How a VPN may mess up your parental control settings – Augusta Free Press

How a VPN may mess up your parental control settings – Augusta Free Press

Published Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, 1:35 pm

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Here to learn about how VPNs can bypass parental controls? Then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a quick rundown on what they do, and how your child can use them to get past your restrictions. Stick around to learn about the dangers of free VPNs as well, especially since kids aren’t likely to pay for a decent, secure app.

What is a VPN and how do they work, exactly?

Short for Virtual Private Network, VPNs serve several main purposes:

  • Encrypt your network data, or garble it so it can’t be read by hackers, ISPs that collect and sell your browsing history, and more.
  • Mask your IP address, which reveals your real life location to websites, online services, and anyone else snooping on your connection.
  • Change your IP to one from a different country, so you can bypass online censorship, geo-blocks on platforms like YouTube or Netflix, and similar cases.

As you can see, VPNs are highly privacy-centric. Ironically, they would make a great way to secure your children’s online activity. That is, if it weren’t for what comes next.

How VPNs can mess with parental controls

Despite being amazing tools to keep you and your child’s data private, VPNs can also put a dent in your parental restrictions. And that’s due to their innate capability of bypassing censorship, such as firewall rules at home or at school.

The same goes for DNS-based parental controls that filter inappropriate websites. If you don’t know what DNS is, the term stands for Domain Name System. Basically, it’s the thing that translates domain names (e.g. youtube.com) into IP addresses readable by a computer, and vice-versa.

Certain DNS providers (such as OpenDNS) offer parental control options that block requests to websites not suited for children. On the other hand, VPNs tend to operate their own DNS servers, which would allow your kids to bypass such filters entirely.

Otherwise, remember that VPNs encrypt all your traffic, shielding it from prying eyes. Working with your ISP to monitor your child’s online activity, or using a similar service to accomplish the same thing? Then remember that your kids can easily cover their digital tracks with a VPN.

Free VPNs also come with another set of dangers

We’ve mentioned this at the start, but children are unlikely to pay for a subscription to a decent provider. Well, unless they have access to your credit card somehow. In any case, that means they’ll likely go for the myriad of free VPNs out there.

And if you weren’t already aware, free VPNs aren’t exactly secure. How so? Well, they’re free for a reason: they sell your browsing and location data for a profit, much like your ISP would. Or, in this case, they collect your child’s data.

In one extreme case, seven Hong Kong-based VPNs leaked 21 million of their users’ data online. Worse yet, these VPNs were supposedly “no-logs” providers, meaning they weren’t supposed to log any of that info in the first place.

Other than that, a large portion of free VPNs are riddled with either malware or serious privacy flaws. Many free VPNs may inject ads into your browser to offset operational costs. You never know what kinds of trackers are built into the ads themselves, or whether your child will see an inappropriate ad.

Mind you, this goes for apps on both the Google Play Store and the App Store. While Apple is generally better at handling suspicious apps, they’re still not 100% in the clear. All in all, parents should be wary of any free VPNs on their child’s devices, and not just because they could help them sneak around pesky parental controls.

Story by Nitin Maheta

Source: https://augustafreepress.com/how-a-vpn-may-mess-up-your-parental-control-settings/