often wonder whether we should allow our children to use it, the reality is also that by not allowing them, we are stifling their natural development. It would be like saying the previous generation would never have been allowed a Gameboy, or a Commodore 64 for the generation before that, or a book for the generation before that. The older generation always tries to stop the next generation from enjoying new things, mainly because they themselves don’t quite understand it yet.
That being said, as a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure your child is safe. And one thing that the internet is not, is safe. So you have to be able to find a balance by which your child can enjoy the marvels and benefits of the internet, without placing themselves at risk from online bullying, online grooming, identity theft, and more.
Additionally, because the internet is essentially one large, open encyclopedia, children are easily able to access information that may not be harmful, but that is not appropriate to them. Luckily, if you install the best internet security software, it will also come with parental control. But how do you compare parental control features, and what should you look for?
Features to Look for in Parental Control
- Coverage – generally speaking parent control comes as standard with antivirus and internet security packages. It should also include the ability to monitor a computer remotely, and it should have a keylogger installed. This means that you can check what your kids are doing, what their login details are, and what they are saying. Yes, essentially, you are legally hacking their computers and doing exactly what you try to stop others from doing to you. The difference is, obviously, that one is legal and has a good intent, whereas the other is and has not.
- User friendliness – most children are far more computer savvy than their parents, but this is something you will have to do without them. Hence, make sure as much of the system as possible if fully automated.
- Price – parent control features come in a wealth of prices. The most expensive one is not necessarily the best one, so don’t be blinded by price alone. Set yourself a budget and find something within that.
- Technical support – as said, your kids will probably understand the system better than you. But you can’t ask them for help on this one, so it is vital that you can access proper technical support if you do run into any problems.
There are many different programs and products out there that you could test out. The majority of these programs come with a free trial, which means you can try a few out before deciding which one to invest in. Do make sure, however, that you completely remove any parental controls from your machines before you install a new free package, as the programs’ codes may conflict with each other.
Of course, you must also remember that the best parental control is to make sure your children have the right values and are ethical thinkers.