With an ever growing list of devices and apps children use, it can be very time-consuming to try and figure out how to secure them all. This article will provide you with the ultimate list of instructions for each device and online platform so you can shield your children from harm quickly and effectively.


Netflix is one of the few streaming platforms that allows extensive restrictions to be applied to underage profiles. The first step for controlling what shows are available to your children is to create their accounts using the Netflix Kids option. This can be turned on by ticking the “Kids” option when setting up a regular account. Netflix Kids automatically restricts inappropriate content from selected profiles and prevents children and teens from applying any changes to the settings. You also have the option of applying additional controls. Finally, Netflix allows you to secure certain profiles with a 4-digit PIN code. This will prevent your children from accessing accounts with high maturity ratings. However, you can only set it up through Netflix’s official website.


Hulu is possibly the only platform that doesn’t allow for custom-made content restrictions. Instead, you can create a separate account for your child and enable kid-friendly programming with a toggle. Keep in mind that even with this option turned on, your children will still be able to stream PG-13 and TV-14 content. If you try to bypass it and set up parental controls on your device or router, it’ll completely block all shows on the platform. With Prime Video parental controls, you can set age-appropriate viewing restrictions and prevent unwanted or accidental purchases by protecting them with a PIN code. When turned on, they’ll also stop the next episode from autoplaying. These restrictions are not as extensive as parental settings on Netflix, but they’ll still stop your children from accessing inappropriate movies and TV shows. You can turn on parental controls using your phone or a laptop — both options are equally as quick and simple to set up.


Disney+ is a platform dedicated to kids and teens, so you won’t need to worry about any R rated content. However, as the app also has National Geographic and Marvel shows, some titles may be less appropriate depending on your child’s age. Luckily, you can block all scary and disturbing content by creating a Kids Profile. This will automatically restrict all movies and shows above a G-rating.

Protect Your Children From Pressure on Social Media


YouTube provides a tremendous amount of videos for users of all ages, but places absolutely no restrictions for any viewer by default. This increases the risk of your child accidentally stumbling upon explicit, scary, or disturbing content on a daily basis. Luckily, you can turn on YouTube restricted mode on the website itself or even download YouTube Kids — a separate, child-oriented platform that holds only safe and appropriate content. YouTube Kids comes with limited functions and a restrictive filter that blocks most inappropriate videos. You can even apply age-based restrictions. “Pre-School” works best for children younger than 4 years old, “Younger” will display videos for kids up to 8 years old, and “Older” is designed for users between 8-12 years old. However, YouTube Kids isn’t always perfect. It’s possible for some weird and disturbing videos to slip through the filters, so don’t let your child use the app on their own. Moreover, the older your children get, the more likely they are to rebel against using a restricted kid’s app. To avoid unnecessary arguments and stress, you can allow them to use the common YouTube version, but remember to turn on Restricted Mode. This option is available on both the browser and mobile version of the platform.


The latest addition to social media giants restricts its users from making an account unless they’re 13. The app itself is rated 12+, but it often still displays fantasy violence, explicit content, crude humor, and inappropriate references. Due to its algorithm, TikTok also collects a lot of user information to tailor displayed videos on the main page to the viewer. Luckily, there are quite a few options available to protect your child’s profile, but you’ll have to set up your own TikTok account and link it with your kid’s account to enable them. Family Pairing allows you to control how long your children can use TikTok, block certain types of content, and turn off direct messaging. The latter is automatically turned off for any user under the age of 16. Additionally, you can set your child’s account to private to prevent strangers from viewing his or her clips. Using your kid’s profile, go into “Privacy and Settings,” then “Privacy and Safety” and switch on “Private Account.”


With Instagram’s massive user database, the platform makes your child extremely vulnerable to hateful comments, online stalkers, and identity theft. With the right protective steps and increased privacy settings, you can ensure your child won’t come across harmful materials. If you notice any inappropriate behavior related to your child’s account, don’t hesitate to report and block the account responsible. You should also teach your children how they can report it themselves. Instagram takes privacy concerns very seriously and will resolve your issue as quickly as possible.


