Smart TVs are really just Large Smartphones!
Completely updated: February 4, 2022
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 thinking about all of the devices that can be accessed in all of the places your kids might spend time. And now that smart TVs are starting to acquire many attributes of the smartphones in all of our pockets, we need to consider the ways our kids might be exposed to inappropriate content.
How do I Protect a Smart TV?
We’ve come up with a series of questions to ask before and during the smart TV purchase and ownership processes.
#1: Are you willing to monitor your smart TV like you would a smartphone?
This is just a question to ensure you respect the risk your smart TV brings into your home. Along with the streaming services your family might love, like Disney+ and Netflix, it probably also includes Twitch (a streaming site for watching other people play video games), YouTube, HBO Max and all of the others.
#2 Is your home’s wireless network well-monitored?
Remember, your router is the most important digital device in your home! Everything connects to it, including your smart TV. Control problems at the source with solid monitoring over your home’s wireless network.
Does your router and anything related to WiFi totally confuse you? No worries! We’re created the Ultimate Guide to Understanding Routers, which has become an invaluable resource for thousands of formerly (lol) confused parents!
#3 Have you investigated device-level controls on the smart TV?
Here’s a starter list:
#4 Have you considered account-level controls in the apps on the smart TV?
Depending on what apps you allow on the TV, you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered parental controls for the accounts that log into apps on the smart TV. Examples include:
- Amazon (just scroll down a little here until you see it!
- Sling TV
- HBO Now (regular HBO)
- HBO Max (includes additional titles, e.g., Warner Brothers).
- YouTube: Make sure Restricted Mode is set at the router level. Your router is the most important digital device in your home!
- Twitch (now streams on smart TV’s, too!)
#5 Have you reminded your kids that you’re safe?
Don’t forget the all-important Digital Trust side of the smart TV. Reminding your kids, “Hey, this is still connected to the Internet. If you ever see anything that gives you that funny little feeling in your stomach, it’s no big deal – just let me know! I’m safe.”
You’ll notice that questions #2 (WiFi), #3 (Device), #4 (Apps), and #5 (Digital Trust), all fit within four of the five layers of digital protection that we promote at PYE (as shown in this Instagram post).
Now that you’ve mastered your smart TV, then it’s time for popcorn, soda, and time with family!
Now What? Have you Heard of Protect?
We built the Protect App at PYE because we knew that some parents are too busy for long blog posts and are overwhelmed with the idea of keeping their kids safe online. The mini-lessons and easy-to-read panels in Protect were built with busy, awesome, intentional parents like you in mind! Swipe through mini-lessons on Roku, Disney+, Netflix, mental health, pornography, and more! Download it for free today!
*There may be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!
Chris McKenna, Founder: A man with never ending energy when it comes to fighting for the safety and protection of children. Chris practices his internet safety tips on his four amazing children and is regularly featured on news, radio, and podcasts for his research. His 2019 US Senate Judiciary Committee testimony was the catalyst for draft legislation and on-going discussion that could radically change online child protection laws and earned PYE the NCOSE Dignity Defense Alert Award in 2020. The PYE team has performed over 1,300 presentations at schools, churches, and nonprofits and was featured in the Childhood 2.0 movie. When not leading PYE, Chris is the Digital Marketing Manager for Covenant Eyes. Other loves include running, spreadsheets, nature, and candy.