How to Use Parental Control Settings Effectively

This new "GMA" series looks at challenges and solutions when it comes to kids and technology, and parenting expert Ericka Souter weighs in on when you should have the "tech talk" with your kids.
5:41 | 11/14/16

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Transcript for How to Use Parental Control Settings Effectively
Are you ready for this? We're going to be back with our focus group of children. They're helping us with the series, "Cracking the kid code." And we're looking at different challenges families face in finding solutions that could work for everyone. Today, software that claims to block inappropriate content for kids. T.J. Homes put them to the test. I like how you say claims. That's important. Good morning to you all. Well, of course, these parental controls. Parents put them this place to ploblg things like porn, violence, and up appropriate content. A lot of the kids are smarter than the parents when it comes to the computers. We got a group of kids together. Parents, you need to watch this. Just came out. Reporter: We're about to give these 9 to 13-year-olds challenge. Who is better at technology in your house? The kids or the parents? The kids. The kids. The kids. Reporter: Oh, come on. Our generation always grew up having the devices. Reporter: These self-proclaimed experts laugh at strategies their paints put in place to block them from some online don't. You all have ways of figuring out your parents' pass words. Definitely. When I figure out my parents phone pass words, I put my thumbprint on it. On my Mac, I have parental controls. I sometimes take it off. Reporter: How are you able to do it? Rnlgt it's a Netflix pasds word. Reporter: To you, paren that controls -- Aren't really parental controls. Reporter: What these kids don't know, we have teamed up with M.I.T. Professor Eric clop Ford. Kids and the blocking programs. Qustodio and net nanny, which costs 40 bucks. Try to get to the Robo fun website. Reporter: The kids get half an hour to get to the website we have blocked. It's blocked now. Reporter: First up, qustodio. One girl finds something called a proxy site which allows you to bypass filters like parental controls. There we go. Reporter: Word spreads like wild fair. They get through the software to reach our blocked site. Thank you, too. Reporter: This doesn't surprise our expert. We can asim if there is a parental control on one computer, if another kid down the street figures it out, your kid will find out. And all their friends will, as well. Reporter: Our second program net nanny stumps the kids. How to bypass net nanny. Reporter: Little doubt that if they had more time, they would have figured it out. I think they would have. Some were on the right web page. Reporter: What about the ability of the programs to block inappropriate content. We went to the site of a violent game popular with teens. Teresa confirms our results. The way the software products work is they will block the things they know the block based on the settings you gave them. They're always going to be in catchup mode. Reporter: Qustodio said they made changes thanks to our study. They said if accessed through proxy sites, our advanced technology will block attempts. And net thanty told us, it's unique technology doesn't block a website based on its url. It analyzes the content on every final determine if it meets the criteria set by the parents. As for the kids' parents, they were not surprised. I think most of the kids today have a lot of flexibility and nimbleness related to technology. They know when they hit a barrier to go around it. Reporter: Some parents say the downside of the parental controls is that block too much content. The kid has to keep coming and saying, take off the password. It keeps the kid from making a mistake at home. They make the mistake possibly down the street. One other thing here, robin. Some kids say, parents, be more kre kative with the passwords. It's the dog's name. It's grandma's birthday. Challenge your kids a bit. Thank you, T.J. We're joined by Ericka souter, the editor of mom.me. Most important tool? It's not high-tech. Not an app. Not in the latest parenting book. It's good old-fashioned conversations with your kid. Frequent conversations. We prep for the sex talk. Plan for it. The same needs to be said of the tech talk with your kids. They need to know expectations. How to be good people, good citizens online. They need know that there are things that they can do that are wrong. This is not -- these apps are great. It's not a set it and forget it. Nothing replaces good parenting. If you're a teen, it's not too late. It's about setting expectations. Day need to know that you care and you're monitoring what they're doing. I remember my parents, they were not just concerned with their children. But our friends as well. Is that good advice? Absolutely. It does take a village to keep our kids safe online. You need to Mon nor what your kid is doing, what their friends are doing. Their behaviors influence each other. We're just getting started. This was a real eye opener. We have more of the cracking the kid code this week. With whether you should secretly monitor your child's cell phone. Coming up next, ginger taking us behind the scenes with

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