Parental controls for mobiles

Today’s children are growing up surrounded by mobile technology and all it has to offer. While the benefits of technology are clear, there are some aspects of smartphone use and access to the internet that demand both awareness and engagement from parents and caregivers.

The advice from experts can sometimes be confusing in relation to smartphones and kids as differing opinions are strongly held. It is therefore important for parents to stay informed and actively engage with children about how they are using mobile devices.

Before you hand your child or teenager a device that basically enables access to the internet, it’s really important to look at what type of parental controls you can activate on the phone. Parental controls will allow you to restrict access to inappropriate content as well as also restrict the use of apps or even allow you to restrict usage to certain times of the day. While controls can be set at the device level, there are also various software packages available that allow you to set controls on home wi-fi or across devices used by the family.

Smartphone operating systems (including Apple and Android) also have in-built parental controls that can assist in limiting access to internet content as well as setting parameters for usage and apps.

While these tools can be useful in keeping kids safe and it really helps to familiarise yourself with them, they are not a replacement for talking to kids regularly and staying engaged with what they are doing online and how they are using all the digital devices they have access to.

The Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner website has some excellent resources and tips for parents on how to use parental controls on smartphones as well as other devices.

Taming the technology