X Close Search

Parental Controls

parental controls guide

How to use parental controls

Parental controls are an important part of any household internet safety policy. They will allow you to set up user accounts, restrict access to certain websites and downloads, filter inappropriate content and monitor user activity. Use the information below to learn how to make use of parental controls on your child’s cell phone, tablet or computer.

Using parental controls on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Apple devices using iOS come with built in parental controls, known as Restrictions. See how you can configure these options below.

  • 1. Go to Settings and select General.
  • 2. Scroll down and choose Restrictions.
  • 3. Click on Enable Restrictions. This will ask you to create a ‘Restrictions Passcode’ – this is different from the general Passcode that your child would use to unlock the device. You should not share the Restrictions Passcode with your child but keep it as the key to your Parental Controls options.
  • 4. Modify the options available in the Restrictions menu. This includes what apps your child can use, the filtering on internet browser searches and whether they can make purchases in games, as well as the age rating of content they can watch or listen to through the iTunes Store.

Using parental controls on Android cell phones and tablets

Android devices offer parental controls on all of their operating systems. Follow the points below to set up parental controls on your device.

  • 1. On the device you want parental control on, open the Play Store app.
  • 2. In the top left corner, tap tap Menu>Settings>Parental controls.
  • 3. Turn “Parental Controls” On.
  • 4. Create a pin.
  • 5. Tap the kind of content that you want to filter.
  • 6. Choose how to filter or restrict access.

Using Parental Controls on Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini and iMac

Depending on which version of Mac OS you have, there are a number of settings available for you to activate content restrictions and parental controls (please refer to iOS devices above if you have an iPhone or iPod touch you wish to apply parental control settings to).

Follow the instructions below to get started. Please note, this applies for users on MacOS Sierra only. For earlier versions of Apple’s operating systems, please log on to the Apple website here and search for ‘Parental Controls’ and your Mac OS version to get the correct settings as menus and options can be slightly different.

Getting started with parental control features

  • 1. Select the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and click Parental Controls. (You may need to Add a managed user if no user accounts can be found).
  • 2. Click the padlock icon and enter your administrator name and password.
  • 3. Select the user or click the add button to add a new user. The Age pop-up menu will appear where you can choose the age group, fill in the name, account and password to create the user.

Setting up restrictions

  • 1. Go to the Apple menu and select Preferences, then choose Parental Controls.
  • 2. To unlock the padlock icon, click it and enter your administrator name and password.
  • 3. Select the desired user you wish to apply the restrictions to and choose from the options presented (Apps, Web, Stores, Time, Privacy, Other).

Once an option is selected you can set restrictions and prevent certain functions from being used by default for that user.

Using parental controls on desktop computers and Laptops

Desktop and PC users using Microsoft Windows 10 can access Parental Controls but in order to do so, you must first create a Microsoft account. Follow the steps below to get started:

Creating your Microsoft account and your child’s

  • 1. Set up your Microsoft account and sign in.
  • 2. Add a “child account” to your own once logged into your Microsoft account in the Windows Settings menu.
  • 3. Once you arrive on Windows Settings, choose Accounts and select Family & Other People on the left sidebar
    below Your Family, click Add a Family Member.
  • 4. When promoted, select Add a Child and select their Microsoft Account email.
  • 5. Create your child’s email address (if you need to create a new account) and keep the password somewhere safe.
  • 6. In the next menu, unselect the two boxes to reduce junk mail for the account.
  • 7. When prompted, re-enter the original password of your Microsoft account (not your child’s) to confirm it is you making the request.
  • 8. In the next window, confirm that your child is able to use the account and access the various Microsoft services (Windows Store, Xbox Live).
  • 9. In the following window, tick “Also allow my child to use third-party apps.”
  • 10. Follow the instructions to confirm the account, and then open your child’s email account and complete the verification.

Adjusting Parent Control Settings

With your account and your child’s account active you can now begin to adjust the level of access your child has. To do this, head over to Accounts in the menu and under the Family & Other People tab you’ll be able to find your child’s account and then Manage Family Settings Online:

  • 1. Select Manage Family Settings Online which will open the Microsoft Family Parental control area.
  • 2. Select which options and restrictions you would like to set on the account by adjusting the sliders. This will include the option of blocking adult content, inappropriate apps or games, and choosing which age group your child is in to have access to certain apps, and purchasing restrictions.

As a default, Windows does not allow children to use their Microsoft account to download any adult games or movies, however you may wish to restrict certain apps and content for extra protection.

Parental controls and Internet Service Providers

Depending on which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you have, there are additional parental control settings that you can configure when first connecting your devices to the internet. Keep in mind that should you wish to include parental controls from your ISP, these will only apply to devices connected to the same network (in your home or office). Therefore you may want to consider additional steps for individual devices such as phones or laptops in the points mentioned above. For example, you may wish to restrict content your child can access when using their device in different places – such as at school, in a library or at a shopping mall.

Most internet service providers will offer basic configuration options for your home router which you can then adjust when you begin the process of connecting your devices to the internet. Instructions for these parental control settings are normally found either within the instruction manual of the router from its original packaging, or on the configuration window when you setup your device for the first time. Sometimes there is no configuration window and your device simply connects with the router password you have been given.

Accessing your router’s settings may require advanced technical knowledge if it doesn’t come with pre-built software where you can simply select options in the menu. In this use case, it is advisable to implement parental controls at a device level, for example using the Microsoft Windows Family settings, or via Apple’s in-built parental control features.