transition to secondary school

Youth Conference to make a powerful IMPACT in schools across the district

Dover Youth Conference 2022


Dover District Council (DDC) is taking the lead in talking with the district’s young people about drugs and alcohol, and their impact on mental health.

The Dover District Youth Conference 2022 is running as a roadshow in nine different secondary schools in Dover, Deal and Sandwich from 23-27 May.

Inviting year eight students, the conference will host an IMPACT workshop (‘I’m making positive action choices today’). The session will convey essential and positive messages concerning mental health, exploitation, gangs, and county lines, as well as teaching young people how to become personally resilient in making positive choices.

Three guest speakers Nick Evans, Anne Lamb and Paul McKenzie from Youth Unity CIC will share their own powerful stories of addiction, homelessness, relationships, and grooming. It will give students the opportunity to reflect on information from people who have had first-hand experience.

There will also be supporting entertainment from young and local talented artists: singer Rudie Edwards and singer/MC for the week, Robbie McKewan.

Students will have a chance to browse stalls from Kooth, Early Help, Kent Police, and DDC’s Community Development Team, full of information to take away on topics that have been covered by the keynote speakers, plus other safety materials. Trained counsellors will also be on hand along with the schools’ own pastoral care teams.

Nick Evans, recovering addict and community substance misuse worker, said: “As an addict who is now in recovery, my passion now is supporting others who are going through similar experiences, and empowering all young people to make informed choices. I aim to reduce the stigma around addiction and show that people can change and turn their lives around. Most importantly, I talk about the importance of wellbeing and offer coping strategies to anyone who may need that extra help.”

Anne Lamb, a mentor, trainer and counsellor for consultancy ‘Out of the Shadows’, talks about the pressures of parenting a child who is struggling with their mental health. She said: “If I can help young people make the right choices by talking about my own experience, then I know that my time spent has been absolutely worth it.”

James Hensman, Head of Service for Youth Unity, said: “Our aim is to build resilience in our young people, by empowering them with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves from exploitation. We show them how popular culture and social media has so much influence on our daily lives, and discuss the language being used in songs and by influencers. We ask them what they know already, and we build on the conversation.”

Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Ollie Richardson, said: “Our young people have experienced a lot of disruption and change over the last two years as a direct result of the pandemic. DDC is fully aware of the impact that this has had on their mental health and resilience. These workshops have been designed to raise awareness of drink and drugs, and to powerfully show how they can and should be avoided.”

Notes to editors:

The speakers

Nick Evans is in recovery, and he works in the community supporting others. He has experienced addiction, criminality and homelessness and speaks from the heart about his own journey.

Anne Lamb trained in Restorative Practice in early 2016 and supported Margate Police’s weekly Restorative Clinics for a number of years. She developed a Family Liaison role across the Thanet Pupil Referral Units and worked closely and proactively with some of the most challenging students and families. Within ‘Out of the Shadows’ she is delivering presentations and bespoke workshops to professionals and students encouraging a wider understanding and knowledge of the ‘less understood’ issues young people are facing.

Youth Unity CIC is a “not for profit” organisation established to provide effective help and support to vulnerable young people and adults affected by group violence (gangs), drugs and other forms of exploitation such as human trafficking, CSE and extremism. Their mission is to help Prevent | Prepare | Protect for a future that is founded on more available choices and better-informed decisions. A formula they believe can offer an individual a greater start in life.

Local singers

Rudie Edwards attended Astor secondary school before forging a successful music career abroad.

Robbie McEwan

Robbie works as a Teaching Assistant for Brockhill School and is well known locally for his busking talent. online mental wellbeing community – free, safe, and anonymous support honest information about drugs



An article taken from Fighting Knife Crime

Fighting Knife Crime: The Clinical Director for the London Violence Reduction Programme and Clinical Director for Violence Reduction NHSE gives an insight into the cause and effect of serious violence amongst young people


Martin Griffiths CBE, Consultant Trauma and Vascular Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Clinical Director for the London Violence Reduction Programme and Clinical Director for Violence Reduction NHSE, gives us an insight into the cause and effect of serious violence amongst young people.

A child arrives on a hospital ward with traumatic injuries inflicted during a knife fight with someone of his own age. He may be brought in on a stretcher, still wearing his school uniform. This is not a fanciful scenario in London, where I grew up and have spent most of my working life. Grouped by age, the greatest number of victims of knife wounds are 16-year olds. The second biggest cohort is 15-year olds.

What responsibility does the NHS have towards this injured child? First of all, of course his injuries must be treated so that he is restored to physical health, which the NHS does brilliantly. The traditional view of the NHS’s responsibilities was to say we are a recovery service for the injured and the ill, and that is it. We patch them up and send them home: the rest is up to the police and social care services.

