How to Make Your Child’s Devices Safe

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As a parent, it’s perfectly normal to be concerned about our children’s exposure to inappropriate content. The Internet is an uncensored environment, and we live in a very technological age. We certainly want our children to enjoy the benefits of the Internet, but we also want to protect them from bad content. That’s why it’s necessary to learn how to make our devices safe for our children, and that’s our purpose today!

I’ve divided this article into sections: PC section, Android section, and Apple section. Each of these sections will provide all of the information you need to make the necessary changes for your children to browse as safely as possible.

PC Section

Set up user accounts in Windows

The first thing you need to know is that every user account on your computer can be set up a different way depending on what kind of space their users need. After all, it’s a personal account where people store their content and the can customize it however they like.

Understanding the different types of accounts and how to set them up properly provides you with the opportunity to prevent unwanted changes and unwanted software installations.

In both Windows and Mac OS X there are two types of user accounts, namely “administrator” and “standard”. Administrator accounts have full, unlimited access to the computer, while standard accounts only have access to whatever the administrator allows.

How to set up user accounts – Windows 10

Given that standard accounts are controlled by the administrator (you, the parent), they’re perfect for children. To set up a standard account for your children on Windows 10, go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other people > “Add someone else to this PC” > Enter username, password, password hint, and that’s it!

There’s a small difference in Windows 10 Enterprise edition:

Go to Settings > Accounts > Other people > Add someone else to this PC > Select “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” > “Add a user without a Microsoft account” > Enter username, password, password hint, and you’ll be good to go.

 

How to set up user accounts – Windows 8

To create a standard account for your children on Windows 8, open the Charms Bar by holding the Windows key and tapping C. Now go to Settings > Change PC settings > Other accounts > “Add user”.

The next thing you’ll need to do is click on “Add a child’s account” and then you’ll have the option to set up an account with or without access to the Windows Store. Add a password, and you’re done! If you want to be extra safe, you can create a local account by clicking on “Add a child’s account without e-mail”.

How to set up family safety:

Family safety is just the name that Windows 8 gives to parental controls. In order to set them up, go to the Start screen, search “family safety”, click on it and then click on the relevant username.

Now, click on “On, enforce current settings” and then you can select the options available and customize however you see fit. If you want to restrict the websites your children surf, click on “Web filtering” and then on “[Username] can only use the websites I allow”. For automatic control of web content, click on “Set web filtering level” and then choose the desired level of control.

How to set up user accounts – Windows 7

To set up a standard account for your children on Windows 7 you need to go to Start > Search for “user accounts” and click on it > Manage another account > Create a new account. At this point, you must select “Standard user” and name the account before clicking on “Create Account”.

How to set up parental controls:

The parental controls on Windows 7 make it possible for you to manage the way the computer is used. Among the parental control features you can limit the hours of use and the apps that can be used. To set up parental controls, go to Start, search for “parental controls”, and then click on it. Select the user account you want to protect and then click on “On, enforce current settings”. Now you can select the options available and customize it however you like.

 

How to make YouTube safe for children?

There are a lot of really simple ways to make sure that YouTube is safe for your children to use. One of those ways is joining your kids when they’re watching something; that way you know what sort of YouTube channels they’re fond of. Many children are very excited to share what they watch if you only ask them.

However, there are some children who don’t want to share their YouTube time and they much prefer to spend it alone with their videos. If that’s the case, just get the name of the channel and check it out later. Make sure you take a look at the creator of the videos as well to really know what their content is about.

Sometimes it serves to be a bit sneaky! If you’re really concerned about what your children are watching on YouTube and they don’t want to share or they delete their history, you can still get a sense of what they’re watching by looking at their homepage. The home page displays recommendations similar to whatever they’ve been watching, so you’ll get a pretty good idea.

If you want to be a bit more in control of what your little ones watch, create playlists for them so they don’t have to search for anything else. They will also be less tempted to search if they subscribe to their favorite channels. As they grow older, this system won’t work because they’ll be more independent and will want to look for things themselves. When this time comes, you’ll have to trust Restricted Mode and keep an eye on them.

How to set parental controls for YouTube on my web browser?

In order to activate parental controls on YouTube in your web browser, you have to enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode. The Restricted Mode is meant to filter search results on YouTube so that your children don’t get access to inappropriate things.

The Restricted Mode also keeps your children away from all of the content that has been flagged as inappropriate by the community, and also the content that’s meant for mature audiences. This parental control basically keeps away all of the explicit content so that you can be confident that your child is browsing safely. Now, YouTube doesn’t guarantee 100% effectiveness. There’s a lot of content on the site and not all of the explicit content has been flagged as inappropriate. However, enabling the restricted mode is a lot better than having no filter at all.

