The Ultimate Guide to Remotely Monitoring your Child’s Computer

10 min read by Bogdi

published un an în urmă, updated 5 luni în urmă

Remotely monitoring your child’s computer and internet activity can be necessary to protect them from some of the more dangerous aspects of being on the internet. How can you remotely monitor your child’s internet activity on their computer?

Smartphone apps and programs give you the ability to monitor your child’s computer and internet activity remotely. You also can set regulations directly on your child’s computer and educate your child about internet safety.

Several apps and programs exist on the market to remotely monitor your child’s computer. Read on to find out more about these apps and programs and how to set clear expectations with your child about internet safety.

How Can I Remotely Monitor My Child’s Online Activity?

Apps for your smartphone and programs on your computer can be valuable tools for remotely monitoring your child’s online activity. These apps can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere to monitor your child’s computer and internet activity remotely.

Your child’s computer will also have settings to regulate their internet usage. Settings to block specific sites and limit the time your child can access the internet exists on most computers or added with programs. These settings come standard on most computers or can be installed with software like Norton Security.

Setting internet rules and regulations with your child and following up regularly can be a way to monitor their online activity. Though this isn’t a concrete solution, it is a must to educate them on what is expected and some of the consequences of internet misuse.

Teaching your child about internet safety is one of the most important things you can do for their safety. Far too often, children don’t receive any education about internet safety and can be subject to some unfortunate situations that could have easily been avoided with some primary internet safety education.

Set Internet Parental Control Regulations Directly on your Child’s Computer

Your child’s computer comes with an automatic setting to regulate internet activity. The only additional thing that would be required in this case is to enter a separate password that they will not be able to access the feature with. These controls will restrict your child from accessing certain websites or programs on the computer, searching web browsers with specific keywords, and using certain features of the computer’s web browser.

Internet usage can be regulated for a computer’s:

  • Specific Computer Systems
  • Internet Browsers
  • Video Streaming Services
  • Video Game Services

Setting these controls will allow you to monitor your child’s online activity when you’re not present. Setting parental controls and internet regulations on your child’s computer will give you peace of mind when you’re not around. You can set parental controls through your internet provider, on individual search engines, video streaming platforms, or video gaming software. Parental controls can prevent children from accessing inappropriate content online.

Parental control settings on your child’s computer will automatically:

  • Block certain video games with unsuitable ratings
  • Manage video content by rating or website
  • Manage search engines
  • Allow only pre-approved sites

Parental controls are a way to remotely monitor your child’s online activity without having to be present. You can simply set parental controls, password-protect them, and not have to do anything further. These controls don’t necessarily let you monitor them remotely, but once they are set and password-protected, they cannot be changed without the password.

Here’s an example of how to set parental controls on your child’s computer to block inappropriate websites. From your desktop computer:

  • Sign into your Microsoft account on windows operating systems
  • Find your child’s account under their name and choose “content restrictions.”
  • Choose the “Web Browsing” Tab, then change the “Block Inappropriate Websites” from off to on.
  • You can choose to block specific URLs with the “Always Blocked” options or add a list of websites to the “Only Allow” section to create a detailed list of websites that your child can ONLY access.

Some parents choose to set parental control only on web browsers. If you do not need to restrict access to specific programs on your child’s computer, or they only use the computer for browsing the internet, setting up parental controls on your computer’s web browser is also an option. Keep in mind, these features will not apply to anything but the web browser tabs and searches.

Here’s how to set up parental controls on Google Chrome, a popular web browser:

  • Start by logging into the primary Google account on the computer.
  • From the main menu, click the three vertical dots in the top right corner.
  • Select Setting from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the “People” section.
  • Add a person (this will be the account your child uses)
  • Select “Control and View the Websites this Person Visits”
  • Click Add and go to the Dashboard Page
  • Select Supervised User then click on your child’s account.
  • Add the parental control setting in the Permissions section and click “lock” on SafeSearch

When this particular web browser is open your child will not be able to access the website that you added in the Permissions setting, and adult material will be blocked with SafeSearch. This feature will not transfer over to any other web browser used on the computer, nor will it work automatically for any streaming or gaming services.