But a curious person asks what will happen to the boy who is discharged from hospital and sent straight back into the environment where he sustained his injuries? We start at the wrong end, in the wrong place, after the child has been injured. We need to know, and more importantly understand the story that preceded that injury.

No one reading this will be surprised to know that the victims of knife wounds are almost all from poor families, and from groups often denied access to the mechanics of authority. We know many of these people face inequalities and challenges, such as drug addiction, obesity, mental health issues, poor school results and poor employment prospects.

We could talk about the small amount of organised crime, which dominates the headlines, which is a separate issue. Most of what is termed ‘gang culture’ is simply groups of disadvantaged youths banding together to assert themselves. For a young person growing up in an environment with high levels of violence, carrying a knife is a way of saying “I handle my own business. I’m not docile I will not be a victim. Nobody crosses me. If they do, I’m going to deal with it myself.” It’s a way of asserting significance, of taking power.

As a consultant trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, I came to the conclusion years ago that the NHS is brilliant at treating a person’s injuries but terrible at treating the injured person.

It’s an attitude that fails young patients and their families. It’s not socially responsible. It’s not even a money saver. The child who has been in one knife fight, who is sent straight back into the same environment, with nothing having changed in his life except that he has a new scar, is probably going to get involved in another fight. Next time, he may be the perpetrator rather than the victim. It’s very rarely an older person who has injured a teenager, and where that happens, there is usually some other driver involved, such as the drug trade. These injuries, in almost all cases, are inflicted by teenagers on teenagers. Treat one and send him home, and there will be another along soon.

To try to stop this churn, I set up the first wards-based violence reduction service in the Royal London Hospital in 2015 in which we recognise that a person’s injury is a marker of their life story. It’s not about criminality, it’s about understanding that person’s life. To start with, the patient is addressed by name and treated as a person with a back story. We’ve brought community police officers onto the ward, not to investigate a crime, but to make human contact with a teenager who is likely to think that the police are the enemy.

With funding from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction unit and charities, we introduced the patients to violence reduction specialists, people without medical background but with training as social workers or in related fields. They have the gifts of livedexperience, relatability and emotional intelligence that make them perfect for helping the victims of injury navigate this unfamiliar and scary landscape.

I believe Health and Care Services have a unique role in improving wellbeing and tackling inequalities for people impacted by serious violence. To make this a reality, the NHS London Violence Reduction Programme was set up in 2019 to support clinical teams and to work with experts and those with lived experience to co- create health and care approaches that work for communities.

And, in 2019, I had an email from Simon Stevens’ office, then the Chief Executive of the NHS, asking if I would take the programme nationwide. I was hugely uncertain. I’m a trauma surgeon: I am not professionally qualified as a public health expert, and questioned my credibility in this deeply emotive field. But in Leeds, Manchester, Middlesborough and in rural areas in the south west, many of the drivers are the same as they are in London, although the outputs of that societal failure appear different. More importantly, some of the solutions are applicable to the UK as a whole. So, I agreed, and was appointed the NHS’s first Clinical Director for Violence Reduction.

People question whether violence reduction is part of the business of the NHS. But the NHS is where the victims of that violence are treated. The NHS is the umbrella, not the rain. The question is how do we affect climate change?

Martin P Griffiths CBE

Behind the scenes of filming films or video products and the film crew of the film crew on the set in the pavilion of the film studio. Video Production Concept

Racing Media Academy

Start your career in racing media

The Racing Media Academy was devised after broadcaster and entrepreneur Josh Apiafi, identified a barrier to getting new diverse talent into the horse racing media.

Following an interview on Sky in January 2021, where Josh called for the sport to increase its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), the media has a strong roll to play in this. He was able to bring together racing’s leading media organisations to look at the feasibility of creating British racing’s first ever, free to attend, Media Academy.

Josh, along with his team of associates, worked hard to build the concept and gather support, funding the project personally, before applying for a grant from the Racing Foundation to help launch the project. In October 2021 funding was granted to create a ‘pilot’ for The Racing Media Academy; to be held at The British Racing School in April 2020.

The Racing Media Academy is part of the Non-Yard Based Career Pathway into horse racing; for those people who love the idea of working in racing but can’t necessarily, or don’t want to ride horses. The Racing Media Academy gives its students the opportunity for work experience and training within racing’s top media houses. An intensive week’s training has been designed at The British Racing School, where students will get an insight into the world of horse racing and learn about the different areas of the media. This means that those who don’t know very much about horse racing but have a passion for the media or those passionate about racing with no media experience could still apply.

The ambition is to increase diversity across racing’s media by creating a pathway for talent that is reflective of today’s society. The pilot has gained the support of several organisations that work with young people from a variety of different backgrounds. This was a strategic plan to help spread the message about the academy and open the opportunity up to everyone, no matter what background, religion, race, culture, sexuality or disability. These supporting organisations can all be found on our supporter’s page.

