Parental Control Quick Guide: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online


Parental Control

The web holds a wealth of information – including content that may be inappropriate or dangerous for young audiences.  A request for personal details, cheap ticket offers to a sporting event, or suggestion to meet “in person” ? STOP!  These are all red flags of online culture to watch out for.  Kids are likely to run into online harassment, even from people they know, without proper cyber safety practices.  Thankfully, many websites have parental control features.  In honor of Safer Internet Day (February 9, 2016), here are some quick internet safety tips to keep children from harm’s way:

Google SafeSearch

Google is perhaps the most widely used resource for finding information.  Within “Settings”, you can enable restrictions that act as a safe search option for kids.  SafeSearch is available for computers, phone browsers, tablets, and Android apps.  It blocks sexually explicit video and images.  You can also lock SafeSearch to prevent others from changing the setting.

Google states that “The SafeSearch filter isn’t 100% accurate, but it helps you avoid most violent and adult content”.  For safer image results, try enabling bothSafeSearch and the Creative Commons feature.  If you’re looking for safe browsing sites, especially for younger children, check out these safe, kid-friendly alternative sites to Google, YouTube, and beyond.



YouTube Safety Mode

YouTube Safety Mode works much like Google SafeSearch, through community flagging and age-restrictions.  It is also compatible with multiple platforms, but must be setup on each specific browsing profile.  For a small monthly fee, some web filters and parental controls may offer the ability to enforce safe YouTube across all devices in the household.

To ensure a safe Youtube environment, you can supplement safety mode by adjusting privacy settings and ‘flagging’ videos.


Social Media Safety

While Facebook and big name social media sites do not specifically include parental controls, adjust your child’s privacy settings to protect from predators, scams, and cyberbullying.

  1. Make sure that only Friends can see any and all information
  2. Do not allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to profile
  3. Only allow Friends of Friends to send friend requests
  4. **For optimal security, limit people from seeing your Friends list
  5. Be “friends” with your child online to monitor their activity


**People can easily narrow down age, hometown, school, interests & hobbies from analyzing trends in associated profiles.  You can limit who can see posts and personal information within your social media circle, but it is best to forgo listing any personal information whatsoever.

Privacy settings are also available on Twitter and Instagram,  though tweets and images are still viewable (if linked in an article or another post) even if the profile itself is private.




For Everything Else.. There’s Web Filtering

Windows 7 includes Parental Controls that allow parents to set time limits on computer use, limit and filter games, and block specific programs.  However, if the computer is connected to a domain, these features are not available.  Even Microsoft help pages suggest supplementary parental controls.

Consider web filtering!  Traditionally, internet filtering programs have been most utilized by school systems – but the advent of new cloud technology allows for web filtering anywhere, and even in the home.  Web filtering offers complete online security – it allows for parental monitoring (see how kids are allocating their online time, what sites they visit, and who they interact with), restrictions on explicit content,and easy configuration on multiple devices.


  1. Hi Rocky,
    Helpful recommendations. However, these can be taken as precautionary tips when one have some level of control on how the child uses the Internet.

    I will advise parents against allowing their children visit sites that could be exploitative and molesting.

    Truly, keeping kids safe online is a much more tedious task than we imagine!

  2. Its one thing to have all these control mechanisms in place, and its quite another ball game for parents to actually put them into practice. How many parents are truly “controlling” what their kids do online these days? These are just liability clauses to protect websites!
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  3. Hi Rocky,

    Excellent post, even though I’m not a parent myself I feel very strongly about protecting our youth especially from content that is quite simply abhorrent. You mention Google SafeSearch as you main line of defence & I completely agree, I remember when I was very young attempting to look up questionable content it stopped me going very far.

    However sometimes it’s not hard to skip google by typing in websites by hand i.e. www. porn .com. Hence why Web Filtering is perfect (blocking requests to visit specific sites), I know many schools who use this technique. Though it is well known that using specific browsers like TOR or using proxies can get people through these blocks.

    Hence why I would personally, before enabling all of these filters, make myself administrator to prevent clever children or teenagers from installing software to get through the cracks.

  4. These are great suggestions to keep inappropriate content out of innocent eyes. There are also options to use hardware filters as well. There are products out there like routers for example that have really good built in content rules. This way it not only blocks bad content on your computer, but bad content on any device throughout your household.