How to keep your kids' devices secure

Two children on a laptop with parents in the background
(Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)

Thanks to the plethora of smart devices in homes these days, kids have never spent more of their time online than now. While having easy access to the internet can be beneficial for children - it can help them research for their homework, keep in touch with friends and have a lot of fun - there are also aspects of the internet that you’ll want to protect your children from.

As well as unsuitable and offensive content, there are plenty of online scams and viruses that kids can fall victim to. If your kids’ devices are on the same network as your own, which is likely, then this can also put you at risk as well.

By using a combination of parental controls and online security tools, such as Bitdefender Total Security, you can make sure your children - and the rest of your family - are as safe and secure as possible. If you’d like even more protection, then check out Bitdefender Premium Security Plus, which comes with advanced device security, Digital Identity Protection, full secure VPN for total online privacy, and a feature-packed Password Manager.

There are also some important tips you should follow to make sure your kids - and their devices - are secure when online.

Amazon Kids Fire tablet

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Limit access to apps

Smartphones and tablets have access to thousands of apps and games, and while that makes them immensely useful - and fun - not every app or game is suitable for children.

With Bitdefender Total Security’s parental control tools, you can set what applications and programs can run on your children’s devices running Windows, macOS and Android. This can help prevent your kids from installing and running apps that you wouldn’t want them to.

Many apps and games need to be paid for, and even ‘free’ apps can come with hidden charges in the form of in-app purchases, and if your kids can purchase them, you may be in for a shock at the end of the month when your bank statement arrives!

So, you should make sure that if your kids accounts are allowed to access app stores, if they are also connected to a payment method, such as a parent’s credit card, any purchases have to be approved by a parent first via a password or biometric security. The device should have options to turn this on.

A woman using a laptop while reclining on a sofa, with a website login screen displayed on the laptop.

(Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)

2. Restrict websites 

The internet is a fantastic resource, but it is also home to very adult content that you won’t want your kids having access to.

Luckily, blocking websites is one of the easiest things to do, especially if you have a fully-featured parent control suite. With Bitdefender Total Security’s parental controls, you can manually block specific web addresses, ban certain categories of website and block or allow websites on a case-by-case basis, making the web a more enjoyable - and safer - experience for your children. 

A hand dialing a phone number on an iPhone.

(Image credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

3. Manage phone contacts

With everything modern smartphones can do, it can sometimes be easy to forget that they are primarily communication devices, and that means you’ll need to keep an eye on who can contact your children, especially if they are young. 

Thanks to Bitdefender Total Security, you can install parental controls on iOS and Android devices that allows you to keep track of your child’s phone contacts, allowing you to make sure they are only speaking to appropriate people. It can also help make sure they don’t rack up any huge phone bills either! 

Phone addicted users at dinner table

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. Keep screen time healthy 

Bitdefender Total Security allows you to check how much time your child uses a specific device for, giving you the ability to help them form healthy habits.

We all know that using devices with bright screens at night can disrupt sleep patterns, so making sure that the devices can’t be used in the run up to bed time can make a world of difference. By tracking the hours used, you can also make sure that your child isn’t using the device too much, and instead has a good balance between online and offline activities.

5. Use reports to keep you in the loop

While we all want our children to be safe when using the internet, we also don’t want to feel like we are snooping. Also, our lives are busy enough without us having to keep a constant eye on our children’s devices.

With Bitdefender Total Security’s parental controls, you can get an easy-to-digest report on your child’s online activity via email or through notifications in the parent dashboard, which is part of Bitdefender’s parental control suite.

These reports, which can be sent daily, weekly or monthly, will let you know if your kids tries to access blocked websites or apps, receives phone calls or texts from a blocked or unknown phone number, or tried to remove the Parental Control apps.

This allows you to make sure your kids and their devices are safe, without impinging on your time - and their privacy.

For even more protection, Bitdefender Premium Security Plus gives you and your family advanced protection, such as a powerful Password Manager, which makes it easy for your kids to create hard to crack passwords for their accounts.