The Racing Media Academy is accessible to anyone over the age of 18 and is entirely free with a paid placement. Applications for the 2022 course are now closed.  We will reopen applications for the 2023 course towards the end of 2022.  Search ‘Racing Media Academy’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to get the latest updates.

Youth Unity spent the day at the British School of Racing, with the Media Training Academy and we was incredibly impressed at the opportunities available. 

Racing School

Harness Your Potential

With A Career In Horse Racing

Start a career in horse racing with program for young people from ages 16 to 22, check out their website for more information. Horse racing is all inclusive with pathways towards many opportunities, you would be surprised at how many different careers are in this wonderful world.

The British Racing School are keen to speak to young people, not sure what to say, then drop us a line and we will work with you to make the right introductions.

Remember, the opportunities are there you just need to follow them …
Apprenticeship Newspaper Headlines Work Skill Learning Programs 3d Illustration


Check out BIA

APPRENTICESHIP: It’s an important decision, and getting it right will kick-start your career. If you think an apprenticeship might be right for you, no matter what career path you want to follow, you need to do your research.


  • What is the apprenticeship and job role – does it fit what you’re looking for? 
  • Find out about the employer – is it the type of company you want to work for? 
  • Find out about the training provider, college, or university where you could be studying.  
  • What qualifications, subjects, and grades are they looking for? 
  • What essential and desirable skills and experience do they ask for, and what qualities are they are looking for in applicants? 
  • For you, what are the three most and least positive aspects of this apprenticeship or job opportunity? 


Interested in an apprenticeship but not sure what you want to do? Get to know the different industries offering apprenticeships, from marketing to architecture and business management to engineering.

Copy and paste the link in the table below to learn about the industry. 


Research the following: 

  • Their website – if they ask “Have you looked at our website?” in an interview, you want to answer “Yes.” Try to get a sense of who they are, and what their priorities are
  • Progression opportunities – what happens after your apprenticeship? Is there scope to progress? 
  • Apprentice scheme staff – if you can find out who runs the apprenticeship scheme, try and find out more about them. Consider even contacting them to get your questions answered
  • Former apprentices – see if you can find out what previous years apprentice graduates have gone on to do. Does that appeal to you?
  • Location – Does the job require you to work in different locations, or would you need to move away from home? 
Screenshot 2022-05-06 at 16.58.16

Stephen Lawrence Day 2022

Kickoff@3 are doing it again, using their brand to support great causes in the community.

Stephen’s story is both challenging and inspirational. He was a normal young person who made the most of everyday opportunities. Although his life was short, Stephen provides a positive role model of a life well lived.

Stephen Lawrence was born and grew up in south-east London, where he lived with his parents Neville and Doreen, his brother Stuart and sister Georgina.

Like most young people, he juggled an active social life, school work, family commitments, and part-time employment. But he also had ambitions to use his talent for maths, art, and design to become an architect, and wanted to have a positive impact on his community.

Tragically, his dream of becoming an architect was never realised. On 22 April 1993, at the age of just 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn’t know his killers and his killers didn’t know him.

After the initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, which has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.

It led to profound cultural changes in attitudes to racism, to the law and to police practice. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination of all forms and new equalities legislation.

About the song:

I was asked by michael at Kickoff@3 to participate in stephen lawrence day by making a song that would honour him (stephen lawrence) and bring light to the dark situation.

When Michael had asked me if I would like to make a song I didn’t have much knowledge on the tragic death at all, but I am never afraid to learn something new, so that’s what I did. I acquired knowledge and straight away got to making the beat and the lyrics in dedication to Stephen’s mother Doreen.

Sammy currently works part time in a barber shop located in St. Albans as an apprentice which he is really enjoying however music is his passion!

Instagram – Sammy7.7.7

Snapchat – samsonalexand3r

Twitter- sammy777___ (3 underscores)

Filming by Paul McKenzie, Youth Unity


Child Criminal Exploitation CCE

Article is written by Anthony Peltier

Cost of living increases will result in more young children being criminally exploited.

As we head into a 28% increase in gas prices and 19% increase in electricity prices, low-income households will spend a larger proportion than average on energy and food. This will mean ‘groomers’ will target vulnerable children from families trying to make ends meet. 

In late 2019, criminal exploitation was the most prevalent type of exploitation among children with 2,544 children identified as potential victims. 93% of these children were boys – an increase in the proportion of boys identified as potential victims of criminal exploitation at the beginning of 2019.

 Across all exploitation types, 78% of children identified as potential victims were boys – again, an increase in the number of male victims compared to figures for early 2019. Increased understanding of child criminal exploitation is likely to be a significant driver for the higher number of UK national boys identified. This is due to professionals and institutions now recognising young males involved in supplying drugs and other criminal activities as victims rather than treating them as offenders.

