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Parental control software refers to a wide spectrum of software programs and resources for a wide variety of different devices and technologies. What all of these have in common is that they facilitate the control of one user, typically a parent, over the use and access of another user, typically a child.
One way to distinguish different types of parental control software is by recognizing which kinds of technologies they work with. One basic and early type of parental control software included channel blockers, content filters and other tools for cable television. Other types of parental controls offer control over a child’s activity on the Internet, where it’s possible for children to view a lot of material many parents find objectionable.
Another way to think about parental control software is in terms of the methodology these programs use. Some parental controls work through content filtering, where specific kinds of content are blocked. Others allow for better monitoring, while still other forms of parental control software may act not as filters, but as directors that guide a child’s activity toward specific educational or other goals. All of these kinds of tools help make a child’s use of technology productive and safe.