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Controlling Children Online

Most parents know how to help their children avoid harm online, by not only talking about online safety, but also setting parent controls. However, Ofcom found that 5% of children can overcome parental controls. Only 40% of parents knew that 13 years was the correct minimum age for using most social media. Are you up on the parental controls? 

Parental Controls

Ignorance of the law is no defence 

Although the correct minimum age for having a social media profile is 13 years, the majority of children under 13 had their own profile on at least one social media app or site. Shockingly a third of parents of 5-7s said their child had a profile, and nearly two-thirds said their 8-11s had a profile.

The Parental Controls? 

Use a combination of these:

  1. Internet provider: set up filters to block access to inappropriate content on any device that connects to the home WiFi.
  2. Mobile operator: filters are added on mobile contracts if the user is under the age of 18, but parents can double-check with their provider.
  3. Devices: all have parental control settings to restrict spending in apps, reduce screentime etc.
  4. Online Services: well-known sites will have parental control settings to help restrict access to inappropriate content.

Next steps

  • Agree the boundaries as a family. The filtering options will change over time, as children get older.
  • Check the settings regularly, as children may learn how to disable or bypass the controls.
  • Chat to children about their online activities, as no controls are 100% effective. Kids need age-appropriate control strategies, such as being compromised at a friend’s house.
  • Know the limitations, as WiFi controls will not work if the child is using 4G at home. Educate children about the risks online and establish rules concerning the sites to visit.

Best to have open conversations to create a safer environment at home. This not only benefits the children, but also the parents. Parents with children or young teenagers should set the online controls using filtering options, age limits, blocks and locks (password or PIN). Ultimately, you’ll never fully know what the kids are watching online, but suitable controls provide a safe starting point.

ChildMax continues to ensure your salary and pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave, caring for a sick child. It starts from £49.50 or for easy budgeting an initial payment of £8.25 followed by 11 monthly payments of £3.75.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.


Date: 24 April 2022 by Max Robinson