This will take you to the parental control panel. From here, scroll down to Family options , a link which will take you to your Microsoft account in your preferred browser:.
The best free parental control software | TechRadar
All family options are managed from the browser, a method used to prevent kids from being able to tweak internal settings inside Windows that might try to override any instructions the OS receives from the cloud. To manage time limits, start by clicking on the link labeled Screen Time. Here is where you can restrict the types of games, apps, and programs that kids can use based on their age group and your preferences.
Unfortunately much of the more specific restrictive capabilities are limited exclusively to Microsoft apps, which as most of us know, only make up a very small portion of the suite of programs that we and our kids like to use on a daily basis. Similarly, the only web-blocking options in Windows 10 are those available for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. Click the lock icon in the bottom left and authenticate yourself with the administrator account password.
Next, choose the account from the left-hand list that you want to place parental controls on:. In the Apps window you can limit what kind of software your child will have access to, as well as controls like whether or not they can turn on the camera, join multiplayer games through Game Center, or are limited to a select number of contacts through the Mail app. Pretty standard web surfing restrictions here, nothing of note to mention beyond what you should expect in similar parental control applications.
The Stores tab can disable access to iTunes, iTunes U, and the iBooks Store, and will also restrict the types of games, apps, and movies that your child can get access to through the iTunes store. Time works in the same way as other time restricters on this list do, allowing you the ability to strictly control exactly how long your child is allowed to use the Mac, and what time of day it automatically shuts off. The Privacy tab is interesting in that it lets you control what kind of data is gathered on your child by third-party apps, and lets you better control what type of information their favorite applications and games are gathering on them while they browse and play.
Next, once you have the kids added to your iCloud account, open up the Settings app and scroll down to Screen Time :. To create a Downtime block, start by tapping on the Downtime option from the main Family Sharing screen:. Next is Allowed Apps , which generally controls which official Apple apps your child is allowed to use.
Google manages its parental control systems through an app known as Family Safe , and although we would normally recommend going the official route in these cases, thousands of user reviews say otherwise. According to the reviews posted on the Google Play page, the app will often let kids go well beyond the limits that the app places on their downtime, and struggles to keep them from downloading other apps that can simply get around the Family Safe limitations.
This is why we recommend choosing one of the parental control suites mentioned above. Why should I pay for extra for anything else? The main problem that many parents face with that approach is that for every platform your child uses, a new set of rules and regulations need to be set up and enforced. Parental control software can be a lot of things for a family.
Monitor and Track Your Child's Computer Activity
Parental control software works simultaneously across all devices at once, and centralizes the activity of all your kids into one easy-to-manage dashboard. No in-OS parental control settings will offer that. For example, while some suites may have all the bells and whistles with a price point to match , you may not need so many different options and could even end up just as satisfied with a lower cost option instead.
This setting can encompass everything from simply monitoring their activity to directly blocking websites or categories of websites from being displayed in the first place. It should be a primary concern for anyone who signs up for a new account with one of the services listed below. Some will even cut access to the internet entirely depending on the device, disabling all activity past a certain time. This can save you money while also helping you keep a close eye on your child when they leave the house. Of all the software we tested, this feature appears to only be available on Android due to the way that iOS handles app permissions on its own platform aside from uKnowKids, more on that later.
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That said, if any of your kids do use an Android device, having the option to control which contacts they can talk to — as well as read the record of those discussions with certain parental control suites — can give parents the peace of mind they need. But what is it about some parental control software options that make them more viable than others?
What features do parental control software applications need to have to give them that edge over the rest? A Well-Designed Dashboard: Every parental control software on the market today begins and ends in one place: the dashboard.
Good parental control software makes this process as easy as possible for anyone to use, summarizing what they need to know in a visually clean format while also making it simple to quickly change rules or add new limits on the fly. You can filter or block chat activity using Net Nanny , too, and even block in-program message boards and chat applications. The pornography blockers restrict your children from accessing X-rated sites, and they also block pages that have inappropriate ads. Net Nanny even monitors rotating ads, and if there is one that falls under the pornography category, your child will be blocked from that site until the offensive ads is pulled from the rotation.
But Net Nanny is great for home computer use and includes time controls so you can limit when and how long your kids are online.
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ContentBarrier is the only parental control program we reviewed that is exclusively designed to work on Mac computers. It includes 23 filter categories that make it easy for you quickly block inappropriate online content. Filters include those for pornography, violence, gambling and racism. You can also create customer categories.
And if you add specific websites to a blacklist, ContentBarrier will block them. ContentBarrier also lets you set key words and phrases for the software to monitor. If your child types them, or if someone else uses them in an email or chat message, ContentBarrier blocks them, suspends the chat and alerts you.
This program also comes with time controls that help manage what times of day your child can be online. And once they are online, ContentBarrier lets you set a time limit on each internet session. One of the biggest threats online today is cyberbullying.
Most of the time, it happens through private messaging or on social media. This is helpful, but it may take days to find out about it through a message or by checking the browser or chat history in your parent portal. Surfie by PureSight has features specifically designed to recognize, stop and block cyberbullying. When it detects that someone has threatened or demeaned your child, it automatically ends the interaction and notifies you. You can then review the data and communicate with your child to decide what steps to take from there.
Approximately half of the parental software programs we reviewed require a yearly subscription and the other half are a one-time purchase. Best antivirus Stay safe online with premium and free software.
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Best Mac antivirus software keep your Mac safe. Best internet filter software of Website blockers to protect your kids. Best internet security software Protect your family's data. CyberGhost Review. Hotspot Shield Review. IPVanish review. NordVPN review. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Review. You can also set the security to low, medium or high and the browser will automatically block websites that fall into those general categories.
However, parental software is much more effective and easier to use to filter internet content. Good parental software includes internet filters that make it easy to block websites and content you deem inappropriate.