Internet Safety For Kids: How Parents Can Manage Usage, Screen Time and More
29 January 2024


Internet Safety For Kids: How Parents Can Manage Usage, Screen Time and More

Discover the best apps for monitoring what your kids are up to on their devices.

Our children face risks online. While adults are vulnerable to phishing, smishing, and vishing attacks, children are exposed to different dangers. These include online predators, being bullied by their peers, and the potential of being exposed to inappropriate and even dangerous content. 

Another major danger is overexposure to screen time, which can affect a child’s mental wellbeing. Together, all these factors make it essential for parents to supervise and control their children’s online activities – at least until the age of 10.  

The mental health dangers of too much screentime 

In a recent episode of Tech Talk with Vodacom about the effect of modern tech on mental health, guest Dr Skye Scott explained why it’s important to control children’s access online. She acknowledged the difficulty with teens but stressed that it’s crucial to do this with younger children. Dr Scott recommended that children two years old or younger should not be exposed to mobile devices at all. 

Overuse of mobile devices can cause inattention, poor short-term memory, impulsivity, and learning difficulties, she said. Dr Scott also pointed out that children may also develop "fake highs" due to some of the content they’re being exposed to, resulting in them reacting inappropriately to real-world experiences.   

Some solutions 

There are two ways you can combat this problem:  

  • the old-school method where boundaries are set, and device times are controlled manually 

  • the tech option, using parental control apps that regulate everything from the apps and content children can access on their devices to how long they can spend on a device and at which times of the day. 

Here are some nifty tools you can use to control your child’s online usage without removing their devices. 

Google Family Link 

Google is a pioneer in online tools and online safety. The Google Family app is an easy-to-use tool for parents to manage their children’s devices remotely. 

The app allows parents to set screen time limits, control when the phone wakes and sleeps, determine which apps the child has access to, and monitor their location. If you’re using an Android device, the phone or tablet will instantly prompt you to download and set up the app once your child enters their email address and their age is confirmed. This does mean parents have to create their child’s own Gmail account and be honest about their birth year.  

Download it on Android and iOS 

Bark Parental Control 

Bark is available on computers and mobile devices running Android or iOS. This app allows parents to track their child’s location, monitor the content they consume, block websites, and manage their screen time. 

It also has an AI function that scans the child’s text messages, emails, and activity on over 30 social media apps and browsers. It will then notify parents if it picks up any bullying, sexting, signs of depression, and more. Bark also has a package that can be installed on smart TVs and gaming consoles. 

You can start a seven-day trial with Bark, and if you like it, continue using it for US$14 per month (±R265) or US$99 (±R870) annually. * 

*No local pricing is available, and approximate conversions are based on the exchange rate at the time of writing. 

Download it on Android and iOS 


Qustodio is available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Android, Kindle, and Chromebook. It allows parents to monitor their child’s device usage and notifies them if they try to access blocked content.  

Besides the regular features like controlling apps, screen time, and content, Qustodio also allows parents to track calls and texts. You can access and read your child’s messages, keep track of who they’re texting and calling, and create a list of blocked numbers for the phone. 

Qustodio has various package options that range from R669.99 to R1749.99. 

Download it on Android and iOS 

These are just some of the ways that brands are trying to keep kids safe online. Discover how Meta is also helping keep kids safe online and check out these Twitch streamers they can follow. For more ways to stay safe online and avoid being scammed, educate yourself about the dangers of digital fraud