Criminal exploitation is child abuse where children and young people are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes. These include:

·        Children as young as eight years old being used to carrying drugs strapped to their bodies.

·        Children being used to carry loaded weapons

·        Children being forced to work in cannabis factories

·        Children being used to move drugs and money across the country

·        Children being forced to shoplift and pickpocket

·        Children forced to bully other young peoplr

How would you know if your child is being criminally exploited?

  • Frequently absent from school and performing badly
  • Going missing from home, staying out late and travelling for unexplained reasons
  • In a relationship or hanging out with someone older than them
  • Being angry, aggressive or violent
  • Being isolated or withdrawn
  • Having unexplained money and buying new things
  • Wearing clothes or accessories in gang colours or getting tattoos
  • Using new slang words
  • Spending more time on social media and being secretive about time online
  • Making more calls or sending more texts, possibly on a new phone or phones
  • Self-harming and feeling emotionally unwell
  • Taking drugs and abusing alcohol
  • Committing petty crimes like shoplifting or vandalism
  • Unexplained injuries and refusing to seek medical help
  • Carrying weapons or having a dangerous breed of dog.

NSPCC 2021

Safeguarding children is the responsibility of every adult in society.

Parents: if you see your child bring something home, you have not bought them, question!

School teachers: if you feel something is not right with a pupil in your class because you understand the signs of exploitation, report it!

Headteachers: continually ensure your staff are fully trained about the causes of child vulnerability (Safeguarding Concerns)

Police Officers: work with schools to identify the children who are victims of crime or perceived criminals.

Social services: listen to the people who know the victims of abuse and begin the referral process.

School Police Officers and teachers: collaborate to teach children how to stay safe from all the causes of child abuse.

Government: ensure the resources exist to allow all departments to keep children safe.  

 A multi-agency approach is needed to ensure we safeguard children from all forms of abuse.


Helping and Talking to Your Child About the War in Ukraine

Helping Children and Young People to Make Sense of Distressing News

As a global community, we have faced a turbulent few years, ruled chiefly by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it brought. Now as we enter Spring 2022, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken over media attention and national concern. We live in a time of constant news streams and updates. It’s hard not to be filled with uncertainty and heartache every time you switch on the television or look at your phone. While we are all struggling to cope with the news, it is especially concerning for children and young people.

To help you guide those in your care through this uncertain time, our online safety experts have created this support for parents, carers, teachers, and safeguarding professionals. You’ll find a synopsis of important terms and questions, as well as our top tips for helping children and young people cope with distressing news.

What is the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military forces to begin an invasion of neighbouring country Ukraine. This is an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began in 2014 after a pro-Russian president of Ukraine was removed from office and Russian soldiers seized Crimea.

Since the invasion, there has been worldwide condemnation of Putin and his supporters. Protests have spread across the world (with protests in Russia resulting in arrest from police forces) as international support for Ukraine grows. Heavy sanctions (penalties to trade, sporting, and economic goods that are put in place by international leaders to try and pressure other leaders to a conduct agreement) have triggered a financial crisis in Russia, which has led Putin to put Russia’s nuclear forces on ‘high alert’ and has increased global fears of a nuclear war. Over 2 million Ukrainian citizens have fled their country. Thousands are suspected dead, with estimates expected to be higher. Many are trapped without access to necessities or medical aid. Recently, a maternity and children’s hospital was hit by a Russian airstrike resulting in multiple injuries and casualties.

Live reports are coming in every few minutes. Major news networks have constant news updates available for the public to see, despite difficulties in confirming news reports. However, the news is not the only avenue reports are appearing on. Social media is full of harrowing imagery and stories to encourage global support of Ukraine. While this is done to raise awareness of the atrocities happening in Ukraine, some of this content is extremely distressing. It’s worth nothing that if a child or young person engages with these posts on social media, the algorithms in place on these platforms will show them more.

How children react to distressing world events

While the recent news is upsetting and worrying for everyone, it is not the first disruptive event to affect the children and young people in your care. They have spent over two years adapting to a pandemic. They have endured lockdowns being isolated from their friends and family. They may even have lost loved ones during this time. Experts have warned that these events alone would have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of children and young people going forward. If someone in your care is struggling, they might be:

  • Fixated, spending more time on phones or tablets to stay ‘up to date’.
  • Anxious, especially about future plans or dreams.
  • Irritable, over-reacting to minor inconveniences or issues.
  • Withdrawn, not engaging with their friends, school, or extracurriculars.
  • Distracted, with disruptions to regular eating, sleeping, or personal hygiene habits.
  • Obsessive, thinking over every circumstance and talking about possible outcomes.
  • Pessimistic, sharing a more negative or hopeless outlook on life.

