Today, whether we like it or not, technology is part of our daily lives. Some people may get angry about it, and others may get offended, do nothing or even turn a blind eye. But as parents, this kind of attitude is simply nonsense. Indeed, we can fight against reality or merely accept it (but not resign ourselves to it) and find solutions to make it fit with our desires, wishes, and aspirations. And when it comes to new technologies, parental control is undoubtedly one of the best options available to you.
But what is parental control? Why is it essential today? How to set one up effectively? What solutions are available to you? On which devices? So many questions that we will answer now.
What exactly is parental control?
Parental control is, above all a protection, a way to protect your children. Protect them from the various dangers of the web and screens in general. It is therefore about monitoring, filtering, prohibiting, limiting, framing the activity on the Internet and other devices connected or not.
Controlling access to content is, therefore, the first objective that effective parental control must meet. This means setting up filters so that your child does not have access to specific categories of sites, certain content, or particular applications.
The second objective is to limit access to screens. Indeed, children spend more and more time behind a screen and younger and younger. This is a real problem, especially since many have difficulty controlling the time spent behind the screen. In the most severe cases, it even becomes a real addiction. A good parental control software will limit the time slots and the number of hours per day during which a device can be available.
Finally, a third objective would be limiting access to specific applications, downloading certain content, sometimes paying or containing malware, for example.
Why is having parental controls in place so important today?
The answer to this question is quite simple: new technologies are dangerous because they are poorly used. Let’s face it! The activity on the net not, little or poorly supervised, can indeed bring real damage to your children. The risk of addiction to screens is, for example, genuine. It is enough to be aware of our reality to realize that this is not very surprising. Indeed, according to a study by Common Sense Media and Huffingtonpost, children aged 5/7 spend an average of 4.5 hours/day behind a screen! 9 hours for 13/19-year-olds. Not surprising when you consider that one out of three children aged 8 to 11 have their smartphone, and 16% of children aged 3 to 4 have their tablet!
But what is even more “serious” is that children who surf the Internet without a beacon to guide them are often unintentionally exposed to all kinds of really inappropriate content: scenes of violence, sex, pornography, child pornography, pedophilia…
In addition to these contents, which can be really shocking or even traumatic, it is also essential to know that what they see on the Internet can affect them in their reality, in their daily life. Thus, the limit between the virtual and the real becomes blurred and dangerous. For example, it is essential to be aware that more than 30% of high school students have already been victims of cyberbullying and have sent or received messages with sexual content (or sexting). More than 40% of children have already had virtual contact with dangerous or undesirable strangers, in other words, cyber predators! When you are a parent, these figures give you the creeps.
The implementation of parental control is more than necessary; it is crucial! Even more so if the children are young. Parental supervision will protect them from all this inappropriate content. Still, it will also help protect them from a possible addiction to the screen or at least help them control the time they spend connected to social networks, for example, playing.
If it is sometimes difficult for us adults to put a brake on it, then imagine for a child… Parental control will allow you to define the time allowed per day, per device, the cumulative time between all devices, or even according to the application. They are connected/off-line use. Parental control will also allow you to define time slots for authorized/prohibited use. For example, not during school hours, not after 10:00 pm, not after 11:00 pm for the weekend, etc. Thanks to this control, your child learns to manage his time and consume games/connections.
Finally, the third important aspect of the effective parental control software is to prevent your child from accessing inappropriate applications. Or from downloading non-age-appropriate content. In many cases and often without wanting to, your child can indeed download malware, download a game or a paid application, etc. An efficient parental control will prevent this kind of nasty surprise.
What solutions are available today for iPhone and Android?
First of all, it should be pointed out that, in general, the existing solutions and the options that accompany them are much more limited for iPhones than for Android. Indeed, Apple offers many more closed products. And it is also rare to find parental control software or spyware such as Mspy, Hoverwatch, or Flexispy that supports all platforms.
In our opinion, the best solution available to set up effective parental control is Qustodio. For the simple reason that it is software dedicated to parental authority. That is to say, it is not spyware or antivirus software that offers a parental control option. And this specificity can be seen in the options, features, and other settings provided. Especially since Qustodio offers a truly multi-platform coverage: smartphone, computer (desktop or laptop), tablet, and even Kindle reader. The software supports the leading operating systems: Android and iOS but also Mac and Windows. Even better, Qustotio supports multiple devices depending on the package (5, 10, 15). In short, it’s the most complete, most versatile, and most suitable solution.
An excellent option but not the only one for an iPhone parental control. Indeed you can also opt for what is called spyware. See our comparison. And as their name indicates, it is here to spy on an iPhone, to monitor the activity on the web or in real life. The objective is also the same: to protect your child, but here the means are different, more intrusive. For example, you can check messages on more social networks, remotely turn on the camera, record keystrokes, define geographical areas, be notified when the child leaves it, etc. Mspy and Hoverwatch then seem to appear as the best options. The first one supports iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, while the second only supports Windows and Mac. So you need to think carefully about your goal and how to achieve it.
What are the best solutions for Windows and Mac?
For Windows 10 and Mac parental control, we can, for example, mention Refrog. Refrog is best known for being a keystroke recorder, which is what it originally is. That is, everything your child types on his device, the software records it. But gradually, options and other features have been added. For example, screen capture, history of visited websites, webcam views, an email reception, etc.
So you could say that Refrog is a kind of mix between parental control software and spyware. For example, it does not offer any filters or time slots; the software also installs on only one device at a time. In short, if Refog can be an option, if you’re looking for a Windows 10 (or earlier, for that matter) or Mac parental control, we can only recommend you to turn to Qustodio, ink once.
Other parental control alternatives
But of course, when it comes to the Internet and the connected world, some things cannot be ignored. Sites that have millions of visitors and therefore offer more or less elaborate options. Options that are more or less effective in protecting your children. You can rely on Google’s parental control to help you protect your children. And yes, Big Brother only wants you to do good! In addition to Google itself, you can configure YouTube or even Netflix. This way, your children will not have access to videos that are not intended for them. But still very easily accessible without a minimum of precautions.
You may not have thought about it, but game consoles like the Nintendo Switch are connected objects. They can therefore also allow children to access games that are not suitable. Here again, Nintendo will enable you to configure specific settings on the Switch so that such problems do not occur.
Finally, the configuration of your box can also set up a parental control orange or other ISP.
As you will undoubtedly have understood, implementing efficient parental control has become essential today. The dangers of the web are indeed genuine. Your children can easily be exposed to inappropriate content or even worse. All parents concerned about the well-being of their children should therefore put in place specific protective measures by using specialized parental control software such as Qustodio, for example, by installing spyware or by configuring the primary media to which the child has access. This last option, although very limited, is already a good start.