A Guide to Monitoring Your Child's Laptop

10 min read by Bogdi

published 2 ani în urmă, updated un an în urmă

While parents may hope for the best when they speak to their children about what is allowed and what is not allowed to watch on television, you can never be too careful when it comes to safety online. It is nearly impossible to simply keep track of the sites they are on or completely take away the ability to get on there in the first place.

To monitor your child's laptop, you can implement parental controls. You can use these to filter out harmful content, block potentially dangerous websites, and more. Be sure you speak to your child about the importance of internet safety on top of these monitoring tools.

Children nowadays know that the easiest way to get caught is to forget to clear their browsing history. But could you find a way to work around that so that you do not have to do so much detective work? Read on to learn ways you can monitor your child's laptop to keep them safe online.

How Do I Block Inappropriate Sites on My Laptop?

Every good parent cannot help but think of a million bad scenarios that their child could get involved in. As parents, your job is to try and prevent these from happening. The truth is that you are never going to be able to protect them from everything that they come across.

The best way to protect your child from anything related to the internet is to teach them about internet safety. While some parents try to shield their child from certain things, you and your child can stay ahead of it all by teaching them the good and bad of the internet.

There are so many things that a child can research on the internet nowadays, and even though you probably would not get to all of the topics, you could still make them aware, so they know to try to avoid making those mistakes. These can include:

  • Giving out personal information
  • Getting too friendly with strangers
  • Stumbling upon disturbing content

As the parent, you have a lot more access to sites on your devices. If your child ever asks to use your laptop, make sure to turn on parental controls so that they will not have access to the same content you do as an adult. You can always turn the parental controls option off after they are done with your laptop.

Different Parental Control Options

The more options that you have for parental controls, the better. This all really depends on what you are trying to achieve by monitoring their laptop. Are you trying to filter out certain content on their laptop, set a time limit for their screen time, or block the websites altogether so that they cannot access them at all?

You might even get lucky and find a parental control option that does everything that you need to help monitor your child's laptop. Here are some questions that you might have when choosing a parental control option:

  • What are the free options for blocking websites and filtering out content?
  • Is there a way to manage the device from your own device?
  • Can your child tell that you are monitoring their laptop?
  • What if my child disables the parental controls on their laptop?

Although there are many parental control options, you need to find one that is simple for you to implement and fits all of your needs. You also want to make sure that your child cannot easily turn off the parental control that you set up on their laptop.

Children are very smart, especially those growing up in the digital age. They can figure out more things than you can imagine. There are ways to monitor their devices, including their laptop, without even actually going on their laptop. Technology is forever changing these days, and you just have to stay up to date.

You do not want your child feeling like you are invading their privacy by going onto their laptops constantly to check up on what they are doing. This can take a lot of time out of your day and make them feel very uncomfortable as well.

Blocking Certain Sites and Filtering Out Content

If you just want to block well-known, harmful sites on your child's laptop, then here is one of the ways to ensure that your child will not have access to those.

  • Set Google to be your child's default search engine on their laptop.
  • Then, enable the Google SafeSearch function.
  • Turn that SafeSearch function on.

The great thing about laptops today is that they all come with several special settings options depending on their operating systems. All kinds of operating systems come with a kid-friendly feature that you can simply turn on. Each operating system has different features, so it may require a bit of research depending on your child's laptop so you can see the benefits of each one.

If you want a little extra protection to monitor what your child sees on their laptop, then you could try a third-party service. With these services, you can simply set up an account on your child's laptop. Most third-party apps are not free, so you can compare prices and purchase whichever package works best for your budget.

These are only a few options when it comes to monitoring your child's laptop and other devices. You do not have to worry about constantly checking their laptops to make sure they are not watching something inappropriate. However, you should be mindful that children are pretty smart, and they could possibly figure out how to turn off their parental controls.

Managing Your Child's Device Remotely

The least noticeable way to ensure your child's device is monitored with parental controls is to handle all the settings and controls from your own personal device. There are apps and services that achieve this goal if you are willing to spend a certain monthly subscription cost.

However, most people prefer not to spend any extra cash if they do not have to. Although this option is not technically free, it is already most likely included in your internet package.

  • Depending on what internet service provider you have, you can simply download the app and link your child's devices to your secure and private wifi network.
  • Once you do that, then you can monitor what your child sees on their laptop. You can even set time limits for how long they can spend online.

Each streaming service provider like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max has its own parental control options as well. These options ensure that your child is not able to search for inappropriate shows or movies. This option can be cost-effective for most families.

You most definitely do not have to spend money to monitor your child's device. You can simply look into the settings of different apps you already pay for and see if they have a parental controls option. Most likely, they will. Companies like to be really careful about the content they put out for each age group.

Can Your Child Tell That You Are Monitoring Them?

The last thing you want is for your child to question whether you trust them or not and make them feel uncomfortable. This is why talking to your child and teaching them about internet safety is very important.

Sure, there are probably a bunch of different apps and services that you could get for free or purchase that will promise you that your kids are not able to tell that you are monitoring them, but it would just be easier to build that strong, trusting foundation from the start.

However, if you do need a way to monitor your child's laptop without them knowing they are being monitored, some of the options discussed above offer that discretion. Everyone's situation is different, so someone else's reasons for turning on the parental controls could be different from yours as well.