If you are worried about a child or young person in your care, you can encourage them to speak to you or someone on their trusted team of adults. You can also point them to Childline’s support services.

Why is it important to talk to children and young people about what’s happening?

Children and young people are naturally curious. They want to know about what is going on in the world as much as they want to know the latest TikTok trend. Even if you try to limit the content they consume, they will inevitably hear about big world events from various outlets, such as television, social media, friends, family, and school environments. They might even overhear something from one of your conversations! If it’s what everyone is talking about, their interest in the topic increases.

This wide variety of sources makes it difficult to validate information and know what content the young person in your care is viewing. If you don’t acknowledge any questions or concerns they may have, they could ‘fill in the gaps’ with the wrong information. This might cause further anxiety, ignorance, or worrisome behaviour. Educating those in your care yourself is important to assure they know how to process news reports on their own with critical thinking and media literacy skills.

Some children may be curious, but not worried. Others may be uninterested in what is happening. Whether your child asks you about it or you bring it into conversation, remember to stay calm, listen to them, and reassure them that you are there if they need support or further guidance.

Top Tips for how to talk to children and young people about war

Every child is different. Their ability to process information will depend on their age, character, and resilience. As their guardian, you have to decide how much you share. You will know them best, but assessing their abilities can help you choose the level of information you share with them. For example, if you are a parent or carer of a young child who is prone to anxiety, start off with simple statements about the event while continually reassuring your child that they are safe and you are here for them. It’s important to:

  • Acknowledge their concerns. Don’t deny what is happening or negate their worries by telling them it will ‘all blow over soon’. Instead, tell them their concern is completely understandable and that you want to discuss it with them.
  • Be honest. While it is up to you as their guardian to protect them, it’s important that you refrain from lying in your responses or ignoring any questions or thoughts your child has. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer. This allows you to open up a discussion with your child. You could even suggest seeking the answer together!
  • Ask them how they are getting their news. Having a discussion around trustworthy news sources and how difficult it is to confirm things during times of conflict might be helpful. Holding yourself to this standard is important as well! Be mindful of any news playing in your house and how you are conducting your own conversations.
  • Validate their feelings. It is likely these emotions are complex and confusing for them to deal with. Remind them that, in this situation, feelings like this are normal.
  • Listen to them. No matter how worried or anxious you are, they will look to you for reassurance. Set your feelings aside and give the young person in your care the attention and space they need to feel heard.
  • Encourage them to limit their news intake. If they feel they are unable to look away from their phone or if they see something upsetting on their tablet, suggest they switch it off. If this isn’t realistic, advise them to only check news sources 1-2 times per day.
  • Discuss what you are grateful for as a family. This could be around the dinner table or during morning drives to school. If a young person in your care seems to struggle with guilt, remind them that they have nothing to feel guilty about – just things to be thankful for! Suggest researching places that are taking in donations to bring to refugees or other ways to help the crisis in a local capacity.
  • Use your words and actions to support them.Your reactions to their reactions are key to helping those in your care feel protected and loved. Tell your child you love them. Give them hugs or hold their hand. Allow them space when they need it, but remind them that you are here for them.

We know it can be difficult to decide what to share and how to respond. Remember – it’s important to remain calm, open, and honest with those in your care regardless of their age. Below, you’ll find some examples of questions you may receive about the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our online safety experts have crafted some examples of appropriate answers to help you frame what you would like to say.

What is happening between Ukraine and Russia?

Why does Russia want to invade Ukraine?

Does this mean Russians are bad?

Why are people getting hurt?

Why do those people have to leave their homes?

Is World War 3 going to happen?

To help you navigate those difficult conversations, check out our toolkit on ‘Having Supportive Conversations’.

This article was copied from

How To Choose Parental Control and Internet Filtering Software

How To Choose Parental Control and Internet Filtering Software

This article was shared to Youth Unity, a great information piece that we hope can help parents in an ever changing world of technology!

Author: Carol Gardener

If you’re a parent or guardian of minors, you’re aware of the many digital dangers your kids face. Maybe you’ve heard other parents mention that they use parental controls or Internet filters to control what their kids do with their devices, but you’re not sure how to start looking for software for your family.

I’ll share with you the criteria to look for when choosing parental control and Internet filtering software

The Threats

When kids have their own devices, especially those with Internet access, there’s a good chance they’ll try to use them in ways that are against your wishes, or are outright dangerous. Here are just a few of the challenges you face:

  1. Your kids may visit websites that contain malware that could harm their device and even other connected devices.
  2. Your kids may access illegal content, such as pirated music and movies, and illegal forms of porn.
  3. Your kids may communicate with people who mean them harm, such as cyber bullies and Internet predators.
  4. Your kids may use apps you don’t approve of.
  5. Your kids may view websites, images, videos, and other content you don’t approve of.
  6. Your kids may send and receive messages you don’t approve of, such as sexual or hateful messages.
  7. Your kids may spend more time using their devices than you want them to.
  8. Your kids may use their devices without your supervision, whether at home or outside it.
  9. The parental controls built into devices and apps may not limit your kids as much as you’d like.

