Balancing Freedom and Safety for Today's Mobile Kids

Fri, 30/01/2015

Whether you have an iPad-obsessed toddler who accidentally makes in-app purchases, a tween who uses her iPod to Google naughty words, or a teen who has become completely glued to her smartphone and social media, you're probably wishing you could set some boundaries for your child's technology use. But it can be hard to find the right balance between allowing your child some independence while shielding her from online mistakes and safety hazards. 

That's where parent-control apps and software can come in handy. We've combed app stores and web reviews for the best apps and software for monitoring your kids' mobile use. Our round-up includes tools that can help you with a range of things, including: 

  • Filtering web content
  • Banning or approving websites for your child
  • Setting screentime limits, including at dinnertime, homework time, and bedtime
  • Child-proofing the device you share with younger kids, and creating a "sandbox" of kiddie apps for them
  • Finding kid-safe YouTube videos, and blocking ads and sketchy "related" content links
  • Preventing teen texting while driving
  • Preventing teens from ignoring your calls
  • Keeping tabs on your child's web and social media use
  • Preventing cyberbullying, stranger danger, reputation damage, and other social media hazards
  • Making your child more aware of his smartphone obsession

If you have ever worried about any of the above, check out the apps and software available to help you (ranging in price from free to under $100 per year). 

While we don't encourage you to "spy" on your child or block her from every corner of the web (which might just encourage her to rebel), we do advise learning about some of the tools that can help you set up smart and safe limits, at least when it comes to your biggest concerns. Check out these other online safety tips: