Children and young people can spend a significant amount of their time using devices and exploring the online world. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this – it’s a place for them to socialise, to play, and to learn. However, with Ofcom reporting that 9 in 10 children in the UK will own a mobile phone by age 11, the idea of using parental control apps has become much more appealing to parents and carers.
For some, using a parental control app will seem like a natural step to prevent their child from seeing or experiencing something harmful online, like wrapping them in digital cotton wool. They might even see parental control apps as a way to secretly enforce device usage rules and check they are being followed.
But is this the answer to online safety? Is it really that easy, or are there pitfalls to avoid? In this online safety guide, we’ve highlighted what these apps are and how they can be used, with an overview of some of the most popular apps currently on offer. We have also provided advice that parents and carers can use to create pathways to healthy online safety habits for children and young people.