How To Choose Parental Control and Internet Filtering Software

Parental control and Internet filtering software can help. Parental controls refer to software that allows a parent to control what their child can do with a device which may include limiting screen time, disallowing apps, or filtering content. Internet filtering refers to disallowing access to particular websites, images, videos, and other content.

Parental controls is a broad term that encompasses various controls, one of which is Internet filtering.

There’s a wide variety of parental control and Internet filtering software, so you may feel overwhelmed when you start looking for options. I’d like to make your search easier by telling you what criteria to look for. Here are 16 questions to ask about the software you’re considering:

1. What devices does it work with?

Make sure the software works with the devices you intend to use it on. For the sake of simplicity, it’s best to use the same parental control software for as many devices as you can. So, consider all the devices your kids use, and what operating system (OS) they run.

Major operating systems (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android) have parental controls built-in, though they don’t provide as many features as third-party parental control software. But, native parental controls can operate at a deeper level, and third-party software may be limited by the operating system, at present or in the future.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing devices for your kids: iOS, the OS on iPhones, is more secure and private than Android, but Apple limits what third-party parental controls and Internet filters can do. So, depending on the parental control features you want, and the software you choose, you may want to consider Android devices for your kids.

2. What apps can it monitor or control?

Parental control software differs in which apps they’re able to monitor or control. Pay attention to the list, and ensure the ones you care about are included.

Pay special attention to social media, messaging, and dating apps.

If you want to monitor or control calls and messages, think beyond regular phone calls and text messaging; kids often use third-party apps for calls and messaging (e.g. WhatsApp).

3. Will it work outside my home network?

For a desktop computer or a laptop that rarely leaves your home, parental control software that works only when the device is connected to your home network may be fine, but for any mobile devices that are used outside your home, you’ll want software that will work outside your home network.

For example, OpenDNS provides free or paid web filtering, but it only works on your home network. If you want your kids to be filtered when they’re away from home, or at home but using cellular data rather than your Wi-Fi, you’ll need another solution (instead of, or in addition to, OpenDNS).

4. How granularly can it filter content?

If you want to filter content (websites, message content, etc.), look at how granularly (specifically) it can filter. Some software will block entire websites; others will block webpages within websites; others will block sections within webpages.

There are probably some sites that you don’t want your kids to see any part of, but there are likely other sites that have a lot of content that you’d be fine with them accessing.

The same concept applies to software that filters messages. Do you want the software to block an entire message that contains an objectionable word, or just to block that word?

5. What website categories can be filtered?

If the software filters websites, check the list of categories that can be filtered, to ensure it includes all the categories you want to disallow. A longer list of narrow categories will give you more control than a shorter list of broad categories.

6. How will I monitor my kids’ activity?

If you want the software to monitor your kids’ activity, think about how you want that to work. How quickly do you want to be notified of unapproved behavior? Do you want an immediate alert, or do you just want to review reports from time to time?

How to Choose Parental Control like Net Nanny Family Feed

7. Does it use a whitelist or a blacklist?

First, a couple of definitions (which you can also find in the Glossary):

  • Whitelist: A list of approved items. A system that uses a whitelist blocks all items that are not on the whitelist.
  • Blacklist: A list of disapproved items. A system that uses a blacklist allows all items that are not on the blacklist.

Parental control software may use a whitelist or blacklist to determine what apps can be used. Internet filters may use a whitelist or blacklist to determine which webpages can be accessed.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. Imagine your parental control software uses a blacklist. Say a new inappropriate app comes out, and your kids know about it for a month before the software adds it to its blacklist. Your kids would be able to use it for that month until it’s blacklisted. If the software had used a whitelist, then the app would’ve been blocked.

On the other hand, imagine that your software uses a whitelist. An appropriate app comes out, and your kids are blocked from using it for a month before the software adds it to its whitelist.

Regardless of whether the software uses a whitelist or blacklist, you can see why it’s important that the software provider be frequently updating the list.

8. Does it control screen time? How granularly?

Some parental control software lets you control how much time your kids spend on their devices. Software varies in how granularly you can control the use. On one end of the spectrum is allowing or disallowing a device to be used at all. At the other end of the spectrum is the ability to schedule when certain apps are available, or when the Internet can be accessed.

Make sure the software you choose gives you the controls you want.

9. What browsers does it work with?

If your parental control and Internet filtering software only works with one browser, guess what your kid is going to do? That’s right, use a different browser. Maybe the software will try to prevent that, but it’s better to use software that works with at least all the major browsers.

10. Can it filter HTTPS traffic?

HTTPS creates a secure, encrypted connection between a web browser and a website, to protect transmitted data from eavesdroppers. You’ve seen browsers show web addresses (URLs) starting with https://, and maybe also show a padlock symbol.

Some Internet filtering software can filter HTTPS traffic; others can’t. If it can’t, your kid may be able to get around the filter by using a proxy site. So, it’s better to use software that can filter HTTPS traffic.

11. Can it track my kid’s location?

If you want the ability to remotely track your child’s location, ensure that the software includes that functionality. I recommend researching how the software handles location tracking and sharing, and how it restricts your child’s location info to only you (or authorized users).

12. How will I manage its settings?

See how you manage the software (set restrictions, view reports, etc.). Some give you a mobile app. Others don’t, so you need to use a website or desktop software. Ensure that your software will let you manage it the way you want to.

13. How frequently is it updated?

Because operating systems, apps, and websites are constantly changing, parental controls and Internet filters need to keep up. Ensure that the company updates the software frequently.

14. How easily can my kid get around it?

The world of parental controls and Internet filtering can be a cat-and-mouse game, with your kid trying to find any way around the restrictions. So, you need to be aware of any known ways to get around the software you’re considering.

The company selling the software isn’t likely to tell you this, so you’ll need to search online to find reviews, blog posts, forum posts, etc. Google how to get around [name of software] and how to disable [name of software].

15. How many devices or accounts does it cover?

Parental control and Internet filtering software is licensed in different ways. It can cover one device, multiple devices, or a whole household.

16. What does it cost?

Building on the last point, pay attention to how the software is priced. Is it per device or household? Per month or year? What are the ongoing fees?

Popular Parental Control and Internet Filtering Software

The following parental control and Internet filtering software is frequently mentioned and recommended within the industry, so I’m sharing them with you as a place to start your search.

How to Choose Parental Control and Internet Filtering Software – Final Thoughts

Technology is no substitute for parenting. You can’t rely on software to keep your kids in line. You need to be having conversations with your kids about appropriate and inappropriate behavior online, and the consequences (whether they’re consequences you’ll impose, or are natural consequences of the behavior).

I recommend talking to your kids about the parental controls and filters you put in place. Explain, in terms they can understand, what the software can do. Keep lines of communication open, talking about what they’re experiencing, what you’ve noticed, and what to do about it.

Additional Resources

Guides to Native Parental Controls

Reviews of Parental Control Software

What You Should Do

  1. Define what you want parental control and Internet filtering software to do. Start with what you’ve learned in this post. You can refine your requirements list as you learn more about the features of different software.
  2. Look for the software that will work best for you and your kids. Use the 16 questions in this post. Start by looking at the popular software listed above. Take advantage of software demos and trials.
  3. Install and configure the software you selected.
  4. Talk to your kids about the parental controls and filters you put in place. Talk when you put the software in place, as well as regularly after that. Technology is no substitute for parenting.
  5. Regularly evaluate how well the software is working for your family. Adjust the software, and your family’s rules, as necessary.


Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker$39.99

Net Nanny protects your child against dangerous content and online threats. You can block apps and websites on your child’s device, and get peace of mind with the best parental control software on the market.Check Out Net Nanny

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Norton Family: Award Winning Parental Control SoftwareFree

Norton Family helps you supervise your kids’ online activities and protect them against unsuitable content. It helps block inappropriate websites while your kids are surfing the Internet.Check Out Norton Family

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Kaspersky Safe Kids: All-In-One Parental Control Software$14.99

Kaspersky Safe Kids gives you an affordable tool to protect your child against online threats. You can also monitor all your child’s devices to block any inappropriate websites.Check Out Kaspersky Safe Kids

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Mobicip: Parental Control Software and Internet Filter$40

Mobicip helps protect your family on the Internet, limit screen time, manage apps, and track your kids’ location/s. You can manage and monitor all family devices from one parent app or dashboard.Check Out Mobicip

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

KidLogger: Free Parental Control AppFree

KidLogger helps you observe what your kids are doing when they are using their devices. You can monitor their web history, keystrokes, messages, emails, and application usage.Check Out KidLogger

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Qustodio: Best Parental Control Software$55/yr

Qustodio provides powerful monitoring tools and parental controls for things like screen time, adult content, and games. It gives parents visibility and creates daily opportunities to talk with kids about their online experiences.Check Out Qustodio

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Circle – Parental Monitoring

By setting up the Circle content Internet Filter feature, parents can easily select the apps, devices, games, streaming services, and websites that need limitations or restrictions. Then, add filters to each family member’s profile accordingly.Learn More About CircleOur Favorite Parental Controls App

Net Nanny: Parental Control Software and Website Blocker

Bark: The Smart Way To Keep Kids Safer Online$49

Bark lets you proactively monitor your child’s text messages, emails, and social media accounts for potential safety concerns or privacy threats, so you can save time and gain peace of mind. Use code “DEFEND” for $30 off!Check Out Bark

Youth Unity Hugs

New Study: The More you Hug your Kids, the More Their Brains Develop

Hug:To borrow a phrase: love works in mysterious ways. We are born to love and, as it turns out, love and affection are necessary for both optimal positive emotional and physical development. And to be honest, nothing feels better than giving your loved one a warm embrace –or being on the receiving end.

Role of Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter the hypothalamus produces and the pituitary gland secretes. Scientists first identified and observed it in 1906. (1) Oxytocin is essential in the process of childbirth in mammals, stimulating uterine contractions and lactation. Later studies found its role a much deeper and far-reaching one that affects social interaction and bonding between people. Scientists call it “the love hormone“.

As Psychology Today explains “…As a facilitator of bonding among those who share similar characteristics, the hormone fosters distinctions between in-group and out-group members, and sets in motion favoritism toward in-group members and prejudice against those in out-groups. Ongoing research on the hormone is a potent reminder of the complexity of biological and psychological systems.“ (2)Advertisement

This special hormone is present in both sexes, stimulating all aspects of the reproductive process, beginning with trust and sexual arousal. (34) Oxytocin stimulates pleasure and reward centers and is the neurological basis for social bonding, especially with the people closest to you.

The brain rewards us for living with others. (5) Oxytocin increases feelings of trust, which are intrinsic to all close personal relationships. (6)

Humans are Social Animals

Some animals are solitary but humans are not. Social inclusion and interaction are necessary for our survival. This becomes evident when we become socially isolated, starting with depression and often culminating in disease.Advertisement

The neurobiological mechanisms of love and attachment are a wonderful circle: we fall in love, have a baby, raise the child with love and affection, and the child continues the process.

The attraction and bonding between us are the physiological and emotional manifestations of our need to reproduce to perpetuate the species.

What’s more, oxytocin is essential for embryonic brain development (7). More specifically, it plays a role in blood vessel formation in the pituitary gland, which controls several physiological processes such as stress, growth, and reproduction (8).

With this as a foundation, we are more able to cope with stress and avoid destructive addictive behaviors. (9) This complex process begins with the bonding between parents and child.

The brain produces a high level of oxytocin to stimulate labor during pregnancy. After birth, oxytocin is even higher in infants than in mothers.

Additionally, in combination with prolactin (another hormone), oxytocin stimulates milk production for breastfeeding. The levels stay high for mother and baby for as long as the baby nurses.

The chemical reaction that follows is nothing short of amazing:

“Through three different release pathways, oxytocin functions rather like a system activator and often influences the release of other signaling substances such as opioids, serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. Through these activations, different behavioural and physiological effects are facilitated and coordinated into adaptive patterns, which are influenced by the type of stimuli and environmental factors. ”Advertisement

“Oxytocin can be released by activation of several types of sensory nerves [including in the skin]…Light pressure, warmth and stroking contribute to oxytocin release caused by ‘pleasant’ or ‘non-noxious’ sensory stimulation of the skin.” (10)

Opioidsserotonin, and dopamine are all pleasure hormones.

It is interesting to note that newborns instinctively use their hands in addition to their mouths to stimulate milk flow. This type of skin stimulation promotes the production of oxytocin in the mother for milk release. (11)

Instinctual Parent-Child Bond

A fascinating study of oxytocin in parents with infants found that levels increased where there was a positive interaction with their babies. In addition, increased oxytocin was found in parents who enjoyed positive close relationships with their partners and their own parents, indicating that we pass on the love hormone through positive social interaction.

Interestingly, reduced oxytocin levels in the urine of mothers stressed by parenting and negative interaction with their infants were noted. (12)

Oxytocin Can’t be Replaced

The long-term emotional and societal effects of oxytocin are tangible.

Oxytocin release during sexual activity, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and onward directly correlates to the ability to trust and form meaningful relationships. Once a baby is weaned from her∕his mother, the brain produces oxytocin as the result of affectionate touch. Healthy personal interactions also stimulate hormone release. Hugging your child is the most natural instinct a parent has because it feels good for the both of you.

As we’ve seen, physical affection in childhood is instinctive and feels good because it fosters a solid emotional (and physical!) foundation and the ability to develop trust and strong bonds with others.

So while all of love’s mysteries will never truly be understood, we know that it’s part of who we are as a species and is necessary for our survival. Spread those hugs around—everyone needs ʹem.