Snapchat continues to be widely popular amongst younger teenagers due to its amusing filters and ease of communication. However, certain features (like displaying users’ specific location) pose a huge threat to children who use the app. Despite Snapchat featuring multiple privacy protection settings, reports of sexual predators on the platform are still a regular occurrence. Make sure to disable as many features as possible to increase your child’s safety when using the app.


According to its terms and conditions, Facebook doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 13 to set up an account. However, online statistics show that almost 40% of Facebook users are under the age limit. If the platform’s user data collection isn’t enough to encourage you to add extra protection to your child’s account, its regular involvement in data breaches definitely should. Applying even a few additional security settings may save your kids from becoming victims of various cyberattacks, including identity theft.


Twitter is one of the few social media platforms that offers the highest level of user protection. The settings aren’t turned on by default, but are very easy to find and enable. Make sure you apply all the changes as soon as your child becomes active on the platform.


Although it’s generally considered harmless, Pinterest can still hold some dark content in its corners. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t offer any parental controls that could block inappropriate content. If your child uses Pinterest regularly, apply appropriate restrictions within your browser or device. Additionally, create your own account and regularly review what images your kids pin to their boards and ensure they don’t link their profiles with other social media platforms.


If you’re looking to apply parental controls to your child’s Twitch account, you’re not going to find many. Despite allowing gamers and streamers as young as 13 to set up a profile, the platform doesn’t actually put any protective restrictions in place. As Twitch is a live streaming platform, it makes it almost impossible to moderate and filter its content. The only protection you can apply is disabling direct messages on the website. Luckily, many official streamers (like Ninja or DrGluon) keep their channels child-friendly and avoid explicit language and references. While they may still play games aimed at a more mature audience, you wouldn’t find anything inappropriate in their chats. However, many gamers who stream Minecraft or other games popular with younger audiences may use extremely vulgar language. The best way to moderate what your child watches is to take interest in their favorite streamers and check if their channels are appropriate for his or her age.


Reddit provides one of the biggest libraries on quite possibly every topic imaginable, from child-friendly forums about TV shows to extreme and explicit adult content. The latter is usually clearly labeled with Not Safe For Life (NSFL) or Not Safe For Work (NSFW). Both tags automatically hide images and videos that would make any adult terrified or disgusted. But, ideally, no underage user should be allowed on the platform without supervision at any point, just in case they come across something they should never see. If you decide to let your child use Reddit, sign up for them with your own email address. This will allow you to regularly monitor what kind of content they view and prevent them from changing the password. Alternatively, using the website without logging in will automatically block NSFL and NSFW content so you may want to skip creating an account altogether. Most internet browsers (except Internet Explorer) offer a free extension called Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES). It’s an independent, community-driven Reddit browser that provides safer browsing while using the platform. As Reddit itself won’t allow you to block any subreddits, you can use RES to restrict user access to forums that display gore, sexual images, or other inappropriate content. Unfortunately, Reddit parental controls don’t exist on its iOS and Android app. While its iOS version comes with a toggle to turn off R-rated content, Android users won’t be allowed to restrict anything. If your child wants to browse Reddit pages, it’s safest to do so on a PC.

Enable Maximum Child Protection on Every Device

Apple Devices

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Apple gives parents full control over their children’s iPhones, iPads, and iPods. Screen Time Content & Privacy Restrictions can block certain apps and features on Apple devices. You’ll also find sections to limit more specific settings, like Siri or online purchases. Managing your child’s safety on their Apple devices is also very simple and can be done in 10 quick steps.


