Parental Controls: Keeping your kids safe online

29 February 2024


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The internet is like a vast playground for our children – a place of endless exploration, learning and fun. But just like any playground, it has its fair share of hazards. From unsolicited content popping up to the risk of interacting with strangers, the digital realm can present a multitude of dangers to young, impressionable minds.

As parents, it’s our job to ensure that our kids can enjoy the benefits of the internet, safely and securely. This is where parental controls come in. Tools designed to help mitigate these risks, they allow parents to monitor and restrict our children’s online activities and are essential in ensuring a safe and healthy online experience.

Let’s take a look at what parental controls are and how we can implement them.

What are some of the digital risks kids are exposed to?

With the rise of online learning, social media and gaming, children are more connected than ever, however, cyberbullying, the addictive nature of some platforms and other such issues are widespread. Understanding these dangers is the first step in safeguarding our children.

Here are a few risks children may encounter online:

  • Inappropriate content: the internet is rife with content that is not suitable for children, ranging from violent videos to adult websites
  • Cyberbullying: social media and gaming platforms can expose children to bullying by peers or strangers
  • Privacy risks: unsuspecting kids might share personal information online, risking their privacy and security
  • Predatory behaviour: the anonymity of the internet can lead to predators targeting children, posing a serious safety threat

Why are parental controls important?

Your ultimate toolkit for safeguarding your children’s online experience, parental controls are digital fences that help you monitor and manage what your child can see and do online. Think of them as a set of boundaries you can adjust as your child grows. But beyond addressing safety concerns, parental controls can also help you manage your child’s screen time, promoting a healthy balance between online activities and offline life. And knowing that you have measures in place can give you that much-needed peace of mind.

Two kids sitting on a sofa with devices

Parental controls for social media

Navigating the complex world of social media can be daunting for parents trying to protect their kids from online risks, however, there are ways to make this easier. Here are some tips:


  • Privacy settings and tools: access this section to control who can see your child’s posts and personal information
  • Review tags: adjust settings to review tags that friends add to your child’s posts before they appear on their timeline


  • Account privacy: make your child’s account private so only approved followers can see their posts
  • Activity status: turn off the activity status to prevent others from seeing when your child is online
  • Comment controls: manage who can comment on their posts and enable the manual filter to block comments containing specific words


  • Digital well-being: TikTok’s digital well-being hub has features including screen time management, restricted mode and family pairing, which allow parents to both set limits and monitor activity
  • Privacy settings: adjust these to control who can see your child’s videos, send them messages and comment on their posts


  • Restricted mode: by enabling this mode, you can filter out potentially mature content that you may not want your child to see
  • YouTube Kids: if your children are quite young, consider using YouTube Kids, which is specifically designed for them and features additional parental controls

Parental controls for gaming consoles

Gaming consoles are a central part of many children’s lives, offering both entertainment and social interaction. Having said that, managing what games they play, who they interact with and how long they play is crucial for their well-being. Below are some tips on how to use parental controls on some of the most popular gaming consoles:

Nintendo Switch

  • Set up a child account: use the Nintendo Switch parental controls app to create a child account and monitor activity
  • Restrict content: control the types of games your child can access based on their age rating

PlayStation 4 & 5

  • Family management: create a family on your PlayStation network and add your child as a family member to control their access and settings
  • Playtime controls: set limits on how long your child can play each day
  • Purchase controls: require a password for making purchases in the PlayStation Store to prevent unauthorized transactions
  • Content restrictions: adjust the age level for games, restrict the use of the internet browser and manage access to PlayStation VR

Xbox One & Xbox Series X/S

  • Create a child account: add your child to your family account to customize their access and privacy settings
  • Screen time management: set limits on how many hours your child can play on weekdays and weekends
  • Content restrictions: use the “Ask to Buy” feature to approve any purchases and set content restrictions based on the age rating of games and apps
  • Privacy and online safety: customize who can communicate with your child, limit multiplayer games and control the visibility of your child’s profile

Two kids sitting holding a tablet

Additional tips and tricks

Start the conversation

Educate your children about the dangers of the internet and the importance of staying safe online.

Use built-in device features

Most devices come with built-in parental controls that can be customized to suit your child’s age and maturity level. Familiarize yourself with the parental controls available on your child’s devices and make sure you activate them.

Set up safe search

Enable safe search options on search engines and content platforms like social media and apps to filter out inappropriate content.

Review app downloads, games and social media

Before allowing your child to download new apps or games, check that they are age-appropriate and when it comes to social media, keep an eye on their accounts.

Keep personal information private

Teach your children the importance of privacy and the dangers of sharing personal information online.

Create unique user profiles

Set up separate user profiles for each child, tailored to their age and what’s appropriate for them to access online.

Craft a family media plan

Establish rules about internet use, including what is okay to share online and when to come to you when something is amiss.

Protect your children from online threats with Secure Net

Designed to provide increased safety and protection whether on your home internet connection or your mobile data, Secure Net automatically identifies and blocks fraudulent websites, phishing and malware attempts, as well as viruses. At the same time, through parental controls, you can block access to websites that may contain unsuitable content for their children. In fact, over the past six months, Secure Net has blocked over 32 million malicious websites, phishing attacks, malware infections, viruses and other type of similar threats, while over 49 million inappropriate, unsuitable and harmful content was blocked from reaching children through.

Secure Net can be added to your existing internet connection or your pay monthly mobile plan for just €0.99/month and as an added bonus, we’ll give you the first 3 months for free.

Find out more about Secure Net and how it can protect you.

Setting up parental controls might seem daunting, but it’s simpler than it appears. By implementing these strategies, parents can create a safer online environment for their children, protecting them from potential harm while allowing them to reap the benefits of the digital world.

Looking for more tips and tricks on keeping your kids safe online? Read through Damaris and Melissa Gatt’s tips and here as some dos and don’ts when it comes to smartphones and kids. Have a look at this guide on how to keep your personal data safe and discover all about phishing, malware and viruses and how to avoid them.