Parental controls can be really useful so that children are not exposed to some of the more harmful content on the internet.  These are particularly useful if your child has, for example, a gaming or mobile device such as a phone or a tablet.  There are lots of different types of parental controls, such as software you can put onto individual devices, content filters that are applied to your whole broadband and wireless connection, and hardware settings that can be applied on individual devices.

This can make it quite frustrating as they all work in different ways, have different functions and have different settings.

Very generally:

  • An internet content filter will allow you to block certain categories of websites, such as social media, pornography, drugs etc.  Most internet providers give you this ability for free, you just need to sign into your account online and set it up.  Bear in mind that once you set the filter up on your internet feed, it applies to every device in the household that uses that internet connection.
  • All hardware devices have some form of privacy and parental controls such as mobile phones, gaming devices, tablets etc.  For example on gaming platforms you can set up restrictions according to the age of the user, on some devices you can set up time restrictions.

A word of advice – these are not a panacea; for every ‘how-to’ video on YouTube there are more ‘how-to-bypass’ videos.  Think carefully about the things that you want to block or restrict.  Internet content filters are renowned for blocking legitimate websites, for example charities or sex education sites, purely due to the nature of the content on the site.

I’ve put a YouTube link to some of the more common devices below, but a simple search on YouTube and you’ll find tutorials for other devices.  A fantastic website to get more in-depth advice about parental controls, what they are and how you set them up, including a personalised walk-through is HERE.

Gaming Systems

Playstation 3

Playstation 4

Xbox 360

Xbox One

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo Wii U

Operating Systems

Windows 7

Windows 8


Mobile Phones

Blackberry (Bold 9900)

iPhone, iTouch, iPad

Apple iOS7 Parental Restrictions

Social Media


- this video is from Leonie Smith who is a great advocate for child protection.  I highly recommend if you use Twitter you follow @_LeonieGSmith



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