Recent studies have overturned decades of recommendations to limit kids’ screen time, so you don’t need to feel guilty about letting your child online. However, everyone agrees that kids need to be kept safe when using the internet. What’s the best way to protect your children online? Antivirus parental control software is an ideal solution.
For decades there has been a hot debate about how much screen time children should be allowed. Multiple studies have agreed that kids’ screen time should be limited, especially when they are still young. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children aged 2-5 be allowed only one or two hours per day.
Now, all those studies have been turned on their head by an extensive study from the Oxford University Internet Institute and Cardiff University, which concluded that more screen time doesn’t harm children’s wellbeing. Another study from the same team found that moderate screen use above recommended levels for teens could actually have a positive effect on their wellbeing.
The researchers noted that the way parents control screen access and the time families spend exploring the digital world together is more significant for a child’s wellbeing than the sheer number of hours spent in front of a screen. A child who is ignored and left to roam the internet alone is isolated, risks stumbling across damaging content, and misses out on important socializing time.
On the other hand, giving kids more screen time to laugh with Mom and Dad at a family comedy, explore kids’ sites together, or play an online family game can be positive for them. It can forge stronger parent-child bonds, stimulate curiosity, and improve a child’s wellbeing. The way that screen time is managed is far more important than the amount.
If Your Child Has Access to a Computer, Make Sure Parental Controls are Up
Despite the Oxford findings, no one advocates leaving a child to access a computer without any controls. Screen time is best when it’s shared with parents, both so they can share the experience and make sure that children don’t end up watching violent, sexual, or age-inappropriate content.
That said, it’s not always possible for a parent to be present whenever their child is online. If you can’t be with your child, the next best alternative is to keep your child safe with antivirus parental control software.
What are Parental Controls?
Parental controls are software tools that give children boundaries online. Parental controls can be used to restrict the amount of time children spend online, prevent children from going online at certain times of day, or to close off types of content or individual websites. Parental controls can also log the child’s internet usage so parents can review their child’s online activity.
Choose an Antivirus Software that has Parental Controls Included
When you get antivirus software with parental controls, including a parental control app for your phone or tablet, you can benefit from even more protection. Antivirus software protects you from digital attacks, but when you combine it with antivirus parental controls you get far more security. Antivirus parental control software makes it easy for parents to keep their children from discovering violent videos on YouTube and allows you to block Whatsapp from your kids during homework time. By using a parental control app for Android or iPhone you can also stop your child from using his/her phone after bedtime, for example.
Here are the four best antivirus software options with parental controls.
#1 Norton Antivirus
Norton Antivirus’ Family Premier parental controls help your kids limit the amount of time they spend online. It logs your child’s internet usage and flags unsafe online behavior for you to review. You can block off unsafe content, monitor their social media activity, video choices, app downloads, and text messages. A web portal and a mobile parental control app make it easy to manage from anywhere. Norton Antivirus parental controls also lets you instantly lock your child’s device. Norton Antivirus costs $49.99 for the first year but you can try it for free for 30 days and enjoy the protection of a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Panda’s higher tier antivirus plans all include antivirus parental control software that lets you block access to websites and content by category. It’s a powerful content filter that also blocks ads and popups on approved sites. You can monitor your child’s web activity through the logs option. Panda Security currently costs $3.99 per month for the Advanced plan and $6.99 per month for the Complete plan, with a no-commitment 30 day trial period.
BullGuard’s antivirus parental control software let you set up profiles for each child that filters content so that they can’t access inappropriate sites. You can set up a schedule for when your child can go online and block apps or instant messaging platforms from your child’s device. BullGuard logs your child’s internet activity and prevents your child from entering sensitive personal details online like credit card details or phone numbers. BullGuard Premium Protection costs $99.95 for one year to protect 10 devices with a 30-day free trial. BullGuard Internet Security is $59.95 for 3 devices for one year with a 60-day free trial and BullGuard Mobile Security protects 3 mobile devices for one year for $19.95.
Teach Your Child Good Internet Habits
Giving your kids’ screen time is an opportunity to teach them lifelong positive internet habits. Some of the things you should teach your kids about going online include:
- Never share your personal details on a public forum
- Don’t arrange to meet someone you’ve only ‘met’ online
- Be as polite online as you would be in real life
- If you accidentally see something inappropriate or scary, shut off the computer and tell an adult
- Don’t reply to emails or instant messages from someone you don’t know in real life
- Don’t click on the ‘stuff’ around the edges of the pages like ads, popups, etc.
Your child will grow up having to navigate the internet every day, so use parental controls and caring guidance to teach them how to use it safely and well.