Setting parental controls like these will prevent your child from visiting unapproved websites without further need for monitoring their online activity. If you would rather actively monitor their online activity, there are plenty of apps that can be used instead of or in tandem with a computer’s parental control features.

Using Apps to Monitor your Child’s Online Activity

Some apps on the market are designed to let you specifically monitor your child’s internet activity remotely. These apps will be more expansive than your computer’s parental control features, and likely offer some additional benefits like smartphone tracking and 24/7 monitoring. NetNanny and MamaBear are parental control apps that do exactly that.

Apps like NetNanny and Mamabear let you:

  • Track your child’s smartphone location
  • Act as parental controls on your child’s computer, preventing them from visiting inappropriate websites.
  • Monitor your child’s internet use, specifically on social media, and implement a word list so you know when your child is using inappropriate words.

These apps let you monitor your child’s online activity 24/7 from any location. Many of them require an annual fee for their use but offer many more features than a computer’s standard controls.

Let’s look at some of these apps, their specific features, and how much they will cost you.

NetNanny

  • NetNanny allows you to monitor your child’s online activity and protect them from inappropriate material.
  • Website blockers, social media monitoring, and screen time management let you control the amount of time your child spends online.
  • NetNanny will give you a real-time update if specific keywords are searched for.
  • NetNanny will give you all of the monitoring features over your child’s computer for $39.99 annually.

MamaBear

  • MamaBear is an online activity monitoring app explicitly geared toward your child’s social media.
  • MamaBear will monitor and alert you to:
  • Who your child follows
  • Who follows them
  • Comments your child makes and receives
  • Keyword searches
  • MamaBear offers six months of coverage for $24.99

These apps are just two of the apps on the market that will allow you to monitor your child’s online activity, be it social media or keyword searches on their desktop. These apps are a great way of monitoring your child’s internet behavior remotely as they will give you real-time alerts to what your child is doing online.

Set Clear Expectations with your Child

One way to monitor your child’s internet activity on their computer remotely is, to begin with setting clear expectations with them, especially if you plan on setting parental controls and using apps to monitor them. This is an important step that will help your child develop good habits and begin to use the internet safely.

Transparency on what apps and parental controls you will be setting is key for understanding what they can and cannot do online. It is essential to be honest with your child about the danger of online activity, especially social media, and what they could be subject to if they are not careful.

Teach Your Child About Internet Safety to Protect Them

Perhaps the most crucial step in monitoring your child’s internet activity is to teach them why you are doing it in the first place. Learning about some of the consequences for inappropriate internet usage may deter your child from inappropriate material in the first place.

Your child should learn about internet safety to avoid:

  • Scams
  • Viruses
  • Online Predators
  • Inappropriate material
  • Bullying or Online Hate Speech

The Internet, specifically social media, can be a dangerous and hateful place. If your child doesn’t understand the basics of using the internet safely, they can be subject to one or more of these dangers. Their computer and their physical and emotional safety and security are all at risk if they do not learn how to use the internet safely.

How Can I Monitor My Child’s Internet Activity on their Phone?

Smartphones pose an additional problem when attempting to regulate and monitor your child’s online activity. Now that we have discussed how to monitor their computer remotely, we also need to address smartphones. Smartphones have all the capabilities of computers today and more. Let's look at apps that will allow you to remotely monitor your child’s smartphone and some internet regulations that come standard on iPhones and Androids.

Apps to Monitor iPhone and Android Internet Activity

Many apps used to monitor iPhone and Android internet activity also come with GPS location notifications. Some come with safe driving features that notify you when the vehicle that your child is riding or driving in is going faster than a set speed. These apps include:

Kaspersky Safe Kids

  • Kaspersky will block internet access to specific websites on your child’s smartphone.
  • Kaspersky allows you to set screen time limitations on each device covered.
  • You will be able to track your child’s GPS location, set a specific range for them to stay in, and receive alerts if they leave the area.
  • Kaspersky offers a digital map to use to track your child’s location 24/7.

