Smart TVs are really just a Large Smartphone
When I speak to parents, I ask them to take inventory of all of the ways their family members can access the Internet. This includes public places like McDonalds, church youth group, a friend’s home, and anywhere else. Each location warrants at least some energy regarding parental controls. Smart TVs are no exception.
How do I Protect a Smart TV?
Basic questions to ask during purchase. If you’re in the market, then you should ask these questions before purchasing:
- What parental controls are available on this smart TV?
- Can I create user profiles for the TV to ensure I can set up a child account?
- Is it possible to disable the internet browser (and lock it out) on the smart TV to prevent my child from surfing the web?
- How can this TV be used to watch or download films and TV or listen to music? Can I restrict access to content based on age ratings?
Filter at the router level. The smart TV will connect to your home’s WiFi just like every one internet-ready device. Make sure you’ve set a clean DNS on the router, which we explain in our mega-popular blog post: How to Block Porn on Any Device. For Free (including wireless routers)
Understand parental controls on each brand of smart TV. Here’s a starer list:
- Samsung – https://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00082484/
- Vizio – https://support.vizio.com/s/article/Parental-Controls?language=en_US
- Sony – https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/articles/00135452
- LG – https://www.lg.com/global/sustainability/customer/child-safety-online
- Insignia – http://storage.bestbuy.com/usweb/html/4204504/user-manual/english/content/ns-40-48dr420na16/configure-parental-controls.htm
- TCL – https://support.tclusa.com/televisions-faqs/192584-what-are-the-parental-control-features-found-on-recent-tcl-television-models
Understand parental controls for each streaming service.
Depending on what apps you allow on the TV (e.g., Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc.), you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered parental controls at the app level. Examples include:
- Roku – we’ve written a detailed parent guide
- Netflix: How do I set parental controls on my Netflix account?
- Amazon: How do I set Amazon Video Parental Controls?
- Hulu: Does Hulu have parental controls?
- VUDU: Does VUDU have parental controls?
- Sling TV: How do I activate parental controls?
- HBO GO: How do I use parental controls with HBO GO?
- YouTube: you can force YouTube Restricted Mode (preferred) if you use the Family IP/filtering from CleanBrowsing on the router the smart TV is attached to.
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.