Filters & Controls

Try to wait as long as you can, to let your child use a smartphone. Set it up from the very beginning with parental control filters, and apply the “loan rather than own” principle, so that you can manage and control it. A cell phone contract is an excellent way to agree the rules of use and consequences of misuse. Keep in touch and keep checking!


Make a Family Digital Alliance and agree how, when and where screens are used.


Use screen time apps and/or WiFi routers to help guide and develop your family’s good digital habits. ScreenTime (iOs) and Family Link (Android) are a good start, but installing parental control filters on both devices and WiFi are best.

There are several layers of parental controls for iPhone that you can use: 1)The parental controls on iPhone that are included as part of the operating system, and free to use. They are powerful, though not app-specific, and mostly for use in blocking or monitoring “global” content or device features, such as preventing all in-app purchases or setting time limits on usage; 2) Parental controls on iPhone apps, individual settings put in place by each app manufacturer to allow parents to control what kids can and cannot do in those apps; 3) Apps and software from third parties, specifically designed to provide more granular parental controls for iPhone. Check out our guide to iOS setings and recommended parental controls.

All users aged 13-15 (no one under 13 is supposed to use the app) automatically have the following features disabled: no direct messages; automatic private accounts; comments are limited to “Friends” or “No one”; No videos can be remixed or downloaded. For ages 16-17, the default video settings are “Friends” for remixing videos and downloads are defaulted to “off,” but users can changes these settings. TikTok also has a Parent Pairing feature that allows parents to “pair” their device with their child’s device in order to control privacy, searching, content, and more remotely from the parent device.

There are limited parental controls on devices included as part of the operating system, as well as both free and paid for apps and router based parental controls. Check out our guides to iOS and Android settings as well as our recommended parental controls.

There are only a few parental controls on Snapchat including adjusting privacy settings (who can contact them, view their story, see their location), blocking inappropriate content, and reporting a safety concern.

If you have a child under 13, YouTube Kids is the best choice, as it's specifically designed with younger people in mind. For over 13's you need to enable: 1)YouTube restricted mode in your web browser, which is mainly meant to limit content of an explicit nature and 2) enable YouTube safety mode on mobile devices. Check out our guide to YouTube settings.

When considering parental controls the following factors need to be kept in mind: What features does the parental control offer, and how granular or customized can you get? Is the company and software well-reviewed, effective, and trustworthy? How much does it cost, and how does that compare to similar offerings? Is it suitable for all devices and how many does it cover? Are these controls easy to bypass for tech-savvy kids, thus defeating their use? Check out our guides to iOS and Android settings as well as our recommended parental controls.

Parental controls can be set within your account accessed via a web browser. To choose the types of TV shows and movies your kids can watch, you can manage their profiles individually or create a profile with the Netflix Kids experience with titles just for kids. Parental controls cover: maturity ratings, blocking shows, locking profiles, turning autoplay on or off, or accessing viewing history.

There are two routes for you kid to the internet: via WiFi or mobile data. To manage your WiFi you can physically lock the router, set router-enforced time limits, or install a parental control device at WiFi level that will manage all devices connected to the WiFi. Alternatively, install parental controls on mobile devices, that enable you to set browsing restricitions to individual users. Screentime (iOS) and Google Family Link (Android) are a good start but are limited in their scope compared to other parental controls. Check out our guides to iOS and Android settings as well as our recommended parental controls.


Downloads related to this topic

  • Screen Time Guidelines

  • Digital Family Alliance Guideline

  • Digital Family Alliance Template

  • Cell Phone Contract

Join our newsletter