Parental control apps and software are necessary to control what websites children visit and how much time they spend online. Parental parental controlcontrol of the internet is now part of raising children. The internet is everywhere and children are spending time online on mobile devices and home computers. Parents have to be aware of what their children are accessing and who they are talking to online. The internet can be an unsafe world and children can be harmed if parents are not monitoring and insisting on parental control.

What are some parental control apps that can be used to monitor social media usage?

There are many apps that can help parents monitor their children's social media usage. It is important for parents to be aware of what sites their child is visiting and who they are talking to. By monitoring your child's internet activity you will be able to catch potential problems before they grow and your children will have an opportunity to learn what is acceptable online use. Some examples of apps parents should consider to keep their families safe online are:

  • Bitedefender – Bitedefender installs on your child's device and lets you block websites, track location, monitor or block instant messaging and control apps. There is a free and a paid version.
  • Avira – Avira offers free social network protection by monitoring and alerting you to suspicious activity.
  • K9 –  K9 is a free internet filter and parental control. You can block websites, set time restrictions and force safe-search on major search engines.

What parental controls are available to limit a child's screen time?

Limiting screen time is a big concern for most parents. Allowing a child to spend unlimited time online is not healthy. There are many apps available to help parents and children set reasonable limits to internet usage. Some helpful apps are:

  • Romaco Timeout – Romaco is free and allows parents to limit internet access by session or cumulative time.
  • ScreenTime –  ScreenTime is avaialbe for the iPhone and is $1.99. ScreenTime allows you to manage your child's time with countdowns.
  • GameTimeLimit  – GameTimeLimit is also for iDevices. The cost is .99 and allows parents to monitor and limit game time on iDevices.

Ways to limit screen time that don't require technology?

Monitoring and limiting a child's screen time is important to your child's health. Too much screen time is not good for children. As a parent, you are responsible for their activities and it is important for children to know that the internet is a privilege. Using the internet as a reward or something your child has to earn is an easy way to teach this. Some other ways to help your kids balance their screen time are:

  • Talk with your kids – Have a conversation about your concerns and work out a schedule of time you and your child both agree with. By involving them in the negotiation they are more likely to follow the rules.
  • Provide alternatives – What would you like your child to do when they are not online? Provide alternatives such as arts and crafts, outdoor toys, books and games.
  • Set a good example – Lead by example, by limiting your own screen time and enjoying other activities with your kids you will show them what is expected by your actions.

The internet is a vast resource for children and the opportunities it brings to your children to learn and expand their horizons are amazing. The internet, however, must be used respectfully and teaching your children this is a giving them a great future.

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