We all know how tempting it can be to get lost in a laptop. However, as parents, we also need to make sure that our kids are using their laptops responsibly.
Laptops have become an increasingly important part of the modern-day classroom and homework assignments, but with this increased use comes concern about the effect they may have on your child’s physical health and mental well-being.
This is largely due to the fact that they have access to technology at much earlier in their lives, and the internet has made it easy for them to find things that would never be shown on TV.
Kids laptops are a great tool for learning, but it can be difficult when young kids are never off-screen!
We can’t stop our kids from turning into a laptop-dependent society. But we have to monitor and regulate their usage or risk them becoming
How do schools track what kids do on their laptops?
When schools purchase laptops for their students, they will typically put a software program or activity monitor on the laptop and a web filter. This is often installed by default so that it can filter out certain websites and applications from being accessed.
Typically this includes any usage of social media or games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, League of Legends and so on.
However, in some schools where school administrators are worried about the amount of time students spend on their laptop computers, they may also install a program like “StayFocusd” to limit the number of hours per day kids can be on social media or playing video games.
School laptop computers typically have restrictions that block websites outside of approved domains. Students may be able to access those sites if they are using a VPN or proxy, which is why administrators will typically block these as well.
There’s also no point using incognito mode on a school laptop as you’ll still be tracked.
Monitoring what content students are accessing on the school’s WiFi is crucial, and you should be aware of the fact that any device connected to this network could potentially result in your child viewing content they shouldn’t.
The school’s routers, servers, and firewall are capable of monitoring the packet traffic of every attached device.
All the above applies to school-owned laptops. Applying security filters & limits on personally-owned laptop computers are at the discretion of the parent or guardians – which goes without saying they should be in place for minors.
However, if you connect to the schools’ wifi using your own laptop, you’ll usually have to agree to an acceptable use policy that will have wording which allows them to monitor your activity while connected.
How to limit how much my kids use their laptops?
In this part of the article, I will discuss how to protect your child’s safety on the internet by monitoring software like NetNanny that helps you track and limit online activity.
The first step in limiting the amount of time spent on laptops is to identify what activities you want them doing instead.
How can I monitor my kids using their laptop?
Monitoring kids laptop usage is an important way to watch for inappropriate content and cyberbullying. Parents need the ability to see what websites your child visits, how much time they spend on it, and when they’re online.
NetNanny (https://www.netnanny.com/) is a simple solution for parents concerned about their kids’ laptop usage. You can install it as an app or browser extension to monitor and limit their internet usage.
NetNanny allows you to plan what your child can or cannot do online and gives them a set amount of time per day that they are allowed on the computer. This is perfect for kids who need some limits but also want to be in control of how much they’re using the laptop at any given time.
Parents can limit the use of a laptop by implementing restrictions like time limits. For instance, if your child is only allowed to use their laptop for one hour per day during school days, you could set up an alarm that will go off at 11:00 am and 12:30 pm on weekdays (and other times as needed).
I noticed that one complaint about NetNanny was that the filtering for YouTube wasn’t very good especially Youtube searches. Below are some alternatives to NetNanny parental control software:
- Microsoft family safety – https://account.microsoft.com/family/about
- Google Family link – https://safety.google/intl/en_us/families/parental-supervision/
- Apple Screen time – https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT208982
How to limit use of laptops & set up parental controls on Windows devices
Parental controls are enabled in Windows by typing the term ‘family options’ into the search bar and clicking through to the appropriate settings under this category.
Create an account for your child, and turn on parental controls. Once you’re done, two features will be turned on by default: the ability to track their computer usage, and the ability to set screen time limits.
If you are wondering “I need to be able to tell how much data my kids are using on their laptops?” any of the paid or free recommendations below will enable you to set that up easily.
Setting up parental controls for Windows 10:
- Start > Settings > Accounts > Family & Other Users > Add a FamilyMember > Add a Child > enter email > Close.
Setting up parental controls for Windows 8
- Windows key + C > Change PC Settings > Accounts > Other Accounts > Add An Account.
Setting up parental controls for Windows 7:
- Start > enter Parental Controls in search > select child account > Enforce Current Settings > configure settings > Close.
Parental Control Software (Paid)
- Kapersky Safe Kids
- Qustodio Parental Control
- Screen Time
- ESET Parental Control for Android
- Norton LifeLock
Parental Control Software (Free)
- Google Family Link
- OpenDNS Family Shield
- Mspy (free trial)
- Qustodio (free trial)
- Screentime labs
- Bark (free trial)
- Norton (free trial)
- Safe Lagoon
How to stop kids from using internet on their laptop?
Laptops have become a hot commodity in the household and for kids, they may be one of their most prized possessions. Laptops are used to do homework, research on topics that interest them and it’s also how many teens communicate with friends. However, there is no doubt about it- laptops can be quite addicting!
As it’s your house it’s your rules so I would suggest to simply switch off the Wifi, or follow the time limit options above.
If this doesn’t work, you can use parental control software as explained above. You might need to buy a license for the year if your child is using it repeatedly without supervision. Google Family Link or OpenDNS (free) are both good options that don’t require downloading anything – just sign up and go!
You could also monitor internet use with an app like Qustodio or DQM (free). This is a bit more time-consuming but it does offer control over what sites your child can visit.
If you are on Windows, the tracking software called Parental Control will allow you to see everything they have been doing and prevent them from accessing some of their favourite sites based on criteria you input.
How do you protect kids from accessing bad stuff?
Many parents are concerned about what their kids might be doing on these devices. Some sensible things you can do to protect them and keep an eye on their activity include:
- Installing software like Qustodio or DQM (free) which will allow you to monitor internet use if they’re using a laptop with children’s content pre-installed, so that you know where your child is going online;
- Setting up Google Family Link or OpenDNS (both free) which is trol. The downside of this method is that it only works for laptops with web browsing capability;
- Buying a license for the year from Parental Control ($29/yr). This program allows parents to see everything their child is doing on their laptop.
How to spy on your kids activity on their laptop?
As a concerned parent or guardian you have every right to monitor your kids internet & laptop activities. Either of the software apps listed above will allow you to do this.
In summary, we’ve discussed protection and monitoring that schools put into place to protect kids on laptop computers. We’ve talked about parental control software that parents/guardians are able to use to keep track of their kids internet usage (which can be used on mobile phones, tablets, laptops & computers).
This is a new frontier for parents or guardians of children that have now entered (or will be entering) into adolescence. It’s important as it enables us to better understand what our children are doing on their laptops.
We hope after reading this blog you feel more equipped to set up & manage tracking and monitoring your kids laptop & internet activity, while accessing a number of options (both free and paid) for keeping your kids safe while using their laptops.
Please do contact us if you have any feeback or suggestions for this article!