Setting up parental controls on MacOS varies depending on what MacOS version your child is using. Catalina is the latest MacOS system released in 2018. Unlike its predecessors, it doesn’t come with built-in parental controls. Instead, Apple swapped it for Screen Time settings to match the controls from iPhones, iPads, and iPods. You’ll have to enable it directly on your child’s computer — the process is very quick and simple. Older versions of MacOS are even easier to protect as they have a whole menu dedicated to Parental Controls. This allows you to easily manage each aspect of what your child can access from one setting option. Even if you don’t apply any restrictions manually, each “child’s account” on Mac has certain controls applied by default. For even safer use of the device, consider adding extra parental controls.

Android Devices

Unlike Apple devices, most Android phones and tablets don’t have specific settings for parental controls. While you can manage certain options in the Google Play Store to disable specific apps and prevent accidental purchases, you won’t be able to turn on phone-wide restrictions. To monitor your child’s phone habits, you can download the Family Link app on their device. This app helps you set ground rules for phone usage, such as managing which apps are allowed and setting time restrictions so you can choose when your child can use their phone and when they can’t. You can also keep track of which apps your child is using and how much time they are spending on each one.

Windows 10, 8 and 8.1, and 7

Similar to MacOS, switching on parental controls on your Windows device differs depending on its operating system. Before you begin enabling any restrictions, make sure your child has Microsoft accounts linked with your own. This will ensure their maximum online safety and it won’t limit your own digital experience.

Windows 10

If your child has their own Microsoft account, it’s highly possible certain parental controls are already applied. However, it’s still a good practice to review the settings in case they aren’t fully age-appropriate.

Windows 8 and 8.1

Windows 7

Windows 7 offers the least amount of control regarding what your child can and cannot access on the system. However, depending on the age of your child, these controls should be enough to ensure safe usage.


Any child who wants to use a Chromebook or the Google Play Store needs their own Google account. Google’s underage profiles already come with a set of pre-programmed restrictions, such as blocking the use of the incognito mode in Chrome or the option to block explicit online content. However, in order to control specific Chromebook features, you need to download and set up Google’s Family Link app. The program is very simple to use, but to start you need to log in to both your and your child’s Google account. Once the child’s account is created, you can apply more restrictions like screen time limits and age-specific filters.

Google Home and Google Nest

Google home devices allow you to control explicit content and block it from playing on YouTube apps, Google Play Music, and other radio apps you have installed. The speakers come with a built-in Digital Wellbeing setting that filters unwanted content when turned on. These restrictions can be applied to all speakers connected to your account or selected Supervised Accounts and guests. Without the FreeTime subscription, you’ll have to enable parental controls by turning on specific settings manually, such as Kid Skills and Explicit Filters.


Safeguard Young Players on All Gaming Consoles


PlayStation 3

Parental restrictions on PlayStation 3 aren’t as extensive as on Sony’s later console. You won’t be able to create time or spending limits, or monitor your child’s gaming activity from your own device. However, you can choose age-appropriate game restrictions and disable internet browsing.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 (as well as PlayStation Pro and PlayStation Slim) come with Sony’s latest parental control features. In order to enable them, you’ll have to create a Family account and assign yourself as Family Manager. Doing so will allow you to make sub-accounts for all your children. This system makes setting up the restrictions much faster as you can apply them to all sub-accounts at once.


Just like any other Microsoft device, both Xbox One and Xbox 360 come with a set of strict parental controls. These built-in family settings allow all parents to set spending bans, control how much time their children spend playing games, and restrict social interaction. To alter any settings though, you and each of your children will need to use separate Microsoft accounts to log in to the console.

Xbox One

Xbox 360

To make it even easier, Microsoft is releasing its own free mobile app called Xbox Family Settings. Using it will allow all parents to make real-time changes to family settings on every child account from the comfort of their own mobile devices. The app is still in development, but you can test its Early Access version by downloading it from the Play Store or Apple Store.

Nintendo Switch

Even though Nintendo Switch is considered one of the safest gaming consoles, any online game your child plays poses various risks. By enabling parental controls, you can make sure your little ones don’t accidentally play an M-rated game or make any purchases without your knowledge. The console’s creators installed pre-made control levels to make the process even easier for busy and less tech-savvy parents. Don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure how to use your child’s Switch — you can apply parental controls from your own smartphone! However, before setting any restrictions, you’ll need to register your phone on the Switch using the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app.


