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Internet Safety Tips

How To Set Up Parental Controls on All The Top Apps And Devices

Haley Zapal  |  March 07, 2021

Parental control guide illustrated by a blue Nintendo controller, Android phones, a Switch, the YouTube logo, and more

**This blog post was updated on March 27, 2024.**

With so many platforms and devices on the market, it’s hard for parents to make sure that their kids are using them safely. Every time a new one comes out, there’s a new set of parental controls that you have to track down. The process is confusing and time-consuming. That’s why Bark has put together this comprehensive guide on how to set up parental controls — covering everything from apps and games to phones and tablets — so you can help keep your kids safe online and in real life.

No more googling “How to restrict Netflix” or chasing down flimsy instruction manuals in junk drawers. This page allows busy parents to save time while feeling peace of mind knowing that their child’s devices and technologies are under control. Click the links below to jump to the categories that apply to you!

Android parental controls

Parental Control Guides for Android Devices

Android phones and devices are some of the best on the market, but kids can abuse them just like any other device. From games and in-app purchases to data usage and internet access, children are at risk of racking up a bill and encountering inappropriate content. Fortunately, Androids have parental controls at both the level of the device and the operating system. Parents can also manage their children’s accounts through the Family Link app. And don’t forget that Androids are great for monitoring!

web browser parental controls

Setting Up Parental Controls for Web Browsers

It goes without saying that the internet provides plenty of reasons to celebrate. But it also connects kids with content that may not be age-appropriate. Even worse is the fact that the internet hosts an array of messaging platforms where online predators lurk. That’s why it’s important for parents to secure their web browsers by following the instructions in the relevant parental control guide below

parental controls for cable providers

How To Set Up Parental Controls for Cable Providers

We may be living in the golden age of television, but not all programming is suited for young eyes — and that goes for movies as well. With so many channels available today, violence and adult content are easily accessible, even in the more basic cable packages. Setting the parental controls for your cable provider can keep your children from watching movies and TV shows that you’re not comfortable allowing them to see.

parental controls for email

Parental Controls for Email Providers

Email accounts are great for productivity and keeping up with friends, but they can also become platforms where inappropriate relationships begin, eventually leading to offline contact. It’s important for parents to know how to limit how their child communicates, as well as prevent them from receiving targeted ads, spam, and other undesirable messages.

parental controls for video games

Setting Up Parental Controls for Video Games and Gaming Systems

The jury may still be out on whether or not video games are bad for kids, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise discretion over what and how they play. The list below will show you how to set up parental controls for some of the most popular games on the scene. Not sure if one of these games is appropriate for your child? Our friends over at Common Sense Media will walk you through everything you need to know.

parental controls for internet

Parental Controls for Internet Providers

You may have already set up parental controls on your internet browser, but have you set them up with your service provider? You might be surprised by everything you can do. From device pausing and screen time limits to full activity reports, your control settings can help you manage the safety and security of your household as they navigate the online world. Click on the relevant parental control guide below!

parental controls for iPhone iPad

Parental Controls for iPhones/iPad/iPod

Apple devices have lots of ways for parents to control safety, privacy, and other types of settings. Similar to the Family Link app found on Android phones, Apple offers Family Sharing that affords parents the ability to manage their children’s accounts. Software updates roll out quickly though, and we always advise parents to install the latest version so they can keep up with all the new features.

parental controls for laptops computers

Parental Controls for Laptops and Computers

For all the concern about smartphones, it’s easy to forget that laptops and computers are also staples of a child’s technology collection. No matter the brand or operating system, there are all kinds of ways that kids can get themselves into trouble on these devices. Taking advantage of the available parental controls can help block access to inappropriate games and websites, secure the privacy settings, and more!

parental controls for smart home devices

Parental Controls for Smart Home Devices

Smart home devices are like tiny personal assistants always waiting in the wings to play our favorite music, tell us about the weather, and remind us of upcoming events. But for all their practical applications, there are plenty of ways that kids can use them inappropriately. From blocking access to explicit content to preventing kids from buying four pounds of cookies and a dollhouse, you’ll want to make sure to take a look at the parental control guide for your own device.

parental controls for social media

Parental Controls for Social Media and Apps

Social media platforms have taken the world by storm, and so too have stories of users having terrible experiences. Cyberbullies assail their victims around the clock, predators groom children in chatrooms, and nefarious corporations exploit personal information for financial and political gain. It’s important for parents to make sure that the safety and privacy of their children are protected through the available parental controls. Visit our friends at Common Sense Media and Protect Young Eyes to learn more about the apps your child is using.

parental controls for streaming services

Setting Up Parental Controls for Streaming Services

Setting parental controls on streaming services can go a long way toward keeping your kid from watching inappropriate movies and TV shows. These settings can allow parents to block certain programs by rating or category, check on the recent activity, and more. Some parents might not mind their child binge-watching Orange is the New Black, for example, but that might not be appropriate in other households.

parental controls for tablets

Parental Controls for Tablets

Tablets can have many of the same features and functionalities as phones and laptops, so it’s important for families to make sure that they’ve taken advantage of all of the available parental controls settings. From curfews and purchase restrictions to screen time limits and web filtering, these instructions will help you keep your kids safe on their tablets.

parental controls for wireless carriers

Parental Controls for Wireless Carriers

Wireless carriers have some pretty robust parental control settings that families can use to secure their kids’ devices. Many of the controls are similar to what you’ll find at the level of the device or operating system, but don’t sleep on the extras like location tracking, call/text limits, or even pausing the internet!

Safety Beyond This Parental Control Guide

This ultimate parental control guide can give your family amazing protection against all kinds of issues, but these settings are mostly preventative — there are still plenty of ways that kids can get into trouble that can’t be managed with the flip of a switch. Even when they’re not actively seeking it out, they can encounter a worrying amount of problematic content and communications. This is why content monitoring is another important tool for your digital parenting kit.

For ultimate peace of mind when it comes to your kid's tech, consider the Bark Phone which has parental controls built-in to the device. With AI-powered content monitoring and robust screen time features, it puts you back in the driver's seat of your child's online safety. Check out the Bark Phone for your kid today.

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls