Behind the Screen: The Unexpected Turns in Protecting Our Kids Online
May 16 2024

Whoa! The journey I embarked on for this article was nothing short of a wild rollercoaster ride. Discovering straightforward and easy solutions to ensure our children's online safety was not as simple as I initially presumed.

Many parents are unaware of the lurking dangers present on the internet, within each app, and on every device. In my search for the ultimate online security measures, I watched documentaries, listened to podcasts, spoke to online security professionals and followed conversations on social media.

There are so many social media posts where parents share stories of their children bypassing parental controls. These kids are finding ways to exploit operating systems, circumvent installed parental control software, and they even manipulate time zones to get more screentime. They're adept at completely manipulating the very system designed to protect them from online dangers.

The reality is that our digital superheroes are indeed superheroes, but not in the way we were hoping for.


However, I remain hopeful that with perseverance and diligence, we can overcome many of these challenges and ensure our children's safety online.

It starts with having the basics in place: PARENTAL CONTROLS!

Before choosing parental control software, consider your specific requirements, such as the devices you need to monitor, the features you need, and any privacy concerns you may have. It's also essential to review user reviews and ratings to ensure the software meets your expectations and works reliably on the devices you use.

  1. Here are some key aspects of Family Link (FREE):
    1. Screen Time Management
    2. App Monitoring and Blocking
    3. Content Filtering
    4. Remote Device Locking and Unlocking
    5. Location Tracking
    6. Activity Reports
    7. Google Account Management for children under the age of 13
  2. Here are some key aspects of Qustodio:
    1. Qustodio for Android, iphone and iPad, Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Kindle
    2. For smartphones and tablets running Android 7.0 and up
    3. Web filtering & activity alerts
    4. Games & apps blocking + time limits
    5. Limit social media use
    6. Daily time limits & restricted times
    7. Pause the internet
    8. Additional parent
    9. YouTube monitoring (not available for Kindle)
    10. Calls & SMS monitoring (only available for phones and tablets)
    11. Location monitoring (only available for phones and tablets)
  3. Here are some key aspects of Kaspersky Safe Kids:
    1. Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS
    2. Online content filter
    3. Safe Search for YouTube
    4. Apps use control
    5. Screen time management
    6. Screen time scheduling
    7. GPS locator
  4. Screen Time App (FREE VERSION, the paid version has more options):
    1. App Usage
    2. Daily Reports
    3. Web History (Android only)
    4. Social Media monitoring (Android only)
    5. See YouTube videos watched (Android only)
    6. 1 Device per child

Even though parental control apps are designed to assist parents and guardians to keep children safe, the most powerful pro-active protection we as parents and guardians can give our children, is knowledge of safe practices.

What can you as a parent or guardian do right now?

Educate yourself. Speak to other families. Share your horror stories. Join groups on Facebook. Install parental control software on your children’s devices. Physically monitor their WhatsApp chats, web browsing and social media apps (if you allow them to have these).

You can start your education by watching these documentaries, talk shows and even buying the book: The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness written by Jonathan David Haidt. Listen to Podcasts, Scrolling 2 Death is a really good start, enroll in online courses and read articles online.

If you're interested in delving deeper into this topic, you can find more detailed information below.


  1. The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness (Available on Amazon)

Documentaries and Talk Shows:

  1. Childhood 2.0 (YouTube)
  2. Social Dilemma (currently streaming on Netflix)
  3. "The Anxious Generation" Author: Social Media Is Spreading Mental Illness | Amanpour and Company (YouTube)
  4. The Anxious Generation Summary: The Phone-Based Childhood Is Destroying Our Kids' Mental Health (YouTube)

Listen to Podcasts:

  1. Scrolling to Death: They're coming for your kids next (with Laura Marquez-Garrett)

Attend courses on the issue:

Enroll in one or more courses offered by Greta Wiid (offered in Afrikaans) that covers pornography, bullying, social media and smart phones, growing up, peer pressure and relationships:

  1. Laerskool Kursus
  2. Hoërskool Kursus

Interesting articles to read:

  1. Lonely teens making friends with AI models.
  2. Eye-Opening Stats from Bark's 2023 Annual Report

To connect with other parents dealing with the same struggles, I urge you to join the Facebook Group: Parenting in a Tech World.

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