If your child prefers computer gaming to consoles, then Steam is likely to be their go-to platform. It holds an impressively large cloud-based library of games — sadly, not all of them are age-appropriate. To make sure your child uses the platform safely, use Steam’s Family View controls. It’ll restrict its content and display only family-friendly titles while your child is logged in. The feature can be turned on and off with just one click of a button once it’s set up. This won’t limit your own gaming experience if you share your account with kids.


Origins automatically applies restrictions and parental controls for any user under 13. This means that your child won’t have access to any of the platform’s online features, such as multiplayer games or the Origins Store. Child accounts also won’t show up in the user search bar, removing any possibility for social interaction through the platform. To create a child account, you’ll need to sign up yourself first. Do so by navigating to the Origins website and clicking “Register.” With the account created, download the Origins app on your computer or laptop and open it. This will prompt the account setup page to show up.

Apply Child-Friendly Controls on Smart TVs

Roku TV

Roku TV doesn’t allow for many parental controls to be applied and those that do exist will only restrict Roku Channels and Roku TV features. Enabling them on the TV box itself won’t apply them within the third-party apps (like Netflix or YouTube), so you’ll need to turn those on manually.

Apple TV

As Apple offers a multitude of features on its TV box, it also allows you to control every feature available, including online purchases, maturity rating, Siri, and screen recording. Keep in mind that changing these settings won’t have an impact on restrictions within third-party apps, such as Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. You’ll have to manually block their content using in-app settings.

Fire TV

Similar to other Smart TVs, Fire restrictions will only apply to Prime Video viewing options. However, if you don’t want your children to access third-party apps, you can secure them with PIN protection. Even if your little ones try to open an app they’re not supposed to without supervision, it won’t start unless they enter the correct combination.

Samsung TV

Samsung TV’s parental controls are disappointingly limited. To stop your child from accessing mature shows on any apps installed on your smart TV, you’ll need to lock each app separately. This will prevent kids from opening an app, but they’ll have full control over what they watch unless you apply parental controls within the streaming apps themselves.

Configure Parental Controls on Internet Browsers

Firefox and Opera

Firefox and Opera are the only internet browsers that don’t have any built-in parental restrictions. To stop your child from accessing inappropriate content, you’ll need to apply external parental controls by downloading a third-party app (also known as an extension). Some of the most popular extensions include FoxFilter, Family Friendly Filter (on Firefox) and Disconnect (on Opera). Alternatively, apply parental restrictions on the device itself. This will automatically apply content protection on any internet browser installed.

Google Chrome

Chrome online protection can be enabled directly within the browser and using the Family Link app. As the browser and the app offer different aspects of protection, it’s best to turn parental controls on for both options. Remember to log in to your child’s Google account so you can apply the changes to their browsing rather than your own. Creating a child account within the Family Link app will by default disable the use of the incognito browser mode and access to the Google Play or Chrome Store. Additional protection needs to be turned on manually.

Internet Explorer

Every Windows laptop (apart from the latest Windows 10 devices) has this browser already pre-installed so it’s likely a go-to browser for your child. Luckily, it also comes with a set of built-in security features that are very easy to switch on.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is the latest internet browser from Microsoft, replacing Internet Explorer as the company’s main default browser. Microsoft Edge comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 devices and is a completely separate app. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t yet added any parental restrictions directly within the browser. If Edge is your child’s default browser, apply all possible restrictions on their device instead.


Safari automatically comes with certain built-in restrictions you can turn on for your child. These can be applied to any version of the browser — whether your child uses an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can even completely disable Safari and stop your children from browsing the internet.