Qustodio

  • Qustodio offers similar features as Kaspersky but adds the additional element of monitoring text messages and recording phone calls.
  • Qustodio is more expensive than Kaspersky and can be used on iPhone, Androids, your child’s desktop, and other devices.
  • Qustodio is more expensive than Kaspersky at $138 per year for coverage on 15 devices.

Apps are a very effective way to remotely monitor internet activity on your child’s smartphone. They offer GPS locations, website restrictions and blocking, and text message monitoring to ensure your child does not become subject to inappropriate behavior or material.

Internet Controls and Regulations on iPhones and Androids

iPhones and Androids come standard with parental control features. The features present on these phones will block internet searches, adult websites and allow only certain websites to be accessed via the phone’s browser. They allow you to set a separate password to adjust these features, preventing your child from disabling them.

Here’s an example of how to set up parental controls on an iPhone:

  • Go into the Setting Menu and choose Screen Time
  • Choose Content and Privacy Restrictions, then create a passcode
  • Choose Content Restrictions and Web Content
  • You’ll be able to choose between Unrestricted Access, Limiting Adult Websites for creating a list of websites that are only allowed on the device.

Androids allow for similar parental control settings, and with smartphones becoming more capable than computers, it is critical that you remotely monitor your child’s internet activity on their phones. If apps to regulate your child’s online activity are not an option, these basic settings that come standard with each smartphone will protect them from any inappropriate behavior and material on the internet.

Why Should you Monitor your Child’s Online Activity?

The internet has become a place entirely unlike what we had growing up. The Internet is an anonymous and often hateful place. Children can be affected by this much easier than adults can, so it is vital to protect your child from online bullying, specifically regarding social media and the inappropriate content that comes with internet usage.

Online Bullying on Social Media

Anyone can make a Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram account, and it would be almost impossible to keep up with your child’s activity on social media without one of the apps or regulations we have mentioned. Social Media is a breeding ground for cyberbullies, hate speech, and inappropriate content.

Cyberbullying is a trend that came with expanding and widespread access to the internet and social media. Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology to threaten, attach, or embarrass another person anonymously, and it is prominently seen in children 16 and under.

  • Cyberbullying can be done on smartphones, laptops, gaming systems, chat features of apps, and social media sites.
  • Cyberbullying, in extreme cases, can become a physical threat to you or your children. If personal information is posted online or a threatening text or comment, there is a chance your child could be subjected to real danger.
  • Severe cyberbullying can create long-lasting effects on a child’s emotional state. Cyberbullying can cause anxiety, depression, stress-related illness, and in some very extreme cases suicide.

Children can become the victim of the intense bullying or hatred that comes with some aspects of social media, which they may not be aware of or know how to handle. In extreme situations, their safety and wellbeing may be at risk. Parental controls, apps, and internet regulations can completely block these occurrences from happening, and at the very least, can alert you immediately if something suspicious comes up.

Inappropriate Material

Nobody wants their child to experience inappropriate material that they don’t know how to handle. Whether it is graphic violence or adult material, there are ways to avoid your child stumbling onto material that will confuse or offend them.

Apps and parental control like the ones we have discussed will allow you to block specific keywords pertaining to the inappropriate material you do not want your child to be subject to. Parental controls will allow you to monitor their online behavior, block websites that contain this material completely, and block them from searching for phrases like them.

Conclusion

Remotely monitoring your child’s computer and internet access is vital these days. It is essential to:

  • Set up parental controls on their computers
  • Use Apps to monitor their internet usage
  • Set clear expectations about internet regulations and teach them about internet safety.

Not only is setting these parental controls a necessity on their computers, but now that smartphones are becoming more and more capable, monitoring their phones is becoming essential. There are apps on the market that let parents remotely monitor their child’s smartphone, as well as standard regulations on the devices themselves. It is vital to use all of these tools to monitor your child’s internet usage and safeguard them from online bullying and inappropriate content.

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