Last holiday season, 50M people gifted smartphones, and the National Retail Federation says that the majority of holiday shopping will begin in November based on last year’s numbers.

Photo cheerful girl using laptop computer studying through online elearning system

With this influx of devices – tablets, smartphones, laptops and more, some of which will be gifted to kids, parents have more to consider beyond the price. Earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory, calling the influence of social media on youth mental health a public health crisis.

The advisory stated that inappropriate and harmful content being easily and widely accessible by children and adolescents is a factor. Additionally, according to previous research done by Aura, 51% of moms worry about their family’s online safety multiple times a week, 54% monitor their kids’ online behavior at least once a week, but 20% never talk to their children about online safety.

Aura’s parental controls are designed to assist these mothers in starting meaningful conversations with their children about digital safety and online etiquette, among other important topics children encounter online. 

With that in mind, ahead of a busy holiday tech season, Aura, the first truly intelligent safety solution, protecting everything your family does online, announced the availability of new parental control features at no additional cost to customers. Aura created a Dynamic Dashboard so parents can quickly glance at the most important information regarding their child’s online activities that day and in days prior. The company also debuted Preview Mode to help parents see all they can do with Aura’s Parental Controls before officially linking their child’s device to their Aura account. Finally, Aura expanded its Content Blocking and Filtering feature so parents can add specific website URLs to the Aura platform to restrict their children from accessing. 

Here is a breakdown of the new tools:

  • Dynamic Dashboard and Preview Mode

The Dynamic Dashboard under a child’s profile in the Aura app now gives a simple-to-view-summary of the apps and sites your child visited, in addition to the time spent on each. The dashboard also includes a Blocked Activity card, which provides a chronological list of the apps and sites that have been blocked from the child’s device that day.

With Preview Mode, parents no longer need to link a child’s device to their Aura account as a first step; instead, they can get started by demoing the features immediately after enrollment. 

  • Expansion of Content Blocking and Filtering Functionality 

In addition to other parental control features under the Dynamic Dashboard like screen time limits, Aura’s Content Blocking and Filtering is entirely customizable and allows you to choose a filter level for each member of your family based on their age and interests. For example, Aura offers filters for children and teens, in which the one built for teens is less restrictive but can be customized further.

“Our ultimate goal is to make sure that kids can use technology safely but also in a way that doesn’t stifle learning, exploration or autonomy,” said Agya Garg, Head of Product at Aura. “With the proper parental controls in place, parents can better connect with their kids because seeing the apps your kids spend the most time on or the websites they visit can provide great insight into the things they value. These topics serve as a jumping-off point for important discussions about technology and the internet.” 

Aura’s Dynamic Dashboard, Preview Mode, and expanded Content Blocking and Filtering are now included in all Aura Family plans, as part of Aura’s all-in-one online safety platform that protects families from financial fraud, identity theft and other online threats.

Aura also offers parents a particular peace of mind when it comes to gaming through a partnership with Kidas, a technology solutions company developing anti-cyberbullying and predator protection software for online gaming platforms. Aura’s investment in Kidas’ intelligent platform was made under the Aura Innovation Fund, which supports the growth of early-stage startups making the internet safer for those especially vulnerable to online threats, including children.

In addition to the investment, Aura now provides subscribers access to Kidas’ ProtectMe software through Aura’s all-in-one, AI-powered online safety app, expanding the platform’s existing capabilities that proactively protect families and kids online. Kidas’ machine learning-based software uses artificial intelligence to analyze voice and text conversations in 220 popular children’s games and automatically detects toxic situations, including sexual harassment, cyberbullying, grooming and racism.

Parents receive same-day immediate threat alerts and weekly updates detailing their child’s game time compared to average Kidas users, most played games and more.

Aura parental controls are available on ($32 per month) or on Amazon ($129.99 for a one-year subscription).

Parental Control Features, Aura Expands Parental Control Features To Help Kids Explore The Internet Safely, Days of a Domestic Dad