Why You Should Consider Applying Parental Controls on All Platforms and Devices

The digital world offers just as many dangers as benefits. According to a 2017 study by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, as many as 70% of children accidentally view pornographic or violent content while researching ideas for homework. Gruesome images and videos, explicit content, and downright terrifying sites are only some of the threats waiting for underage browsers. While you may think the household rules will protect them, children as young as 6 have proven to intentionally break the rules. According to a 2018 research paper from SSRN Electronic Journal 30% of children deliberately look for explicit content out of curiosity. Out of the children who browsed freely online, 82% admitted to having a negative experience, such as inappropriate contact with a stranger, viewing highly explicit content, or downloading a virus. While you may think your kids are responsible enough to be independent, it’s clear that it’s impossible to prevent them from inappropriate browsing without appropriate protection. Teens are even more likely to break the family rules about internet use. A study carried out by Ofcom states that many teenagers are fully aware their parents wouldn’t approve of the content they browse online. Even if you think you can trust your teen, 70% know exactly how to hide their online habits from snooping parents, making it impossible for you to monitor it. Therefore, it’s not surprising that only 15% of parents actually know what their adolescent children post on social media. However, despite not knowing what their kids are up to online, only around 30% of households reported having parental controls set. Applying even the most basic parental controls is essential for protecting your children from harm, whether intentional or not.

The Most Common Features of Parental Restrictions (And Why You Should Implement Them All)

Nowadays, almost all apps and devices come with built-in parental controls. Depending on the platform and device, the options for restrictions often include: Each feature can protect young online users from different types of harm. Filtering content and disabling online sharing protects your children from online sexual predators and bullies as well as content that isn’t appropriate for their age. Applying time restrictions ensures teens don’t spend hours scrolling through social media instead of prioritizing their homework and other responsibilities. Certain controls will also allow you to prevent accidental online purchases and block access to chat rooms. Finally, you can choose from various tracking settings to know exactly where your children are — as long as they have their phone on them.

Are Parental Controls Actually Effective?

Despite their advantages and protective features, parental controls are never 100% effective. Their capabilities are remarkable, but sometimes inappropriate content is created specifically to bypass all online restrictions. This is particularly insidious on YouTube where creators can use certain child-friendly tags under incredibly frightening or explicit videos. The latest such incidents include the Momo Challenge that encouraged children to harm themselves, or fake Peppa Pig episodes which display graphic and explicit scenes. Experts argue that although the majority of parental controls are able to enforce restrictions and prevent certain behaviors, they don’t create positive changes your child can learn from. That’s because it can be difficult to find a balance between what’s right and wrong when applying controls. Overprotection may cause more long-term harm to your children than most dangerous content on the internet. In many cases, it could even impact their decision-making skills or encourage them to rebel against existing rules. Even though parental controls aren’t perfect, you shouldn’t disregard the importance of applying them to protect your kids online. A total lack of boundaries can put children in direct danger of radicalization or sextortion. Combined with effective parenting and open conversations, digital restrictions are an extremely powerful tool that can shield your children online.

Expert-Approved Guide to Applying Digital Restrictions

It can be tricky to enforce parental controls, especially if you didn’t implement them as soon as your child began using online platforms. That’s because, as children get older, they tend to rebel against any restrictions that inhibit their freedom. Experts advise following these 4 easy steps to apply parenting controls easily and effectively.

Step 1: Decide Which Platforms and Devices to Secure

Write down a list with your choices as well as short clarifications of why applying restrictions will benefit your young family members. Depending on their age, your children may try to talk you out of applying parental controls. Creating this list will help you to explain your reasoning to them a lot better.

Step 2: Have a Conversation With Your Child

Explain why parental controls are important and be open about the dangers that could be lurking online. Even if your kids are too young to fully understand what’s going on, they should know these restrictions are there to protect them from extremely harmful content. It’s likely that your children will want to voice their opinions — if possible, see if you can reach a compromise. This will show your kids that they’re important in the decision-making process and that their point of view is valued.

Step 3: Implement Your Chosen Parental Controls

You can apply as many or as few as you’d like, depending on what you and your children agreed on. As teenagers are more likely to disobey the rules as they grow up, consider enabling regular monitoring settings to know if they’re following your guidelines.

