Parental controls and monitoring internet usage

As part of a our partnership with Netsafe, Fostering Kids NZ is proud to present the second part in a series for caregivers who want to learn more about keeping children and young people safe online.

This month, we discuss parental controls and other ways to monitor your children’s activity online.

Watch Netsafe expert Sean Lyons discuss the issue here – or scroll down for a summary – and links to resources from Netsafe.


Sean says there is lots of software which helps monitor where are children go online – but he urges caregivers to first think about the broader question: “what SHOULD I be doing?”

He points out the only difference between monitoring and spying is the degree of trust and permission between the two parties. He says it is important to talk to young people about monitoring so they understand what controls are in place, and why they are there.


Sean says filters can be an important tool to manage online use – but he reminds caregivers they only prevent accidental access – if a child or young person is determined to explore an area blocked by filters at home – they may find ways around them – or another place to go online.

You can learn more about parental controls here.

Don’t underestimate your caregiving role

Sean says a huge factor in maintaining online safety is the level of trust the child or young person has in their caregivers. They need to be able to come to us – should things go wrong. Sean says the conversations adults have with young people around these issues are absolutely vital. He says it is important for us, as adults, to maintain a strong our connection is with the children and young people in our care – so they can turn to us for advice and support if they are having problems online.

Netsafe is an independent, not for profit New Zealand organisation focused on online safety. They’re committed to helping everyone in New Zealand take advantage of digital opportunities by providing education and support to manage and resolve online safety challenges. Whether you’re dealing with online bullying, a request that looks suspicious, or you just want advice for using the internet safely, they can help.

Netsafe’s free helpline

Open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm on weekends and public holidays. You can call them toll-free from anywhere in New Zealand on 0508 NETSAFE, or email  

The Netsafe website has information and advice about how to stay safe online.

Netsafe social media

Follow @NetsafeNZ on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the latest in online safety news, advice, information and tips. You can also sign up to their e-newsletter on their website.

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