A single parental control
I have three children: my daughter is the eldest, presently at university in her second year. She has an iPhone 4s and a MacBook Pro. Each of my teenage boys has an iPad mini and a non-Apple phone. We share a family account for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, but have separate ones for the iTunes Store. I would like a single, simple way of regulating who has access to what on each device.
I’m a single mother with limited technical know-how, and I don’t have the time to administer a complicated network with different permissions for everything. Is there a device that I can plug into the network that will take care of all of this for me? Marie Bettencourt It depends on what you are trying to restrict. Let’s start with pornography. Most broadband providers have a filtering option that you can enable on their site. That will block virtually all adult content for free, but teenagers are resourceful creatures and there are lots of ways around this. They could turn on the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot feature on their phones, for example, and access porn on another device connected to it, unless you also enabled adult filtering with their mobile phone providers. Even then, there isn’t much you can do to restrict their internet access when they are using somebody else’s Wi-Fi away from home.
For streaming TV, both Amazon Prime and Netflix have a parental controls setting that lets you restrict the content that can be viewed, with a PIN code for times when you want to override the restriction. There’s just one PIN for each account, so you’ll have to make sure the older kids keep it secret. You can also use the PIN to prevent anyone renting or buying videos on Amazon Prime.
However, the short answer is that there isn’t really a single device or service that will give you complete control over your children. Mobile internet and Wi-Fi hotspots mean that just restricting your home router isn’t enough, and every service has its own parental controls to manage. My kids are about the same age as yours though, and I’ve found that a combination of sensible discussion, and having all the receipts come to my email address has been enough of a deterrent to keep them out of the worst trouble.
All video streaming services have their own parental controls to manage.