In order to enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode, this is what you need to do:

  • Log into your Google or YouTube account.
  • Once you’ve logged in, click on your profile picture at the top of the right corner.
  • Once you click on it, a menu will appear and at the bottom of the list you’ll find the “Restricted Mode”.
  • Click on the Restricted Mode to turn it on.
  • Once you turn it on, the page will reload and you’ll be good to go! It’s that simple.

How to set parental controls for YouTube on my mobile device?

In order to enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode on your mobile app, go to the settings section of the app. Once you’re there, tap on “General” and then turn on the “Restricted Mode”.

 

How to block videos on YouTube?

To block videos on YouTube, you can:

  • Use extensions. One of the most efficient extensions for this purpose is Video Blocker. Video Blocker will take care of those YouTube videos you don’t want your children to see based on keywords. There are three ways to add channels of videos to your blocked list: (1) you can type the name of the channel on the extension’s control panel which opens when you click on its icon, (2) you can use the “wildcard” option and type in keywords that you want the extension to block, (3) and you can also right-click on the video’s thumbnail and select “Block videos from this channel.”
  • Deny YouTube video recommendations. This will not remove an entire channel from your sight, but it will increase the chances of avoiding specific videos. If there’s a video you don’t want your children to see, click on the menu that appears in the upper right corner of the thumbnail and select “not interested”.

 

Child safe YouTube alternatives

If the parental control options on YouTube don’t reassure you that much, there are safe alternatives to which you can expose your children. Take a look at:

 

  • Safe YouTube: This great site will take any link from YouTube and generate a version that doesn’t display the comment section or the related videos section, thus eliminating the possibility of your child stumbling into inappropriate content. You know how it’s always a few clicks away! But now you don’t have to worry anymore because Safe YouTube only shows the video.
  • Safe Video Search: This site provides “Handpicked Educator Reviewed Videos” in an interface that resembles that of YouTube. Your kids will find educational and also fun videos that will keep them entertained without the risk of finding inappropriate content.
  • YouTube Kids: This is a free app available for Android and iOS that was designed by Google. Its target audience is children so the whole purpose of the app is to provide a space for them to explore content without running into any ugliness. The app also features extra parental controls you can use.
  • Disney Video: This is a collection of videos from Disney’s movies, short films, and TV shows. The site doesn’t redirect to YouTube so your children will be well away from any unsavory content.
  • YouTube Education: YouTube EDU is a channel devoted to good quality content and here you’ll find the most popular educational videos. They’re all organized into grade levels, so your children will have a great source of knowledge free of inappropriate content.

 

How to make Chrome safe for children?

There are quite a few security features on Chrome that can put your mind at ease. One of them is turning off the option of saving your passwords so that your kids won’t have access to your sites. Just go to Settings > Show Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms > Uncheck the box that says “Offer to save passwords I enter on the web”, and that’s it!

Chrome also allows you to manage the content that your children can see. In the Advanced Settings section you’ll find “Content Settings”; here you can control the way images are shown if at all, the cookies that are saved, and you can also disable plugins so that certain sites become unusable.

To manage Google searches in Chrome, you can lock “Google’s safe search”; that way your child won’t be able to search for inappropriate content.

There are also several parental control Chrome extensions that you can download and put to use on your computer. One of them is called Nanny and it can block URLs, set time limits for sites, and you can create lists of sites that are off limits for your kids.

Another great extension is called “tinyFilter” and it helps you block sites that contain any material that you pre-specify as inappropriate. This extension also includes a profanity filter that comes with a set of pre-defined words.

How to make Google a safe search engine for children?

Google has a parental control option called SafeSearch that allows parents to police search results for their children. It’s a filter that gets rid of explicit and inappropriate content that may appear on a Google search.

To enable it, go to Chrome Preferences and follow these steps:

Search Settings > Check the “Filter explicit results” box > Click “Lock SafeSearch” so that your children won’t be able to change the settings.

If your child browses from their own user account on the computer, make sure you go to their account and turn the SafeSearch on. Otherwise, it won’t work.

You should know that SafeSearch won’t block every single bit of bad content, but it’s better to have a filter than to have no filter at all.

To enable SafeSearch on your mobile device all you need to do is:

If you’re an Android user, open your Google app > Menu > Settings > Accounts & Privacy > Activate the SafeSearch Filter. To enable SafeSearch in your web browser go to Preferences > Search Settings > Turn on SafeSearch, and save your changes. It’s the same process for your mobile device and your tablet.

