Plugged in Parenting: How to take advantage of parental control settings for kids, teens

Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno found out from Consumer Reports that the same companies that create addictive tech devices are now offering new ways to limit screen time, giving parents some much-needed control.

Limiting the amount of time we spend glued to our electronic devices can be hard for adults. And it’s especially tough for kids, who use them for school, fun, and everything in between. But as Consumer Reports explains, the same companies that create these addictive devices are offering new ways to limit screen time, giving parents even more control.

Take Microsoft Family Safety, which is built into Windows and is also available as an app for Xbox, Android, and iOS. Apple’s parental controls for iOS and Mac are located under Screen Time Settings. Both allow you to limit screen time and set content restrictions on your kids’ devices.

There’s also the Google Family Link app, which is available for Android and iOS. With Google Family Link and a Google account you set up for your kids, you can do things like monitor their app usage and see where they are.

The tools from Microsoft, Apple, and Google also allow you to put restrictions on the apps your kids have access to.

YouTube allows you to set up a “supervised experience” for children under 13 that determines the types of videos they can watch. A safer option for younger audiences is YouTube Kids.

Consumer Reports says it’s also important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of being online and encourage them to talk about anything disturbing they come across, whether it’s bullying in a video game chat or inappropriate content.