Top 8 Ways Kids Can Bypass Parental Controls and How to Stop Them

image of young boy wearing headphones on a laptop computer and a title that reads how to bypass parental controls

If you’re a parent who relies on parental controls for monitoring internet access and screen time, then this article is for you.

Tech-savvy kids can hack and bypass parental controls with relative ease these days, and as parents, it’s crucial to know and be aware of these hacks in conjunction with a trusted parental control software solution.

Kids have multiple ways to bypass parental controls, here are the top eight:

  1. Delete and reinstall an app
  2. Factory reset the device
  3. Use a VPN service
  4. Bypass the family WiFi connection
  5. Use in-app browsers
  6. Changing device time zones
  7. Use a proxy website
  8. Bypass router control settings

In this article, we explore some of the most common ways and hacks of how kids can bypass parental controls software on an iPhone or Android phone, how they can bypass parental controls on WiFi, Windows, Apple Mac, and much more.

Kids can be sneaky and use multiple ways to hack and bypass parental controls.

8 Ways Kids Can Bypass Parental Controls

Below we explore the hacks kids use to bypass parental control software and how you as a parent can prevent your kids from exploiting these hacks going forward.

1. Delete And Reinstall An App

The hack: On an Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, If the screen time for a particular app has been reached kids can bypass and reset the parental screen time control by uninstalling and deleting the app from the device.

Once the app is deleted kids can visit the App Store and download a fresh new copy of the deleted app by simply tapping on the cloud icon. Doing so will reset the screen time of the app.

app store delete app
The Apple app store allows users to download already approved apps.

How to prevent the hack: Enable the ‘Require Password’, feature, below are the steps:

  1. First, tap on the Settings app.
  2. Next, tap on the device owner’s name.
  3. Next, tap on Media & Purchase.
  4. Last, tap on Password settings and choose the settings your require.

Check out this link for a full run down of how to enable Require Password across all of Apple’s devices.

2. Factory Reset The Device

The hack: While doing a factory reset may sound daunting to an adult for a tech-savvy kid, not so much. Kids are pretty familiar with the settings of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and they understand that a factory reset will remove all the data on the device.

However, your child could backup the device data to Apple iCloud or iTunes locally where they could retrieve the original device data and install it at a later point.

iCloud sign in
iCloud storage is built into every Apple device.

How to prevent the hack: Set your child’s Apple device and iCloud up to use a parent’s Apple ID instead of using their own Apple ID account.

3. Use A VPN Service

The hack:personal VPN service is a fantastic tool to enable privacy and keep you safe when surfing on the web. However, a point to note here is that a VPN can change your location and route internet traffic through an alternative server and therefore potentially bypass any parental controls within your home network.

Nord vpn on a smartphone
A VPN service makes it easy to hide your IP address from those looking for it.

How to prevent the hack: Set your child’s device up in a way that restricts app downloads and requires a password to complete any installs.

4. Bypass The Family WiFi Connection

The hack: Kids can use public WiFi as a simple but effective method of bypassing network-related parental controls at home. So for example, using public WiFi at a coffee shop, a neighbor’s unsecured WiFi, or even using a neighborhood WiFi hotspot like the one offered by Xfinity will all bypass the family home router.

And there is more. Alternative methods of bypassing the home router include using a device’s data plan to bypass WiFi, or set up the device as a hotspot, and sharing the connection to a laptop or computer.

free wifi image
Public WiFi allows you to access the Internet unmonitored for free.

How to prevent the hack: The prevention here is to monitor your kid’s data plan data usage and act accordingly. If you see an increase in data usage in the device data plan, then chances are your child may be using the data plan rather than the home WiFi connection.

If your child is using an unsecured WiFi connection, then there are steps you can take to remove or delete the WiFi name from the join network list. Alternatively, talk to your neighbor about adding a password to their WiFi.

5. Use In-App Browsers

The hack: You all might be familiar with browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari as the only way to surf the web, well this is no longer the case.

In an attempt to keep users within their apps, software companies have developed ways to display internet content directly within their apps using in-app browsers. Kids can exploit the in-app browsers within apps like Gmail and Facebook Messenger and surf the web without detection, and therefore successfully bypassing parental controls.

in app browser image
In-app browsers display internet content butkeep users within the app.

How to prevent the hack: Disable in-app browsing options within the apps and games that have this feature.

6. Changing Device Time Zones

The hack: Changing time zone settings on a device just before screen time runs out is another easy method for kids to extend their screen time usage.

iPhone time zones feature
Changing the time zone settings can bypass some less effective parental controls. 

How to prevent the hack: Ensure that options like ‘Don’t Allow Changes’ on Apple devices are enabled to prevent kids from making any system changes.

7. Use A Proxy Website

The hack: Proxy websites can bypass parental controls by routing the traffic through an alternative server, similar to what a VPN can do. Once your child has found a proxy website that hasn’t been blocked by your controls they are free to enter the URL of any website they want to visit and the proxy website server will be used to view the content.

proxy website
A proxy website works as an anonymous gateway to the internet.

How to prevent the hack: Parents should monitor bowser history for any proxy sites visited. Parental controls will block many of the proxy websites out there, however a new site pops up almost every day so ensure your block list is updated regularly.

8. Bypass Router Control Settings

The hack: Typically family WiFi is served from an off-the-shelf Internet Service Provider (ISP) type router. Simply Googling the router make and model will typically result in you finding the default IP address and admin password allowing kids to access any router controls that have been applied.

wifi router
Most homes use an off-the-shelf WiFi router where the admin password can easily be found online.

How to prevent the hack: Changing the default router password is a simple deterrent for this hack. Additionally, perform a check that no additional admin accounts have been created on the router. Lastly, it’s important to note that a simple factory reset on the router would reset the router back to the default login password. Perform a regular check that no factory reset has been done.

Frequently Asked Parental Controls Questions

Hopefully, I have answered all of your questions related to, how to bypass parental controls. However, you may still have other questions surrounding how tech-savvy kids can hack and bypass parental controls. So below I have answered some more common frequently asked questions.

How do kids bypass internet parental controls on an Android phone?

Bypassing internet parental controls on an Android is very similar to an Apple iPhone. They can back up all the data and save it to the cloud and perform a factory reset or they can install a free VPN.

How do kids bypass internet parental controls on a Kindle?

Bypassing internet parental controls on a Kindle can be done by Installing a free VPN service or finding and using a proxy website that hasn’t been blocked.

Can you install an alternative operating system on the same computer and bypass parental controls?

Yes, you can install multiple versions of an operating system onto a computer and bypass any parental controls at the operating system level.

Final Thoughts On How To Bypass Parental Controls

So there you have it. These are some of the most common ways and hacks of how your kids can bypass parental controls to get unrestricted access to the internet. Even with these hacks, it’s still prudent to use a parental control monitoring service where possible.

Looking for some additional reading? Check out our other article on internet safety for tweens and teens.

Stay Curious.
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