A VPN has the ability to bypass certain parental control settings related to website filtering and content blocking, but only if those restrictions are set on the router level. This is because a VPN directs your traffic through an encrypted server, providing you with a new IP address and rendering your online activities indecipherable to third parties, such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and potential hackers.
Despite its limitations in bypassing certain parental control settings, using a VPN is still advantageous for safeguarding your child’s online security. It blocks dangerous websites and malicious advertisements, conceals your child’s location from website trackers, and provides extra protection against hackers on public Wi-Fi networks.
For more information on the extent to which a VPN can bypass parental controls and why it is still worth using, continue reading.
What are the most commonly used parental controls and how do they operate?
There are several methods that parents can use to regulate their children’s behavior, such as controlling the entire wifi network, using an application, or focusing on a specific device, such as a phone or computer. The primary parental control tools are:
- Web filtering: This enables parents to specify websites or words that should be blocked from their children’s access. The purpose of this is to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate or adult content.
- Activity Monitoring: This entails using monitoring software to keep track of your child’s online activities without limiting access to specific content or websites. This enables you to be aware of your child’s browsing patterns and determine whether any limitations are required.
- Screen Time Limits: These tools allow you to set a specific time frame when and for how long your children can access the Internet. This is beneficial in preventing your family members from becoming addicted to social media or spending too much time on unproductive activities.
What are the methods by which children can bypass parental controls?
Here are some of the reasons why your child might still be able to access the internet unrestricted and how you can prevent it:
|It is possible that you have not implemented security measures on every device that the child can access and that is connected to the internet.||Ensure that parental controls are enabled on all devices that can be accessed by the child.|
|Your child was able to figure out your password.||Make sure to generate strong and complex passwords for all your accounts, and using a password manager can make this process simpler.|
|Your child gained unauthorized access to your home router.||The default passwords for routers are easily accessible through search engines, so it’s important to change it to a more secure one.|
|Either you or your child has installed a VPN.||VPNs can be used to evade website blocking and filtering, but only if the restriction is set on the router rather than a parental control app. If this is the case, deleting the VPN service and restricting app installation should solve the issue. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that VPNs can also protect your children from harmful ads and websites, as well as enhancing their online privacy.|
|Either you or your child is utilizing a proxy server.||Proxies alter your IP address, allowing children to access blocked websites. However, unlike VPNs, proxies do not provide security or privacy to your children.|
How can VPNs help to improve child safety online?
Despite the potential for VPNs to bypass some parental controls, they can also be highly effective tools for enhancing your child’s online security. Here are some ways in which a VPN can benefit your child:
- Blocks harmful content: In addition to traditional parental controls, a VPN can also block harmful websites and ads that may contain malware or other dangerous content.
- Protects your child’s location: By changing your IP address, a VPN can prevent websites and apps from tracking your child’s location and online activities.
- Provides public wifi protection: If your child uses personal devices on public wifi networks, such as those found in cafes or libraries, a VPN can help protect them from potential snoopers or cyber attacks.
Which parental controls can’t be bypassed with a VPN?
Not all parental controls can be bypassed by using a VPN. VPNs can only bypass website and content blocks set on a router. If you’re using a parental control service such as Norton Antivirus, a VPN won’t be able to bypass the website filters either. However, a VPN can still be useful for protecting your child’s privacy online.
Here are some parental controls that cannot be bypassed by a VPN:
- App installation restrictions: VPNs cannot affect account settings, so they cannot bypass app installation restrictions set by parents.
- Geofencing: Geofencing works through GPS or radio frequency identification and cannot be bypassed through a VPN.
- Time tracking: Screen time is based on account settings and is not affected by VPNs. VPNs cannot bypass background device processes.
- Social media tracking: Service-based parental controls such as social media tracking cannot be bypassed by VPNs. However, VPNs can protect your child’s social media activities from hackers and snoopers on public wifi networks.
- Email logging: Like social media tracking, email logging is a service-based parental control method that cannot be bypassed by VPNs.
- Call and message (SMS) tracking: Standard calls and messages are transmitted through radio waves and are not affected by VPNs. However, VPNs can protect your child’s online communication methods from hackers and your internet service provider.
No, a VPN is not powerful enough to bypass all parental controls. It can only bypass website and content blocks when the controls are set on the router. However, it cannot bypass app installation restrictions, geofencing, time tracking, social media tracking, email logging, or call and message tracking. These parental controls are based on service settings and not affected by VPNs.
A VPN can be beneficial for child safety online by blocking harmful content, protecting your child’s location, and providing public wifi protection. It can also encrypt all personal information, making your child anonymous online.
Determining whether a VPN can bypass all parental controls is not a straightforward answer. Although a VPN can get around some website filters or limitations, that’s where its power stops. As a parent, you can still supervise your child’s SMS messages, social media activities, screen time, and other parental controls.
Moreover, a VPN not only overrides some parent-set website filters but also obstructs harmful and malicious online content. Additionally, it encrypts all personal information of your children, providing them anonymity online.
If you choose to enhance your child’s cybersecurity with a VPN, NordVPN is highly recommended. It utilizes an uncrackable encryption cipher and features threat protection, shielding your child against dangerous files, malicious websites, ads, and trackers.