If you’re an iOS user, open your Google app > Settings > Search Settings > Look for the “SafeSearch Filter” section, activate SafeSearch and save your changes. To enable SafeSearch in your web browser go to Preferences > Search Settings > Turn on SafeSearch, and save your changes. It’s the same process for your iPhone and your iPad.

Child safe search engine alternatives

Search engines are a vast source of information on any topic you can imagine. A lot of this content is not appropriate for children and it’s easy to stumble upon it. That’s why all of our search engines offer some sort of parental control options to help filter all of the unsavory content as much as possible.

The truth is that a lot can get away from parental control filters, which is why you might feel better if your children use safer alternatives to browse the Internet. Kidrex and Junior Safe Search by Google are amazing search engine alternatives for children. You won’t need to enable any type of filter on these sites because they have all of the safety measures built-in; after all, they’re meant for children. If you set them as your children’s browser homepage you’ll be good to go.

The difference between these two sites is that Kidrex blocks everything that even remotely relates to inappropriate content, while Junior Safe provides relevant and non-explicit results surrounding topics like sex. That’s why Junior Safe is better suited for tweens.

How to set up parental controls in Netflix

If you allow your children to use Netflix, you have a few options when it comes to setting Parental Controls. Let’s take a look:

Restrict Content with a PIN Code

Go to your account settings and click on “Your Account”.

Click on “Parental Controls” and enter your password. This is how your kids won’t be able to change the settings, so make sure they don’t know your password.

Set the PIN code that will prevent imposed ratings from being played and that’s it! This PIN code is a barrier that will prevent your children from watching shows or movies that you don’t approve of.

Set Up a Profile for your Kids

If you want to allow your children to browse Netflix and watch their favorite cartoons, set up a “Kids profile” for them where Netflix will only show the appropriate content.

When your first launch Netflix, it will ask you “Who’s Watching?” before showing you the content. In this window, you can click on “Manage Profiles” and you can edit the preset “Kids profile” to select the shows they’ll be allowed to watch. Once everything’s done, your children won’t be able to search for content outside of their category.

Android Section

Make your tablet safe for kids. There are a few ways to make your tablet safe for your kids. Let’s take a look:

Create Restricted Profiles

Android doesn’t have parental controls built into their OS, but it is possible to create restricted profiles which enable you to choose the apps that your children can access.

Go to Settings > User > Add user or profile and create a restricted profile. Give it a name and choose the apps that can be accessed on the profile. Some apps are automatically blocked, like Calendar, Docs, E-mail, Twitter, but other apps you’ll have to select yourself. You’ll also have access to fine-tune options like disabling Google searches if you tap on the gear icon.

Remember to switch to the restricted profile every time you hand the tablet to your children.

Pinning apps

App pinning allows you to lock a single app to your home screen and block access to everything else. This is a simple way of letting your children have a little fun without switching profiles.

Go to Settings > Security > Enable the feature. Once you do this you can choose whether or not to have a PIN. If your child is old enough to read you should definitely have a PIN. When you want to pin an app, tap the overview button and then tap the pushpin icon that you’ll see on the app card.

Kid-friendly Google Play

One of the ways of childproofing your Android device is restricting the use of the Google Play store. This restriction will include movies, music, and books, not just apps.

Go to the Google Play App > Menu > Settings > Parental Controls and set up a passcode. When the parental control is turned on, visit each section and enable the restrictions. If you go to Books and Music, you’ll be able to restrict adult content. If you go to Apps, Games, Movies, and TV, you’ll be able to use standardized age restrictions.

Increased control through parent apps

There’s an app for everything! That includes parental control. Even if your OS doesn’t have specific parental control settings, you can download apps that will get the job done. Here are a few of the best ones:

  • Applock: This is an amazing app and it’s very simple to use. It will allow you to lock apps, photos, and all of the settings on your tablet or phone; it will even block the app itself, so no one can change the settings but you. Any app you choose will only be available through a pattern, a PIN, or your fingerprint.
  • Kids Place Parental Control: This is an app that’s meant to keep toddlers away from all of the apps that you don’t want them to use.
  • Screen Time Parental Control: This app will allow you to limit the amount of time that your kids spend using your devices.
  • McAfee Safe Family: This is an app that includes all of the childproofing options and features you’ll need and they’re all in one place.

Put a Lock on Your Smartphone or Tablet

This is a very simple way of keeping your content away from your children’s curious hands. Go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock, here you’ll find several options to lock your device. You can set up a PIN, a password, a pattern, or your fingerprint. I recommend a PIN or a password because it will be difficult for them to get through if they try.

