Episode 2: Parental Control in the Digital Age, Tools and Techniques to Protect Young Netizens

3 min readFeb 11, 2024

In the digital age, the internet has become a central part of children’s lives. It offers vast resources for learning, entertainment, and social connection. However, it also presents significant risks, including exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. As parents, brothers, sisters and guardians, it’s crucial to navigate these challenges effectively to protect young netizens. This article is part of the series regarding educating children how to navigate the cyberspace more safely and explores practical tools and techniques for parental control in the digital age, with a goal to educate children and people that care about them about safe internet usage, recognize potential online threats, and develop good digital habits.

Understanding the Digital Landscape

Before implementing any parental controls, it’s essential to understand the digital landscape and the types of content and interactions your child may encounter online. Social media platforms, gaming communities, and educational sites can offer positive experiences but they can as well expose children to risks. Open communication is key. Discuss with your child the sites they visit and the apps they use, creating an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their online experiences and concerns.

Setting Up Parental Controls

Most devices and operating systems come with built-in parental controls that can be a first line of defense. These tools allow you to restrict access to inappropriate content, limit screen time, and monitor online activity. For example, you can set up different user profiles on computers or tablets with specific restrictions for each child, based on their age and maturity level.

Utilizing Third-Party Parental Control Apps

For more comprehensive monitoring and control, consider third-party parental control apps. These apps offer features beyond the basics, including location tracking, app usage monitoring, and the ability to block specific websites or apps.

Educating Children about Online Safety

Equipping children with the knowledge to navigate the online world safely is as important as implementing technical safeguards. Educate them about the importance of keeping personal information private, recognizing cyber bullying, and the potential dangers of interacting with strangers online. Encourage them to think critically about the content they consume and share.

Encouraging Good Digital Habits

Good digital habits are a foundation to safe internet use. Establish rules around screen time, making sure to balance online activities with offline time. Encourage activities that don’t involve screens, like reading, playing outside, or family board games. Set a good example by modeling these habits in your own use of devices and the internet.

Dealing with Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a pervasive issue that can have profound effects on children. Teach your child how to recognize and how to respond to cyberbullying, whether they’re the target or a witness. This includes not engaging with the bully, saving evidence of the bullying, and reporting the behavior to an adult or the platform where it occurred. Build an environment where your child feels comfortable coming to you and discussing these issues with you.

Recognizing and Avoiding Online Predators

Online predators often use anonymity to exploit children. Discuss the dangers of sharing personal information and the risks of online friendships with unknown individuals. Emphasize the importance of never agreeing to meet an online friend in person without parental involvement. Teach them to trust their instincts — if something feels wrong, it probably is, and they should tell an adult immediately.

A few additional tips and tricks

Beat the social media by keeping the controls around them a gamified experience for your child.

  • Build a scoreboard for your child, for every time they stick to the rules you laid out for them, they get a point, when they collect 300 points for example, you make one of their wishes come true, like going to a certain place they really like to go to.

I’m sure everyone can get creative around this, so do your best and win this cyber chess game by making the right moves to keep your kids safe on the internet.

Something to think about

Parental control is about more than just blocking and monitoring; it’s about education, communication, and creating trust. By understanding the digital environment, utilizing tools for safety, and teaching children about the potential risks and how to navigate them, parents can help ensure their children’s online experiences are positive and safe. Developing good digital habits early on can empower children to become responsible, savvy internet users who can recognize and manage the complexities of the digital world. This proactive approach to digital parenting will help protect young netizens today and equip them with the skills they need for tomorrow.