With most of these parental control option services or apps, your child could find out about you monitoring them, but hopefully, this should not raise any issues. Once you really explain the dangers of the internet, they will be alarmed and aware of what they can come across moving forward. Make it clear that you monitor their laptop because you want them to be safe, not because you do not trust them.

What If My Child Disables Parental Controls?

So, your child is one of those young tech geniuses that figured out how to disable the parental controls. Before you just simply switch back on the parental controls, try asking them why they disabled them in the first place and try to get to the root of the problem.

Afterward, you can set up parental controls again or take away the device until you have found a more reliable service or application for you to use that they cannot get through. The decision on which route is best for you to take in that type of situation is up to you.

Children are observant and smarter than most adults give them credit for. So if you ever have a gut-wrenching feeling that something does not seem right, like if you get notifications sent to your phone when your child goes online, then go ahead and just take a look and make sure everything is exactly the way that it should be.

Other Ways to Monitor Your Child's Laptop

With everything that is going on and has been for the past year, most children nowadays have been switched to remote learning for at least some of the time. This means that many kids are spending a lot more time on the internet than they might have in the past. There is no way you can monitor what they experience online 24 hours a day.

Besides the free options of parental control services or apps, there are some that require a monthly fee. However, if you are willing to fit these into your budget, here are some not so costly options:

  • Qustodio
  • Kaspersky
  • Norton Family Premier
  • Mcafee Safe Family

There are some factors to consider before you decide which is the best option for your family. Which one is the cheapest? Is the more expensive option necessarily the best one? Each service listed will break down the different memberships and what is included in each.

You will most likely be able to figure out which one you would prefer in a short amount of time. Once you find your top three or four services you want to compare to each other, then you will be able to make the decision best for you and your family. You also have the option of trying one out and switching to another if your first choice is not perfect.

There are also many services out there that are not genuine and are actually just greedy scammers who want your personal information. Try to look for genuine reviews on whichever service or application you are looking into. You do not want to fall down that same rabbit hole you are trying to prevent your child from going down.

Next is going to be a breakdown of the four most popular parental services to use. The cost and benefits of each are going to be factored in so that you do not have to worry about doing too much research and taking up too much of your time.


According to its site, Qustodio has one of the best plans out there for parental control services. It also works across multiple devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Androids, Kindles, and more. Some functions do not work with all devices. For example, for tracking your child's location, that would only work on mobile devices and not on laptops or computers.

All of their plans include great benefits. It just depends on how many devices you need to put on the plan. Their maximum number for how many devices they protect is 15 devices. So, if you have a large family, this would be something that you could look into.

Qustodio, like many other services, has their recommended selection that many others have tried and loved. The prices range from $55 a year to $138 a year. It is nice that they have yearly memberships so that you are not worried whether you paid the bill or not in the upcoming months.

Qustodio has many great offers, and a lot goes with each plan, so no one feels like they are getting the short end of it all with parental controls. This is one of the more pricey options, but there are more that are more affordable. Just figure out what best meets you and your family's budget when it comes to parental control services.


Kaspersky is easy to download and install to manage your child's laptop settings. This is a more affordable option with a ton of great benefits that come with it as well. This service protects what your child sees even when you are not around. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Androids, and iOS devices.

Purchasing Kaspersky goes above and beyond many other options in this guide.

  • It blocks inappropriate sites, like the others.
  • It also teaches your child about having self-control while on the internet.
  • Kaspersky wants to ensure that your child is safe and that you feel comfortable with your child on the laptop even if you are not around.

Kaspersky is easy to install on your device and your child's devices, like a laptop. The price for the service from Kaspersky is about $15 a year. That is typically a price that would look more appealing to families when you already have enough bills to worry about. For about $15 a year, you and your family would have their parental control needs handled.

Norton Family Premier

Norton Family Premier is a well-known parental control service. Norton now offers something new with this service called "the schooltime feature," This feature does not allow your child to do anything but their schoolwork during a certain time frame that you can set up. This will ensure your child is focused on their homework and not spending time browsing the web and procrastinating.

With Norton Family Premier, you can feel certain that your child's internet activity is being monitored. Their prices start at about $50 per year for the first year, but the yearly price may vary after the first year.

Norton has been around for decades, and it has definitely earned its credibility. If you have any questions, you can always contact customer support as well, and they will be delighted to help.

McAfee Safe Family

Mcafee, another well-known service for devices, only offers their parental control options for Windows users and not Mac users. They have different coverage options based on whether you are going to use them for one year or two years.

For a one-year subscription, it is about $45 a year for new customers. For a two-year subscription, it is $35 a year, but keep in mind that you will have to pay the full $70 the day you get the subscription in order to have the service for two full years.

There are so many things that are offered with the McAfee Safe Family subscription, including parental controls.


Hopefully, learning about these options has pointed you in the right direction in deciding which route would work best for you and your family. Protecting your child and monitoring their laptop will give you peace of mind so that you do not have to worry about their online safety as much during your day-to-day life.

Just be sure you also instill the knowledge of internet safety in your child. Treating them with trust and respect and speaking to them as your equal will provide a more solid foundation of understanding in regards to their own choices online.

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