Step 4: Regularly Review the Applied Parental Controls

Research shows that children who are involved in discussing and planning house rules are less likely to rebel against them in the future. That’s why it could be highly beneficial for you and your child to schedule regular talks about parental controls and why they have to be implemented. Creating this safe space for open conversations with your child will also allow them to share details about their online experiences.

Tips for Safe Internet Browsing for Each Developmental Stage

Depending on your child’s age, there are different precautions you can take to create a safe online space for your child.

First Digital Steps: 2-4 Years Old

As your child begins his or her digital journey, it’s crucial to never let them do it on their own. Whether they choose to watch videos on YouTube Kids or play games on your phone, parental supervision will ensure they don’t accidentally click on inappropriate hyperlinks or ads. Children at such a young age are especially at risk of being frightened by various content displayed online. That’s why it might be beneficial to restrict any access to the internet at this point. Instead, find various offline games and apps to teach your child how to use technology. If you decide to allow your child access to the internet, always ensure the right parental controls are enabled. It’s also a good idea to build a whitelist with chosen sites and apps your child can access while blocking anything else.

Learning the Basics: 5-8 Years Old

At some point, you should also introduce a set of digital rules for your child to follow when they’re online. These should include not talking to strangers online or entering any personal details. Additionally, you could even come up with an online nickname for your kid to use. Finally, create a safe space for your children to tell you when they access anything inappropriate or frightening online.

Becoming More Independent: 9-12 years old

This is the time when your child will likely express his or her interest in joining social media apps. While many of those platforms won’t allow anyone younger than 13 to make an account, tweens are very likely to enter a fake birthday so that they can keep up with their peers. This is also the time when your child might express the need for more privacy and won’t want you to monitor their online activity. If that’s the case, try to place digital devices such as family computers and tablets in communal areas so you can still keep an eye on what your child does online. Place time limits on how long your child can use digital devices for. At this age, they’re likely to need it for schoolwork and hobbies, but very often tweens stray from their responsibilities to interact with their friends online or play games. Setting time limits on certain apps or devices in general will make sure they aren’t able to waste their time on something they shouldn’t be doing. Begin constructive conversations about what ethical online behavior is. Your child should understand that the online space isn’t to be used for bullying or spreading gossip. The older they get, the more aware they should be about what could happen to them or others with just one click of a button. The devices your child uses should still have parental controls in place. Protect them with various PIN codes if possible as your child may want to bypass the restrictions or turn them off themselves. Consider doing sporadic spot checks to view the browsing history and what apps have been used. You may want to install specific monitoring apps to stay up-to-date with what your child does online.

Walking Into Adulthood: 13-17 year olds

It’s not a secret that teenagers are a lot more difficult to keep safe online. However, they are also more aware of what could happen online, whether that’s from their own experiences or someone else’s. It’s important to talk to them about their online activity just as you would about their offline lives. Take interest in their hobbies and get to know their friends. If you had any internet rules before, try to reevaluate them together or create completely new ones. Set reasonable expectations and don’t be alarmed with their interests — as teens mature physically and emotionally, they’ll be more interested in sexual exploration. This is a normal part of growing up. However, it doesn’t mean you should allow free access to pornography sites. Always make sure you restrict access to overly explicit content through a set of available parental controls. You may need to carry out regular checks on their personal devices to make sure the restrictions haven’t been turned off. If possible, protect the settings by enabling PIN access only.

Protect Your Children From the Dangers of the Internet Today

As children are becoming increasingly interested in digital devices from a very young age, it’s crucial for parents to implement as many protective methods as possible. Parental controls are a great method of keeping your kids safe online, but they can never be fully effective. Without constructive and open conversations about how dangerous the internet can be, as well as active parenting, your children may feel overly restricted and rebel against the protective software. That’s why you should never rely solely on parental controls to keep your young ones safe. Instead, consider implementing digital upbringing alongside your chosen restrictions to teach your children about both the benefits and dangers of the internet.