Apple section:

User accounts in Mac OS X

The first thing you need to know is that every user account on your computer can be set up a different way depending on what kind of space their users need. After all, it’s a personal account where people store their content and the can customize it however they like.

Understanding the different types of accounts and how to set them up properly provides you with the opportunity to prevent unwanted changes and unwanted software installations.

In both Windows and Mac OS X there are two types of user accounts, namely “administrator” and “standard”. Administrator accounts have full, unlimited access to the computer, while standard accounts only have access to whatever the administrator allows.

How to set up user accounts – Mac OS X

To create a standard account for your children on your Mac, open the Apple menu and click on “System Preferences” and then on “Accounts”. Click on the plus symbol (+) and then fill in the form before clicking on “Create Account”.

Now go to the “Enable parental controls” box and open it. Here you can select all of the options to customize the way the user can use the laptop. You’ll find options like System, Content, Mail & Chat and Time Limits. If you click on Content, for example, you can limit what the user can do on the web; click on Time Limits and you can set the hours for laptop use.

Make iPhones and iPads safe for children

There are several ways to make your Apple devices safer for children, let’s take a look:

  • Set a passcode: This is a great way to protect your content and your information in case your child misplaces the device. Use a passcode that you can both remember. To do this, go to your Apple device’s Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Enter your passcode > Confirm.
  • Set up family sharing: Family Sharing is an iOS feature that allows everyone in the family to have access to each other’s iTunes and App Store purchases so that no one has to pay a second and third time. This is a great way to both share your content and also make sure that your children don’t have access to content and apps you don’t approve.
  • Set restrictions on mature content: There are some parental control features built into iOS. These features allow you to protect your children from unsavory content and other activities that might expose them. To turn on Restrictions on your Apple device go to Settings > General > Restrictions and enable them. You’ll want to create a passcode, which you’ll need every time you want to make changes to the settings or turn off the restrictions.

 

In the section of Restrictions, you’ll find a list of apps and features you can restrict, once restricted no one can use them unless you change the settings. Once you enable Restrictions there are apps, services and features that you won’t be able to find or use anymore, to restore them just turn off Restrictions and you should be good to go.

Create an Apple ID for Your Kids

The first thing you need to do is check your payment method and make sure that you’re using a credit card, debit card, Alipay or UnionPay. This is a necessary step to create your child’s Apple ID.

If you’re on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing > Add Family Member > Create an Apple ID for a child. Now enter your child’s birthday, enter the requested information for your payment method, enter your child’s name, set a password, choose security questions, and set up your child’s account. It’s that easy! Make sure that the passwords are easy to remember for the both of you.

If you’re on a Mac: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family > Add. Click on “Create an Apple ID for a child who doesn’t have an account” and follow the rest of the steps, which are the same I explained above.

Set up Find My iPhone

To set up Find My iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and AirPods go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Find My iPhone > Turn it on and send last location. That’s it!

Find My iPhone will help you locate your device if you ever lose it or if it ever gets stolen. If that happens, all you’ll need to do is sign in to iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app and you’ll be able to see your device on the map. This will allow you to play a sound so you can find it, use Lost Mode to lock and track it, or remotely erase all of your information.

Get a Protective Case and a Screen Protector

Apple devices are delicate, exquisite things; which is why you need to protect them from the rough treatment that they might receive at the hands of your kids. Buying a good protective case will protect your devices from damage; go for sturdy, resistant materials when you pick out your cases. Try to get the perfect balance between protection and design.

While you’re at it, shop for a screen protector such as BodyGuardz. Most cases can’t protect the screen, so screen protectors prevent scratches, cracks, and other damage that can make your device difficult to use. You can find them from $10 to $15; I’d say that’s a good trade.

Blocking Adult Content in Safari

To block adult content on your Safari so that your children can browse on their iPhones or iPads, go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content > Websites > Limit Adult Content.

Notice that one of the keywords is “limit”, that’s because just like other filters out there, this feature can’t guarantee that it will protect your child from every little bit of unsavory content that they might stumble upon. But as I’ve said many times before: it’s better to have some protection, than no protection at all.

If you want to feel more confident, there are browser alternatives that you can try such as Net Nanny or Mobicip which are available on the App Store. These are both safe web browsers and they can replace Safari as your default browser so that you won’t have to worry about your children finding inappropriate content.

Now you have all of the tools to keep your children safe online and to make sure their experience on the Internet is as clean as possible!

 

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